Eyeshield 21: Queen of the Comeback

Chapter 1: The Canadien Cannon

I look up at the scoreboard. It read 30 to 28 as I was on my knees in the frozen mud of the Christmas Bowl. That one pass could have made the difference. My hands quivered in the cold, and my uniform was wet and covered in mud. I looked at my teammates. This loss was hard on all of them as the Teikoku Alexanders have another title.

I felt a hand touch my shoulder pad. It was Takeru Yamato, "You did the best you could out there, this is my victory, but it is also yours-," He said in English, "-you are the strongest quarterback I have ever faced on the field, Noemi Chabeau," I stood up from my knees, and nodded to him with a thankful smile. I dried my eyes of my tears.

"Thanks, Takeru, you're a hell of a player," I said, patting his shoulder pad and going up to comfort Devon James, the receiver that dropped the ball in the endzone. Even if Teikoku is a better team, I would never trade any of my teammates for them. This is my team. They are my family. They are my brothers. We are the Kuroki Copperheads.

When you get knocked down, get up and try again. It is the beginning of the school year at Ben Kuroki High School For The Gifted. It is a fancy way of saying it is an 'American'-style high school in Japan. Because of this, students don't wear uniforms. I am just your average tomboy in back pocket-less jeans, and in another way I am not.

On the field, I play quarterback and safety. Off the field, I am training to be a speedskater. I stand 5'7 and 146lbs. With my size, I am known for my long legs and large powerful thighs. That is where I get my speed as I am a running quarterback on the field. My arm strength also comes from speedskating, and playing Canadian football.

School days are uneventful. All you have to do is go to classes, do your homework, and take your tests or quizzes. I was not a trade acquisition from another team in Canada or happened joined the team on accident, I actually volunteered to be a part of the team. I am also the first female student to wear the copper, silver, teal, and black.

It was the first day of practice. Our game uniforms have not arrived yet so I stuck with my white practice uniform from my high school, "Sorry I'm late," I said to the coach whom had just started the practice, and I just got out of class. The coach was waiting, and the entire team seemed to turn in one complete motion to look at me in disbelief.

"I'll be lenient just this once, next time I'll bench you for the season," That is Marina Cade, she is the coach and trainer of the team. Yeah I know right, another woman? She is a veteran of the Independent Women's Football League and Women's Football Alliance, "alright team, I want you all to meet Noemi Chabeau, she will be our quarterback,"

"Oh hell no, first I have to deal with you, and now we have to work with thunder thighs here? Man, that's some bullshit," said the starting middle linebacker, that is Darius Smith. I looked up at the coach, and nodded to tell her I am staying no matter what. It made me happy to know there are some guys sticking up for me, mostly on offense.

"Man, lay off Darius," said the one that would become my favorite passing target on offense, Lance Woodley. It soon occurred to me that not only am I the only girl on the team besides our coach, but I am also the only white person on the team. I am French Canadian and a quarter Greek and a quarter Turkish. So I don't know if that counts.

"Alright! Alright! That's enough out of all of you!" the coach finally blasted and I joined my teammates, "now then, you all are here because you want what everybody wants at sometime in their lives, a second chance, most of you are cast-offs or were let go because of bad behavior or violence, or you just have the balls to join a team like this,"

"None of that matters anymore, you all are playing with clean slates now, I picked you all from your respected schools because I feel each and every one of you has something unique to bring to the game," Coach Cade explained, "as of now, we are family, we look out for one another on and off the field, as of now you are Copperheads,"

I saw some nods around the team seeing they like their team mascot, "Now we are playing in Japan, that means you guys are different from the other teams around here, you have to earn your respect and I look at each and every one of you, and I know we can do this so...let's go to work," thus our first day of practice for the season began.

We practiced and drilled from the afternoon to evening. I felt sweat sting my brown eyes, "Alright team, you're all looking good, you gotta get it going from the first day to the last, let's set up a scrimmage, on the ball Chabeau," The coach ordered. I put back on my helmet and went to join the offense in the huddle of this team for the first time.

I got down on one knee, and looked at the offense, "Okay guys, let's try something simple, I-right, double tight, receiver streaks to Woodley on one, ready?" the offense broke the huddle before I said 'break', "We'll work on that later," I said quietly to myself, but I got a pat on the shoulder pad from Lance as the offense lined up on the ball.

"Down set...Y-80...Y-80...Y-80-hut!" the ball was snapped into my hands, but the offensive line seemed to have other plans and the defensive line blitzed me. My instincts kicked into overdrive. Darius Smith came on a bull rush up the middle, I ducked and he rolled off my back. Now I am running for my life dodging and leaping over defenders.

One of my receivers, Antoine Blades, gave a block which gave me room to spin and dodge a coming lineman and head up field on a broken play. I scrambled, and ran for ten yards for what would be a first down. Coach was yelling from the sidelines, not liking what the offensive line had done, "Girl, you got some moves," Antoine said in approval.

"Real mature, boys, you're a bunch of real gentlemen!" I called out to the offensive line to which I got a one-finger salute from one of the linemen, "don't worry about me, I knew they would pull a stunt like this," I have quite a social mountain to climb up. Not only does this team have to earn the respect of the league, but I have to earn theirs.