Chapter 24: Nobody Taught Us to Quit
Caution: This Coming of Age Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including mt/ft, mt/Fa, Humor, Sports, School, Slow,
Desc: Coming of Age Sex Story: Chapter 24: Nobody Taught Us to Quit - David's Junior Year is beginning with a sharp edge to it. His best friend is dead. The girl he'd thought he would spend the rest of his life with is now lost to him as well. He's facing new challenges and pressures due to his rapidly increasing fame. He doesn't just want to survive - he wants to excel. He'll have to reach deep inside himself and find the inner strength and toughness, the resolve and focus, to achieve his dreams. The continuation of the award winning Stupid Boy saga.
Thursday November 12
Two games in a row I’d been banged up. I thought about the previous two years, and this one had been far better. Our offensive line had improved and kept me safe most of the year. I knew that when I went to college that would be a major factor in selecting what school I planned to attend. Wherever I went there would always be a chance of injury, but I didn’t want to tempt fate. Each level you went up they were bigger, faster, and stronger, which translated to their hitting much harder.
If this was what I could expect, I needed to heed Coach Mason’s warning to not run as much. He was a big believer in pocket passers, and thought the new style of scrambling quarterback that could also beat you with their legs was insane. All it took was an injury to your quarterback and your season could be in serious trouble. This was much more important at the pro level where there weren’t enough quality quarterbacks.
I went down to run and suddenly Duke was on high alert. He actually had the fur go up on his back, which made me nervous. I suspected that Brit’s damned cat had staked out our back door, so I edged it open and readied my Bo staff in case I had to ward her off. As soon as it cracked open, Precious bulled her way in and disappeared up the stairs. Crud! I was in no mood to play ‘find the kitty’. I decided to go ahead with my run and deal with her later, when I began to open the door again. I stopped when Duke let out a deep warning growl.
That brought me up short, because it wasn’t a playful one. Duke was serious about what waited for us outside. Whatever it was, I didn’t need Duke in the middle of it. I figured I could convince it to go away with my Bo staff.
“Park it!” I ordered Duke.
He ignored me, because he was fixated on the unknown threat. I tapped him on the head; he looked up at me and I pointed and repeated the command. He was shaking, he was so ramped-up, but I was happy when he went up the stairs. Normally he would go into his crate and lie down, but I was satisfied when he went to the head of the stairs and looked back. I saw Precious peek around the corner.
I opened the door, stepped out, and was confronted by the biggest raccoon I’d ever seen. His face was bloody, which told me he’d tangled with Precious. I was surprised she’d backed off. The dang thing turned and glowered at me. He wasn’t scared of shit.
“Get out of here! Shoo!”
This monster had to weigh at least sixty pounds. I was startled when he charged me. I used the Bo staff to hold him off as I quickly gave ground. I heard Duke go nuts at my back door as he tried to get out of the apartment. The racket must have alerted my mom, because she stuck her head out the back door of the house.
“David, leave that thing alone.”
“I’d love to, but I think it wants to kill me.”
The raccoon made a valiant lunge and got past my Bo staff. It was a good thing I’d done my speed work, because I went from slowly backing up to a full run. He was fast, I’ll give him that. He was less interested in me when I got serious and whacked him with the Bo staff. He shook his head in confusion and then darted into the neighbor’s backyard.
I ran back to my apartment because it sounded like Duke might actually break through the door. I opened it and grabbed his collar before he could bolt after the raccoon. The poor guy about choked himself out before he realized I wasn’t about to let go. Precious, on the other hand, gave chase. I would bet we wouldn’t see that crazy raccoon again. She came back and seemed very pleased with herself. I had to laugh when a frustrated Duke rolled her. You’d think he would learn. I guess he did, because he bolted for the back door of the house and Mom opened it enough for him to escape with his life.
Precious went to the back door, sat down, and looked at me. The look was one of pure kitty evil intent. I decided I wouldn’t involve myself in her nefarious plans to off my pup and went for my run.
