Kiley and Her Great Casts
The cast on Kiley Carson’s leg was there to protect her broken ankle while it healed, but it may as well have been an anchor keeping her from doing, well, basically anything!
“It could have been much worse,” Dr. Khalil had said. “You had a very clean break that won’t require surgery, so your recovery time will be shorter.”
As if six to eight weeks in a cast wasn’t that long? That meant she’d be missing the entire soccer season, and possibly basketball and indoor swimming, too.
Plus, the cast itched like crazy! The only way to scratch it was to use a plastic spatula her mom gave her — and even that didn’t help soothe the itchiness very much.
“I hate this,” Kiley pouted the Saturday morning after she broke her ankle. She should’ve been out joining her soccer team, the Sparks, for their game against the Tigers. Instead, she sat on the living room couch, trying to ignore her little sister, Robin, and her friends, who were playing dress up in the other room.
“Kiley, I know the cast is uncomfortable and you’re sad about soccer, but you’ve been moping around for four days over this,” Mrs. Carson sighed. “You need to make an effort to adapt, OK? The cast isn’t permanent.”
Kiley nodded but bit her lip. She was being kept from the one thing she loved — the one thing she was really good at. What was she supposed to do while her ankle healed?
Robin and her friends, Emma and Sasha, burst into the living room then, giggling. Kiley sighed — Robin was always trying to hang out with Kiley, and when her friends came over, it was even harder to get away
from them. She tried to get up and hobble away on her crutches, but then Sasha cried, “Kiley, your cast is so big! Does it hurt a lot?” Kiley nodded, “Yep. It’s the worst.” Sasha’s eyes were wide. “My dad said he couldn’t believe you got hurt falling down the steps because you’re so coordinary.”
“Coordinated,” Kiley corrected her. She forgot Sasha was the daughter of her coach, Mr. Anderson. Still, she was pleased that her coach was just as in shock as she was that she’d fallen down the front steps. She could dribble, pass and score with ease — at least when she wasn’t injured — so a few stairs taking her down was disappointing.
Robin chimed in, “There was a fox in Sasha’s yard last night, and a raccoon got in her garbage the night before. We’re trying to write a story about it to tell in class!”
“The fox and raccoon sound bored,” Kiley said. “Maybe they can join a soccer team to keep them out of trouble.”
For some reason, the younger girls found this hilarious and started laughing. Then, Robin and Sasha started acting out how the two animals would play soccer.
“Maybe you guys should write a play about it, instead of a story,” Kiley said.
“That would be so fun!” Robin squealed, and dashed off to gather some paper and crayons to start writing.
Kiley hobbled out of the living room and headed for her bedroom. She was reading
“We can probably make the costumes ourselves out of old pajamas and craft supplies!” Kiley said to the girls.
about a famous Brazilian player when Kiley heard someone calling her.
“Kileyyy,” came Robin’s voice from the other side of the door. “Will you help us with our play?” She sounded so frustrated that Kylie felt bad for her. “You know, you did that play with your class last year,” she said.
Now Kiley understood. She made her way to the door and opened it. “Well, first you need to make a script,” Kiley told her sister and her friends. “And once you know who your characters are, you have to make costumes and sets. And you also need a place to
put on the play. If you’re serious about it, you could probably do it in the schoolyard.”
Robin looked at her friends, who nodded. “We’re serious about it.”
“OK,” Kiley said limping back to the living room. She picked up some paper and a marker. “I can help you write your script.”
The younger girls clapped and cheered. Then, they came up with ideas for the play before settling on a concept: Three bored animals that normally wouldn’t play together decide to start a forest soccer team. Kiley wrote it all down, only adding her own edits when the younger girls didn’t know the word for something. Robin, Sasha and Emma then ran through the lines together, with Kiley giving them cues if they forgot a word or two.
Sasha frowned. “Where will we get costumes from?” she asked.
“We can probably make the costumes ourselves out of old pajamas and craft supplies,” Kiley said to the girls.
“Yeah!” Emma added. “My mom made my brother a dog costume last year for Halloween by pinning a tail to his old brown PJ’S and putting mittens on his hands for paws.”
“That’s great, but how are we going to make a set?” Robin asked next.
“That might take some time,” Kiley admitted. “Try to find some old rolls of wrapping
paper, and we can draw scenes on the white side. Also, if you have any fake plants, you can use them for the forest. You can use my soccer ball, too!”
Over the next few days, Kiley helped the girls rehearse, create their costumes and design the scenery, too. Her mother had even found some giant sheets of poster board for the forest scene instead of wrapping paper.
Kiley was surprised to discover that she enjoyed creating the scenery — adding glitter to the smiling sun or adding detail to the trees’ leaves. She wasn’t sure it looked perfect, but it took her mind off missing soccer practice and the throbbing pain coming from underneath the cast.
“I’m so proud of how patient you’ve been with Robin and her friends,” her mom said one day, while Kiley was working on the scenery alone — long after her little sister had gone to bed. “And your artwork is so good! Maybe you should consider going to an arts camp next summer,” her mom said.
“Over soccer camp?” Kiley asked, with raised eyebrows.
“Soccer camp is only two weeks long,” her mom reminded her. “I don’t see why you couldn’t try both next year.”
That sounded like a busy summer. But the thought of maybe doing both excited her.
A few days later, Robin and her friends were ready to put on their play. Kiley couldn’t believe how nervous she was as she watched the play from the wings.
But the girls were amazing! Every now and
A few days later, Robin and her friends were ready to put on their play.
then, one of them would forget her line and glance over at Kiley for help. Kiley would smile encouragingly and mouth the line, and soon enough, each would remember what she was supposed to say.
The audience cheered when the animal friends decided to all play soccer together, and the play came to a happy ending.
Afterward, Robin, Sasha and Emma ran over to Kiley and danced around, smothering her with hugs. “That was so much fun!” Robin squealed. “Thank you for helping us, Kiley.”
Kiley waved her hand and tried to hide her
blush. “You guys did most of the work. You were great up there!”
Coach Anderson hugged Sasha, then smiled at Kiley. “I just wanted to tell you how great this came together. Sasha couldn’t stop talking about how much you helped point them in the right direction,” he said. Kiley beamed. “Thanks, Coach.” “I was wondering if you wanted to help me coach some of my younger teams while your ankle heals?” Coach Anderson asked. “I could always use someone with talent and enthusiasm that’s good with kids!”
“Yes!” Kiley grinned. “That’d be great!”
“I had no idea you were so multi-talented,” Coach Anderson added. “It’s wonderful to see you being sporty and artsy!”
Kiley laughed and gestured toward Robin and her friends and then to her plastercovered leg. “Well, Coach, I owe it all to these great casts!” she said with a wink.