I bought the voodoo doll because I thought it would be good revenge to leave it in the van of the team who had cheated us out of the championship the year before. Believe me: it was a scary doll, designed to resemble a zombie Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. The normalcy of her blond braids and gingham dress stood in eerie contrast to stiches on her face, blood oozing from her lips, and the strategically placed hatchet in her hand. I don’t know why anyone would make such a doll, but the girls discovered it while we were browsing in a novelty shop after our pre-tournament dinner. No one thought I’d actually buy the thing because it cost about $30, but I did. We named her Baby Karl, after the coach of the cheater team. When I woke up in the night, she was staring at me from the chair. I threw a blanket over her, but I could feel her presence. I finally had to place her out on the window ledge so I could get some sleep.
The next morning, I drove around the tournament parking lot again and again until I had to go to the coaches meeting. Turned out I couldn’t find their van because the crooked team had gotten food poisoning. So we kept Baby Karl in my tennis bag just in case they all recovered and showed up later. The final match of the day pitted our best player against a girl from the school hosting the tournament. Every single person at the event was rooting against us. And then it happened again. Cheating. My kid was getting robbed on calls right and left and no one said a word. One of the least talented but most lively members of my team grabbed my tennis bag and headed off. When she returned, she pointed to the girl who was cheating us out of victory. “I found her locker,” she said. “Their names are on them. I stuck Baby Karl in the pocket of her jacket.” I tried to get into the locker room and retrieve the doll, but there were players around and I had no opportunity. When the athletic director questioned me about the attack, I insisted, “The doll was never meant for her.” “You’re still fired,” he said. // Lisa Levchuk