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by Edward Bloor
Tangerine Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary
Chapter 20: Friday, November 10 The War Eagles' final match is an away game—against the Lake Windsor team. Paul's mom is actually there to watch! So is Joey—and so are Cara and Kerri. It kind of stinks, though, because Paul starts the game on the sideline, and everyone from his old school sees it, of course. But when Victor and Gino go for the same ball and trip each other up, Victor starts yelling—and someone from the Lake Windsor team punches him in the face. Betty Bright puts Paul in for Victor, and he leads the team to their first goal. Lake Windsor ties it, in spite of an awesome, full-contact block by Shandra. But then Shandra starts to vomit, so Coach Bright puts another kid in for Paul, and moves Paul to the goal. Paul's freaking out—his nerves are getting to him, so when Gino kicks the ball at him, it bounces off his face and back to Gino, who kicks it again to score. Gino helps him up, and Paul cleans off his goggles, which are covered with blood from his nose. In spite of his nosebleed, Paul is ready now. He blocks everything Lake Windsor throws at him…er, kicks at him. But suddenly, the Lake Windsor coach comes over to Betty Bright and tells her that Paul is not eligible to play—he wasn't eligible for Lake Windsor, and he's not eligible for Tangerine. Betty Bright asks why, and Coach Walski responds that one reason is his address—he doesn't live in the Tangerine district. Coach Bright is unfazed by his threats to tell the County Sports Commission. She tells him her other goalie, Shandra Thomas, was just sent home sick. Shandra Thomas. Antoine Thomas's sister. They live in the Tangerine district. Not Lake Windsor. In other words, Antoine Thomas is supposed to be playing for Tangerine. So, if Coach Walski reports Paul, then Coach Bright will report Antoine. Standoff! Coach Walski backs down, and the game continues. Victor is back in the second half, and helps the team tie the game up again. At the last second, Gino and Victor get tangled up again, and the ref gives Lake Windsor a penalty kick. This is Paul's moment of truth. He knows Gino, he knows how he kicks goals, he knows just where to block. But Gino kicks the ball to the right, not the left—Paul falls to the ground to the left, without a ball, burying his head in his arms… Only to realize that Gino had missed! The War Eagles win! They are the champions! Kerri comes over to congratulate Paul. Luis does, too. But not Joey. Paul's mom comes up, not understanding what the big deal is. She wants to take Paul right home, but finally agrees to let him ride back to his school on the bus with the team first. Mr. Donnelly gets a picture of Paul, Victor, Maya, and Cesar for the front page. Then they get back on the bus, and make their way, yelling in celebration, through an exuberant downtown Tangerine, with a parade of cars following them, honking and flashing their lights all the way. Paul is so worked up that he's crying by the time he gets off the bus. His mom's only comment? "Well, that was quite a ride" (2.20.14).
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