I pulled into the parking lot and saw Jan and Yuri. He was taking full advantage of her being old enough to drive. I had to bite my tongue when I saw what Jan had on. You have to realize that Jan was my class’s Tracy, or Cindy and Suzanne. She was a trendsetter, and other girls copied what she wore. I wasn’t happy with the new clothes. She wore an oversized sweatshirt and loose-fitting jeans. She saw me look at her, and I saw the corners of her eyes tighten for a fraction of a second. I instantly knew what had happened. Either Yuri or his grandma had taken one look at her normal attire and made her dress in what amounted to a potato sack. If all the girls at Lincoln started to wear this, Yuri was a dead man.
“What did you do?” I asked Yuri.
He was clueless.
“Uh?” he asked and tilted his head to the side.
“Why’s Jan dressed like that?” I asked.
Yuri glanced back at her and blushed. To her credit, she stayed quiet and let me handle it, but I did see the ghost of a smile touch her lips.
“You said...” he began, but I raised my hand to cut him off.
“Why would you cover up someone like Jan?” I asked.
Jan had to turn her head away from me or I think she might have laughed. I could see Yuri struggle to figure out what the right response was, so I let him off the hook.
“I understand why you might think this’d help, but this isn’t who Jan is. I’d agree that some of her outfits could be toned down. I also know what I said. Jan can be stylish without giving off an overtly sexual vibe. In the long run both of you will be happier if you let her wear most of what she wants,” I told him.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” I asked Jan.
“He was being so forceful it kind of turned me on,” she admitted, which caused Yuri to blush even harder.
“I might have to spank you when we get home,” Yuri said.
Jan’s eyes got big and she gave him a fake shudder. I couldn’t help but to bark out a laugh at her antics. Yuri was so in over his head.
“Shut up, ‘stupid boy’,” Yuri said.
“Hey, now. No need for name calling,” I said with a mock glower, and then I turned to Jan. “Go easy on him. I need him ready to play on Saturday.”
She nodded, then hooked her arm under Yuri’s and led him away. I had a big smile on my face as I thought about how embarrassing your first girlfriend could be. I thought back on how mine had explained to my friends and my mom that I had a big dick. I might have to visit Yuri at home and see if he wanted to share his cock size with his mom and grandma. What was the saying? If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. I think I might have to call bullshit on that one.
“Why are you so happy?” Tracy asked.
She was with Pam and Mona. I guess I must’ve had a big smile on my face.
“Young love,” I said cryptically.
“Jan and Yuri,” Pam guessed. “That’s one couple I would never have guessed.”
“He’s a little bit of a Neanderthal, in a cute kind of way,” Mona said.
“If you mean he’s bullheaded and should be Tased, then I agree,” Pam said.
I think Pam was still pissed about everything he’d said to her about me not being able to come to school. I would have to warn him that Pam might still want to apply some electricity to his balls. He might want to make a preemptive apology to be on the safe side.
“I need your help with a couple of things,” I said, and saw wary looks. “Yuri dressed Jan today, so be supportive of her.”
“Oh, dear. He surely didn’t,” Tracy said. “We may have to stage an intervention.”
I just shook my head.
“The other thing is, we’re trying to limit her alcohol and drug use,” I said as I looked at Mona.
“Dick,” was her one-word response.
“Hey, you’re the Party Queen, and seem to be one of the few that stays sober at the parties,” I said as I eyed both Pam and Tracy, who’d been known to throw a few back. “All I’m asking is that you all keep an eye out and help support her.”
“I’ll help,” Pam said. “After all, I can’t drink right now.”
I smiled and went up to her and rubbed her belly. She gave me an exasperated look.
“You might want to get used to that. Angie said that complete strangers would walk up to her and want to touch her belly.”
That didn’t help, so I kissed her.
“Don’t start something you can’t finish,” Tracy teased.
Right on cue, the bell rang. Tracy and Mona pulled Pam away from me and they all wiggled their butts and giggled when they saw the lust in my eyes. The only thing that stopped me from going caveman, dragging them into an empty classroom, and having my way with all of them was that I figured they might actually kill me.
