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Identity: reading drama; Got Spirit? 6


Read the drama, then answer the practice question.

Got Spirit?

Cast of Characters:
Jayden: a student and athlete at Holy Cross High School
Coach Marquez: the athletics coach at Holy Cross High School
Grampa: Jayden’s grandfather
Grandma: Jayden’s grandmother.
Scene One:
(Exterior: a high school sports field in November. Along with JAYDEN’s voice-over, we see the crowd arriving, getting excited before the start of a big high school football game. The teams warm up, have huddles with the coaches, etc.)
Jayden: (voice-over) People think high school football doesn't matter. Well, they’ve never been to Fenton County. There’s no feeling like it: waiting in the tunnel right before the Thanksgiving game, hearing the crowd out there singing, laughing, hollering. And knowing I’m ready to go out there and put on a show—put my body on the line. It’s really something. Basketball was always my first love growing up—still is. Truth be told, when I first got into this scene, there were a few people who had to be convinced about it—starting with myself.
(Interior: school hallway.)
Coach Marquez: Hey Jayden!
Jayden: Yes ma’am.
Coach Marquez: Congratulations—you were a real star yesterday.
Jayden: Uh, thank you. The whole team’s been working hard all season.
Coach Marquez: Don’t give me that humble talk. You’re the reason we won the state championship at all—best basketball player in the school by a thousand miles. You’ve got the agility, the stamina, the skills, the moves.
Jayden: Uh, thanks Coach.
Coach Marquez: And that’s why you’re trying out for the Spirit Team.
Jayden: The what now?
Coach Marquez: Noon tomorrow in the gym. Oh, I’m going to select you anyways; you’re a natural. But everybody’s got to try out all the same.
Jayden: You talking about the cheer team?
Coach Marquez: Spirit. We call it Spirit Team now.
Jayden: Um, that’s not my thing.
Coach Marquez: Oh, you’re intimidated?
Jayden: I’m not intimidated.
Coach Marquez: You worried what the other guys are going to say about you—the state championship basketball MVP? You know what: they’re going to respect you a whole lot more when they see you hold both Nancherla twins up on your shoulders at the same time, not to mention toss each of them in the air and catch them again.
Jayden: I don’t know, ma’am . . .
Coach Marquez: Noon tomorrow.
Scene Two:
(Interior: school gym. Along with JAYDEN’S voice-over, we see him and his Spirit teammates warming up, practicing, and laughing together.)
Jayden: (voice-over) Man, I did not want to go to that tryout. But if Coach Marquez tells you, you do it. And you know what? She was right. I am a natural. And right away, I was having a lot of fun: I was hooked. There’s real camaraderie in Spirit, and there’s got to be: you’ve got to have each other’s backs; you’ve got to be a collective. But remember I told you a few folks had to be convinced besides me? Yeah, well about that . . .
Scene Three:
(Interior: GRANDMA and GRAMPA's kitchen. JAYDEN sits finishing dinner with his GRANDPARENTS.)
Grampa: You’re talking about being a cheerleader?
Jayden: We call it Spirit Team now, Grampa.
Grampa: Hmph.
(GRANDMA gets up to clear her plate)
Grandma: You done, Jayden?
Jayden: Thank you, Grandma—delicious like always.
Grandma: You’re a good boy.
(GRANDMA ruffles JAYDEN’s hair and clears his plate with hers.)
Grampa: What happened to basketball?
Jayden: The season’s done—besides, basketball’s a winter sport; Spirit’s through the fall.
Grampa: Uh-huh.
(GRAMPA gets up.)
Grandma: Walter, you didn’t finish your pork chop.
Grampa: Lost my appetite.
(Exit GRAMPA, without clearing his plate.)
Grandma: I’m sorry, baby. He’ll come around.
Jayden: Yeah.
Scene Four: (Interior: school gym. COACH MARQUEZ is leading JAYDEN and the Spirit Team through training.)
Coach Marquez: Ok, Holy Cross: one more time, and let’s make it count!
(The team starts running through their most complex move, building a pyramid out of their bodies. AMARA flips on to JAYDEN’s shoulders—he wavers a little.)
Coach Marquez: Jayden! Hold it steady!
(JAYDEN gets himself stable. The pyramid keeps building around him, then MAYA flips on to AMARA’s shoulders, so JAYDEN is holding up both of them. He wavers again, shuffling his feet trying to stay balanced.)
Coach Marquez: Jayden! Find your spot and focus!
(JAYDEN wavers and shuffles even more, and then AMARA and MAYA lose their balance and come off his shoulders. The pyramid collapses; everyone lands safely but looks disappointed.)
Coach Marquez: Fifteen minute break everybody, then we come back and do it again.
(Exit most of the Spirit Team.)
Coach Marquez: Jayden, what’s up? You’re looking kind of anxious.
Jayden: Sorry, Coach. I'm just a little distracted, that’s all. My Grampa—he doesn’t really hold Spirit in high esteem, you know? He hasn’t come to see any of the games so far. I just wish he’d come tomorrow.
Coach Marquez: That’s hard, Jayden, I know. Really hard. But think of it this way: what if you don’t need his high esteem? What if your high esteem is what counts? We’ve got the Thanksgiving game tomorrow, and you’re going to be strong, and effective, and fabulous, and that crowd is going to roar. Me and the team are all depending on you to hold that pyramid together, and I know you can do it.
Scene Five:
(Exterior: high school sports field, November. We see the same shots of the crowd and football teams warming up from the beginning of Scene One. Then the football teams jog off the field.)
Announcer: (over a loudspeaker) And now please welcome: the Holy Cross Spirit Team!
(Crowd cheers as JAYDEN and the Spirit Team runs out. COACH MARQUEZ looks on. The Spirit Team runs through their routine and the crowd goes wild. Then the team starts putting the pyramid together. AMARA flips on to JAYDEN’s shoulders, he starts to waver and shuffle again.)
Coach Marquez: Jayden! Focus!
Jayden: (voice-over) Sometimes, to do right by the collective, you’ve got to look outside the collective. That moment, I looked up for a focus spot to find my balance—and that’s when I locked eyes with him. Grampa. Standing in the crowd next to Grandma, both of them cheering me on, willing me to do it. And you know what? I did it. I found my focus.
(JAYDEN stands firm. Now MAYA flips up on AMARA’s shoulders—JAYDEN’s holding them both steadily. The crowd goes wild. JAYDEN looks back out at his grandparents, standing still and firm, smiling widely.)
Grampa: (shouting) You see that? That’s my grandson right there!

Practice question

What does "put my body on the line" mean in Scene One?
Choose 1 answer: