The "D" Pairing
by Jerome Baquilar
Part 1

Not only did she have the looks of a supermodel, but she also had the mind and intelligence of a scholar. It was always, however, her face and body that everyone would talk about. That was Daniella Santiago’s lifelong dilemma, all the way from as early as she could remember until now. Stereotyped as the all-body-no-brains kind of girl, with no one outside of her family thinking of her as more than the most beautiful woman their eyes had ever seen.

Most people would know these things about her, especially males: she’s five feet eleven inches tall, 125 pounds, and simply a stunning beauty to behold, a mixture of Spanish and Italian blood, and possibly more. Heck, even her own given name spins images of runway fashion models. What almost always gets overlooked is her 3.7 high school grade point average, and 1280 SAT score. On the outside, she looks like perfection, and on her school papers, she looks even better than that, if that’s possible. Inside though, she was a wreck.

Imagine how you would feel if no one wanted to talk to you about anything more than going on a date, how good looking you are, and how they’d like to see how you looked without any clothes on? That was her, “trapped” in a prison of an astoundingly gorgeous body, funny as it may seem. Wishing that even one person would look beyond her physical attributes for the soul, the spirit, the personality that ached within for some real company.

On the way to high school graduation from her first day as a freshman, she’d had about a thousand dates with a thousand guys from school, so it seemed. All the supposed “dream” guys you could think of, guys with cars, looks, cash, athletic exploits, even a couple of budding actors. To Daniella, they might as well all been the same person, because they all didn’t have what she really wanted in a guy, which was, someone who could put aside the fact that she has all her physical beauty. Her looks got her all the girl friends she'd want, but the problem was, there was only so much girl talk she could tolerate. She went through all of high school without finding a person even close to wanting to find out about the “real” Daniella. What to do before her first term as a college student? It figured to be yet another virtually lonely summer.

Just after her high school graduation (and with it, having to refuse some strangers asking her to go out with them after the ceremony), she found a flyer in her family’s mailbox. It said:

Summer Roller Hockey League
Registration on June 15
Teams to be drawn randomly
Join the SRHL for the coolest, and hottest outdoor action this summer!

Daniella always liked hockey. It was one of the few sports she could like without most guys knowing much about the sport, and giving them some “natural” common ground. Baseball, football, basketball, she found interesting on occasion, but hockey always got her attention. Substance over beauty, how many as opposed to how pretty, that was hockey to her. She liked doing in-line skating just before sunrise at the park, so it seemed liked a perfect fit for her to register for roller hockey that summer. And, she thought, it might be the way to rid herself of the “pretty dumb girl” stereotype she’d had to live with, for what seemed liked ever. Luckily for her, she wasn’t the only girl registering, as she saw quite a few other girls signing up, but it seemed they were definitely outnumbered by guys by about a seven to one ratio. Teams would be mixed, of course, and she looked forward to first day of practice.

Coach asked each of the team members to write their positions (forward, defense, or goalie) on a sheet of paper. Daniella always had a preference towards playing defense, because she didn’t like having to score goals to be considered productive as a player. Coach would then analyze the players as to who would be best paired with each other (there would be a pairing on both forwards and defense).  After a few days of practice, coach announced the forward and defense units.

continued in Part II!
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