I heard someone chuckle, which startled me. It was Coach Hope.
“Get to class before you do something stupid.”
I shook my head to clear it and hurried off.
All our teachers cracked down. They’d gone easy on us the last few days because of the first playoff game. I looked at the calendar in my head and realized I only had a couple of weeks of school left. I needed to knuckle down, get all my reading done, and prepare for finals the day after Thanksgiving. That following Monday I would be in LA.
The other thing I wanted to do was to lay the groundwork for next year. I was self-disciplined enough to work on my own. I knew that Coach Hope would get them working on next year, but I wanted to make sure he knew what Coach Mason had said. I knew that I wouldn’t be around after the season for nearly two months. If the guys were committed, they could make a lot of progress in that amount of time.
Uncle John had told me that when I learned to delegate I could make much larger strides than if I did everything myself. I thought there was no time like the present, so I talked to Coach Zoon after lunch. He taught my AP American History class. I asked if I could talk to him and Coach Hope during my last period. I had a free period that could be used for either tutor sessions or self-study. I normally used it to watch game film.
At the appointed time, I found them in Coach Hope’s office.
“Come in, David. Have a seat,” Coach Hope said when he saw me at the door. “What can we do for you?”
“I wanted to talk to you about getting ready for next year,” I said.
Coach Zoon scowled and I saw Coach Hope break out in a big smile.
“Tony told me that was what you wanted to talk about and I didn’t believe it. He bet me you really did, and now I have to go to the dojo and spar with you. He said you needed to show me your new move,” Coach Zoon admitted.
“Did he tell you what it was?” I asked.
“No, he said I should be surprised. I have a feeling it won’t be good, so I’ll warn you right now I might get even,” Coach Zoon said.
“I taught Cassidy how to do it, so I think I’ll pass and let her train you,” I said with a straight face.
Coach Zoon turned to Coach Hope.
“How did you know?” he asked.
“Coach Mason had a talk with them while we were in Indianapolis. I figured he’d want to talk about it sooner rather than later,” Coach Hope explained to his friend. Then he turned to me. “Tell us what you’re thinking. I’ve got some ideas from last year, but I want to hear what you have to say.”
“Last year we implemented the study groups and we saw everyone’s grades improve. When I was in Houston for Elite Camp, I learned that the NCAA has implemented stricter guidelines for football scholarships. I think you can probably guess who has a chance to get a scholarship. Could we ask Ms. Jaroslav, our Guidance Counselor, to check on the guys that might make it to the next level and make sure they’re on the right path academically?” I asked.
“That was on my list of things to do,” Coach Hope said. “It reminds me, though, that a couple of the players were homeschooled. Johan Bauer’s a junior and Derek Hofmann’s a sophomore. Roc and Milo are both freshmen, so they should be fine. I’ll have Ms. Jaroslav look into the NCAA Guidelines to see what needs to be done in that situation.”
I saw that Coach Zoon wrote it down. I knew who Coach Hope expected to delegate that task to.
“Did Coach Mason give you a breakdown of what he told us?” I asked.
“Yeah, he was pretty funny. He said he expected that you’d remember it all, but you were a kid,” Coach Hope said.
I didn’t react, which made Coach Zoon smile. He knew the ‘kid’ remark had irritated me.
“I thought we could do the same thing we did last year,” Coach Hope continued. “I’ll have the trainers put together individualized programs for both nutritional and weight and conditioning programs. There was a lot of improvement over last year.”
“I agree, but we need to tweak it,” I said.
“What do you mean?” Coach Zoon said.
“The best example I can give you is that Jim isn’t near big enough to play at Alabama. He needs to put on forty to fifty pounds of muscle without losing any flexibility or speed. He was lucky that Bo knew him, and recommended that Alabama look at him. Based on his weight they probably wouldn’t have recruited him otherwise. There are a lot of high school left tackles that are three-hundred pounders already. I think we played against several of them.
