"Apparently the half box of donuts I stole from work wasn't enough," Frankie gripes, complaining how one of her duties as a cross-country mom is to bring healthy snacks for the athletes.

It's this sour attitude that kicks off this week's episode of "The Middle," and it's what caused Frankie to pray at church that cross-country would get cut at the upcoming school budget meeting.  Although it's the sole extracurricular daughter Sue has successfully joined (she's been wearing her team hoodie non-stop for four episodes), Frankie's bitter about having to thanklessly prepare signs, make food and volunteer her own time to the activity.

When Frankie learns cross-country getting scrapped is actually a distinct possibility, she expresses her fear and guilt to Mike, telling him about her beseeching God to nix the activity.  

"God doesn't get involved in sports," he reassures her. "If he did, the Colts woulda won the Super Bowl last year."  He doesn't miss a beat and flatly explains in matter-of-fact way, like a kid explaining how Santa travels the world in one night. 

Meanwhile, Axl gets suspended for skipping school; to teach him the importance of hard work, Mike drags him to his own workplace at the local quarry.  The plan backfires when Axl thinks the quarry is a sunny day at Six Flags.  When Axl expresses an interest to ditch college and simply get a job at the quarry, Mike panics.

At the budget meeting, things get heated -- Frankie tells a chess club mom that the activity is scrap-able, declaring, "You can play chess on a phone!"  In the midst of vitriol, Sue takes the mic and delivers an impassioned speech in her sport's defense: "Don't cut cross-country, because cross-country would never cut you."  The oft-rejected girl's plea is shot down, however, when the sport ends up getting 86'ed.

At work, Frankie fills her boss, Mr. Ehlert, in on the dilemma.  Shockingly, he offers a check out of his own wallet to save the team.

An incredulous Mike -- who eventually persuaded Axl to stay in school -- asks an overjoyed Frankie, "Is he dying?"

Her unwavering response: "I dunno, maybe -- how great is this?!"

The catch?  The team's jerseys proudly display "Ehlert Motors" on the front, and Ehlert's bald mug on the back.