“I want to see him succeed. I’m sure if we contact Alabama they’d help us with a plan to get him ready. They’re one of a handful of college programs that have the best offensive lines each year. What we learn from that could be used with our offensive line. Can you imagine what we could do if next year’s offensive line could pack on even twenty pounds of muscle?” I asked.
“I agree that we got everyone into great shape, but no one blew up in terms of size.”
I kept my mouth shut, because last year’s ass-hats had done just that. The only problem was they did it the illegal way.
“What else?” Coach Zoon asked.
“I think there are specific skills that need to be worked on. Overall team speed is never a bad thing. Could you imagine if Ty was faster? He might be able to catch me,” I said with a smile. “Being able to jump would help the receivers. Right now, we rely on Wolf’s height. If we could get him to jump just a few inches higher we’d never have to worry about someone getting high enough to stop him in the back of the end zone.”
“I see where you’re going with all this. Let me work with the trainers and the rest of the coaches. I’ll call Coaches Harrington and Mason and get their input. I think we have everything we need equipment-wise with the new Field House and weight room. It’s just a matter of putting together a training program. We’ll sit down with each player after the season and get them on individualized programs while you go play in LA,” Coach Hope said.
“I’m sure all I’ll be doing is sipping cocktails poolside while I’m away. If you want, I can send you some pictures,” I teased.
“Get out of here. I might have to make an example of you and your smart mouth, and make you pull from the punishment jar,” Coach Hope said.
“I changed all the punishments to going out on a date with Cassidy,” Coach Zoon added.
I started to say something, but thought better of it. I might actually want to attend practice tonight. Then I stopped as something struck me. I turned around, and both coaches had curious looks as to what I might have to say.
“You already had all this figured out, didn’t you?” I asked.
Both coaches smiled and Coach Zoon nodded.
“David, one thing you have to learn is to listen to your men. You want their buy-in. You did add to what I’d already planned,” Coach Hope said. “You reminded me to look into the home-schooled players’ transcripts. I was focused on football, not eligibility. You also had a very good point about bulking up. I think a call to Alabama is a good start. We want to do it right, so that we add the weight the right way.
“I also like that you’re proactive. I planned to attack this at the start of the year. You’re right in pointing out that a lot of development can happen in a month. I’ll make sure I get everyone together after the season and have a brainstorming session like the one we did when we set all this up. I might even throw you under the bus a couple of times and tell them something is your idea if they don’t think of it themselves. That way it’ll come from a fellow teammate instead of the coaches.”
I thought about what he’d just told me, and I could see where he was right. Teens didn’t like to be told to do anything. If they all worked together to come up with the ideas, we should be more successful.
“That’s fine, Coach. If they get out of line, tell them I said Cassidy’d make sure they get with the program.”
“Will do. Now go get ready. We have a game Saturday and I’d like to remove any doubt. Nobody taught us to quit, and I’m not about to let that happen. I think the last game was a wake-up call for all of us.”
Coach treated practice like a Monday. We watched film of our last game. Well, actually just the last play. I think everyone knew how close a thing it had been for our season to be over. Some idiot had actually driven by the Nazareth Academy quarterback’s home and shot out the front window. Believe me, I knew exactly how the kid felt. I’d had the football bounce off my facemask late in a playoff game that had caused us to lose my first year. What people had to come to grips with was that it was just a game.
Then the coaches broke us down into offense and defense and we reviewed Beverly’s game films. Coach Mason had looked at them and pointed out several things. As I watched the video I felt a calmness come over me. We’d played them the last two years and had split the games. I saw that things hadn’t changed since Coach Hope and Coach Zoon had been head coaches. They played tough defense and were conservative on offense. The problem was I’d been involved in game-planning against them the last two years. There was no mystery here, and I knew how to beat them.
As I listened to Coach Diamond and Alan break down their defense and how we would attack it, I could tell they’d done their homework. It confirmed everything I thought. I vowed that I would light them up on Saturday. I didn’t want to be in a position where we needed a miracle to win.
After practice, I skipped the dojo because I needed to give my body a break. I stayed after practice and let Jill give me a therapeutic massage. I almost cried when she did it, but I knew how much better I would feel tomorrow. She sent me to the whirlpool after she was done to let the hot water beat against my body and loosen me up even more. I felt like a piece of limp spaghetti when the trainers were finally done with me.
I went home and found Mom had made split pea soup. After I’d eaten a couple of bowls I was ready for bed, but Dad stopped me.
“I wanted to give you a quick update on what Frank found out. His uncle rehired Brandon Rigby after Tom let him go. So he’s an employee of Rigby, Thompson and Associates. I talked to Ms. Dixon and she’s sending them a cease and desist letter. I authorized her to get aggressive in the verbiage, but to not make any threats we aren’t willing to carry out,” Dad said.
“What do you mean, aggressive?” I asked.
“Well, Ms. Dixon was more than willing to just turn them all over to the State Bar, she was so disgusted. She said this was a good compromise to her approach, but if Brandon doesn’t stop, there will be consequences. Frank promised to keep an eye out to make sure nothing new surfaces and that everything gets taken down. The letter was messengered over today,” Dad explained.
“Thanks for coordinating that for me. I really appreciate the assist today.”
Dad just smiled. I took my trusty hound up to my apartment and crashed.
Saturday November 14
I woke up to my phone ringing. I wondered who could be calling so early.
“Hello,” I croaked out.
“David, did I wake you up?” a familiar voice asked.
“What? What time is it?” I asked.
“David, it’s Mr. Hill. I wondered if you could do a shoot for me this morning?”
I looked at the clock and it was 6:30 a.m. Our game with Beverly wasn’t until 7:00 p.m.
“I’d have to be back for my football game no later than 5:00 tonight,” I said.
“Is that a yes?” Mr. Hill asked.
“I guess. What time do I need to be there?” I asked.
“Could you be here by 8:00? I’d have you out of here by 3:00 at the latest.”
“Alright,” I said, and then hung up.
I started to call Kendal, but she no longer worked for me. I still didn’t have a PA who had power of attorney to sign off on things for me. I would need to get either my mom or dad to come with me. I sure hoped they didn’t have plans. I threw on a pair of shorts and got Duke. He wasn’t happy that I put him on the leash, but I didn’t have time for him to mess around. I came in the back door and found Mom and Dad at the kitchen table.
“Mr. Hill called this morning and he asked me to do a photo shoot today. Could one of you show up around 3:00 and sign off on the work?” I asked.
“When are you going to get a PA?” Mom asked.
“I know. This is my fault,” I said.
“What does he need you to do?” she asked.
Sometimes it sucks to be a guy. My dad bit his bottom lip and scratched the back of his head.
“David Allen Dawson. Are you telling me you have no idea what Mr. Hill needs you to do today?” Mom asked.
“He just said he needed my help. I figured it was important,” I said in my lame defense.
“I’ll go with you. Someone has to make sure you’re not doing gay porn,” Mom said, which caused Dad to shoot coffee out his nose.
I swear she sometimes just says things for shock value, but she wouldn’t be my mom if she didn’t. I just rolled my eyes and went back to my apartment to take a shower.
As we pulled into Hill Advertising, I saw the parking lot was full. Mom and I walked in and found the lobby full of models. I went to the reception desk and saw the same girl who’d been there the last time I was there. This time she looked frazzled, so I didn’t ask her to detail the Charger. She looked up and gave me a weak smile.
“Mr. Dawson, they’re in Studio A,” she said.
Mom and I walked into the back. Studio A was the biggest studio at Hill Advertising. It was twenty by twenty with fifteen-foot ceiling. I spotted Mr. Hill. He was busy with several suits who seemed to be giving him a hard time. He saw me and motioned me to come over.
“I’m sorry he didn’t work out. I think you’ll like his replacement,” Mr. Hill said, and then turned to me. “This is David Dawson. He’s under contract with Range Sports, Jade and Dakora.”
“David, sorry for the sudden call-in. Could you take off your shirt for us?” one of the men asked.
I saw Mom start to say something, but I just winked at her and took my shirt off.
“He looks a little young, but I think he’ll do on short notice,” another one said.
“I need a decision,” Mr. Hill said.
I could tell he was irritated, so I kept quiet.
“Okay. We need to get a contract signed. Who represents him?” the third man asked as if I weren’t there.
“I do,” Mom said.
I guess she could be my agent. Mr. Hill’s lip twitched, but he didn’t react otherwise.
“He’ll need a bonus, and his normal fee is quite a bit more than what we’d arranged for the other model,” Mr. Hill said.
They all suddenly looked at me and I just smiled. Mom stepped forward and they turned their attention to her.
“Shall we get this done?” she asked.
The three of them put their heads together and came to a decision.
“Yes. Let’s get the paperwork taken care of,” the first one said.
They took Mom to a table and handed her a contract. She took her time and read it. I appreciated Mr. Hill insisting that I get paid more. I was sure Mom had noticed that and would make me some money. I could see her point at something and shake her head. There was a heated discussion. While that was going on, I talked to Mr. Hill.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“FMan online magazine is relaunching. They want to recreate some of their more famous shots,” he explained.
“What is FMan?” I asked.
He gave me a quizzical look, but decided I was serious.
“Oh. FMan is a men’s online fashion magazine that caters to a distinctive tone and aesthetic; it has proven to be the online source for the young and hip, the fashion-and-culture obsessed,” he said as if he read it off a sheet.
“I should have known,” I said, and rolled my eyes.
Mr. Hill didn’t comment. He wanted to talk about the shoot. He pulled up some of the photos they wanted to recreate.
“There might be some nudity,” he said.
“You think?” I said as I flipped through the photos.
The good news was the male nudity was tastefully concealed. The women, not so much. The thing about high fashion was that the clothes didn’t look like anything a normal person would ever wear. The one photo that caught my eye was a group shot of two women and two men in black fishnet shirts. The weave was loose, and you could see the women were braless. What made the photo special was the auburn-haired goddess with blue eyes that seemed to pierce your soul, and large round breasts which stood firmly on her chest. I instantly got an Adrienne vibe when I looked at her. Anything Adrienne-related had me half hard in an instant. I really hoped that they’d gotten the girl in the photo to recreate the shot.
“They want someone to be in most all the shots, so I called you,” Mr. Hill said.
I was flattered Mr. Hill would pick me. Mom came back with a smile on her face.
“They didn’t want to give you resale rights,” Mom explained.
I didn’t get a chance to ask any questions. Mr. Hill had me in makeup and wardrobe and then on the set in record time. The rest of the morning was a blur. This was completely different from what I was used to. The guys from FMan had a specific shot they wanted to recreate. They would show it to me, the other models and the photographer. We shot everything with a blue screen, because most of the shots were at specific locations that would have cost a fortune to recreate. Mr. Hill had software that could pull the background from the original photo.
The trick was the lighting. Outdoor shots were inherently difficult because of shadows. The photographer had his work cut out for him if he hoped to recreate the originals. He spent more time with the lighting grips than anything else. We sometimes took twenty shots until everything looked right. As soon as we were done Mr. Hill’s team would put in an initial background to see how it looked. Some of the shots were going to be fantastic when Mr. Hill was done with them, if what his quick mock-ups showed was any indication.
The suits would then be brought in and they would have the original and new shot in split-screen. These guys knew what they were doing, and they would have long discussions with Mr. Hill and the photographer. If Mr. Hill could fix it, we were done and on to the next shot on the storyboard. If not, we were back at it until they were satisfied.
I was disappointed when I saw the model who would do the fishnet picture with me. While she was gorgeous, she didn’t compare to the original. Very few women who haven’t been enhanced have breasts like Kara and Adrienne. This girl had obviously had implants.
The day flew by and it was almost 3:00 before I knew it. Mr. Hill sat down with my mom and me.
“Thanks for the save today. If they hadn’t liked you we could have been out a lot of money,” he confessed.
“What happened?” I asked.
“The model that we planned to do the shoot with was invited to dinner last night to get to know everyone at FMan. I wasn’t there, but from what I could gather he was caught in a compromising position with one of their employees. They called me late last night and insisted that I find someone else. I called around and no one was available. Then my wife told me to call you. As soon as she said it, I knew you were perfect.”
“Well, I’m glad I could help out. I’m just nervous what my new manager is going to charge me,” I said.
Mom looked at the check.
“I’ve been wanting to get a new car,” she teased.
“How much did I get paid?” I asked.
She showed me the check. I smirked when I thought she might have to settle for a used car, but it was still a nice payday.
“How do you want your pictures? Do you want them in just blue screen, or do you want me to put in backgrounds?” Mr. Hill asked.
Yet another thing that Kendal handled. I wasn’t even sure that I knew how she negotiated with the photo reseller websites. I started to wonder if letting her and Tom go was a mistake. Either that or I needed to hire someone to take care of that for me. I could see a personal assistant wasn’t what I required; I needed more of a manager-type person, someone to do more than keep me organized. I wondered if the ten percent I’d paid Tom and Kendal was cheap. I needed to think about who I could hire to do what all would be involved for them to do. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and hire Kendal again. Before I did that, I should to talk to my parents.
“Can I get back to you on that?” I asked.
“Would it be okay if I played with them some? We’ve just gotten this new software and I could use something to practice on. My wife can help with some ideas. She might even want a few to sell,” he suggested.
“What would this cost?” Mom asked.
“For David, nothing. He just saved me a lot of money today.”
“Yeah. Go ahead and see what you can create. If we start to sell them, I can either give your wife a discount or we can share in the profits,” I said.
“And that, young man, is why you’re a success in this business,” Mr. Hill said. “I’ll be in touch with your manager.”
I could see right now that I would end up paying Mom somehow. I figured it might be like with Wolf and my dad. I would rather pay Wolf to do work around the house than be my dad’s slave labor. It would probably be easier just to write Mom a check.
I smiled when I thought about the trouble I was in with her for doing the skydiving and things with Brook. Plus when the guys came home with the clap. Maybe I could just give my mom money to get out of it. She still held the ‘sword of justice’ over my neck, and it had yet to fall. The threat to go on all my recruiting trips moving forward was only the first of many things I could see happen in the future. Maybe a new car wouldn’t be a bad idea. Then again, that wouldn’t give my mom the kind of satisfaction she’d get in doing the punishment herself. Maybe I would spring for good leather seats.
By the time I’d gotten to the football field I already knew who we’d play next. Central had defeated McNamara 21 – 17. All that stood between us and going to the State Finals was Beverly and Central. I thought both teams were very beatable. I mentally slapped myself as I remembered our last game. I needed to focus on Beverly.
Before I went to be taped, I went to the hospitality tent to get something to eat. I saw they’d done something different this time. There were different food booths surrounding a huge tent that had tables and chairs set up so you could eat. A local radio station had a sound system installed; they were broadcasting live. The announcer encouraged their listeners to come watch the game and enjoy the pregame festivities. There was a booth where you bought tickets, and then you could turn them in for a sample of each booth’s specialty. The proceeds went to the booster club as a fundraiser. I peeled off a couple of large bills and soon had a fistful of tickets.
I went through and got a sampling of just about everything. I smiled when they offered to take the food to my table. Several of the football players showed up and tried to steal my food. That was why I’d bought the extra tickets. I went through tickets at an alarming rate. I should have known to buy more. I saw Mona and motioned her over.
“Here, go get more tickets,” I told her as I handed her a couple more bills.
“What makes you think I’ll be your gofer?” she asked.
“Because you get to hand them out to whoever you want,” I said.
I knew she’d just been giving me a hard time. She went and bought the tickets and gave some to all the cheerleaders to hand out. I smiled when I saw Brook take up station at the ice cream booth and hand tickets to any kids that didn’t have one.
Jeff Delahey appeared out of nowhere and stole my plate of chicken wings.
“Hey!” I complained.
“Word on the street is Coaches Diamond and Zoon have been offered jobs,” he said, and I suddenly forgot about his theft.
“Seriously?” I asked.
“Coach Diamond has been offered the head coaching position at Washington. Coach Zoon’s offer is still under wraps, but my source tells me that he’ll be the new linebacker coach at the University of Kentucky. I also heard that Tim Foresee received a scholarship offer to play linebacker from the University of Kentucky, despite his injury.”
“Wow. That’s big news. When will they announce all this?” I asked.
“After the season. Can I count on a comment when the time comes?” he asked.
“Of course. I hate that they’re leaving, but they need to look to their careers. I guess I’ve been lucky to have Coach Diamond for two years,” I said, and then figured Jeff might have more information. “Do you know who’ll replace them?”
“You didn’t hear this from me, but the defensive guy from Springfield you spoke so highly of is the top target to replace Coach Zoon. The only sticking point is money, but I’ve heard the booster club might be convinced to make up the difference. I haven’t gotten a peep as to who could take over for Coach Diamond. I think Coach Hope already has someone, but isn’t talking,” Jeff said.
I just sat there in stunned silence as I took in the changes that were coming. Coach Zoon’s departure really wasn’t a problem. Coach Hope’s passion was defense, so even if they didn’t get the guy from Springfield we would be okay. What worried me was Coach Diamond’s replacement. I could be learning a completely new offense again. Intellectually I knew that was common during a quarterback’s career. Emotionally I didn’t really want to change. A new offensive coordinator wouldn’t worry about my feelings. The best I could hope for was that they knew what they were doing and didn’t mess up our shot at a winning season.
“You ready to do your pre-game presser?” Jeff asked.
“Sure,” I said, and he motioned everyone over.
The press soon surrounded me. I gave them the standard lines about how good our opponent was and admitted we were lucky to even be playing today. Quite honestly, I’d never seen anyone make the mistake the poor kid had made. It ranked right up there with the Michigan punter who had given the ball to Michigan State and lost the game.
“Any predictions?” Jeff asked the last question.
“I think after last week I’m out of the prediction business. All I know is this team has more heart than any other I’ve ever been on. I think Coach Hope had it right when he told me that nobody taught us to quit. I expect we’ll be ready. I think Beverly will be a real test for us, and I hope we pass it,” I said, and got up to walk out.
While I’d talked to Jeff the crowd had grown. Mona stopped me and I gave her more money. I would always donate to the booster club. This was my favorite way to do it: anonymous and able to see it put a smile on someone’s face, if the small children who got ice cream were any indication.
I checked my iWatch and I had plenty of time. I went to get my ankles taped.
For this game, the temporary bleachers had been installed. Our fans usually packed the place, but tonight it seemed like the whole town was in the house. There was nothing more exciting than playoff football. It was one and done. Someone would be eliminated and their dreams crushed, while the other would be one step closer to their goal.
Fox Sports was covering regional football and we were selected as one of their games. Another of their games that interested me was between Springfield and Bloomington. They’d played early in the season with Bloomington winning. I wished I’d seen the rematch, because it was reported to have been a tremendous battle, with Springfield turning the tables with their defense.
When it was game time, Yuri and I went out for the coin flip. The team insisted that he and I would be the captains for the rest of the year. I would be willing to bet that no other team in the state had a junior and a sophomore as their team captains; that was normally reserved for seniors. We met Beverly at the center of the field and there wasn’t any trash talk. You could tell they were a well-coached team. This was how I thought football should be played. Granted, I enjoyed some good-natured trash talk. It fired me up; but if I had a choice, I’d rather not.
We won the toss and elected to defer to the second half. Beverly took the ball. As we awaited the kickoff, I looked around and savored the moment. Fans for both teams were on their feet to cheer their team on. Our fans had their cowbells ringing and the cheerleaders and marching band had started the ‘Our House’ chant. This was why I played. It was this feeling, right now. I felt the hairs on my arms go up and I got that queasy feeling of excitement. As our kicker ran up to the ball the noise hit a crescendo, and then dropped off as it sailed through the air. I guess Derek felt it too, because he boomed the kickoff through the end zone.