Of Football and Life, In Roughly That Order
Chapter 1

Caution: This Drama Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Slow,

Desc: Drama Sex Story: Chapter 1 - John is a Varsity High School Football coach, starting a new season. He's as comfortable as can be in his new job, using it as a shelter from the chaos of his recent life. Life won't let you hide forever, though, and John's life is about to get a lot more interesting.

John Edwards sat at his desk and took off his whistle. Outside his door he listened to the normal chaos that surrounded a locker room as his players showered up and got dressed after practice. He smiled to himself, closed his eyes, and just drank it all in. He tilted his head back and let his mind wander, enjoying the sounds and, yes, the smells, of this office. This was his home, and nowhere else felt near as good. The summer had been particularly difficult, for a variety of reasons, but now he was back in the only place where he felt he truly belonged. He opened his eyes and looked at the trophies along his office wall. Coach of the Year had been particularly nice, and occupied it's deserved place of honor amongst various signed footballs and jerseys. He had needed to purchase his own trophy case, since the school had dictated that any case they paid for would be located in the main hall of the school. So he had saved up and erected this monument to his own career, and put it right where it belonged. Down here, in the hell halls, amongst the smells of liniment, teenage sweat, and hunger. It didn't get any better than this, as far as he was concerned.

Practice had been tough, as it was still the first week. All the walk-ons were trying their best to show that they deserved a spot, and John tried hard to make sure they all got a fair shake. The reality of the situation, though, was that there were very few roster spots available. Last year's team had only graduated three seniors, and none from essential positions. They were already favored to win their Division, and most newspapers gave them decent odds at Regionals or even a State Championship. John was quite pleased with the way the previous season had ended, with a series of impressive wins, with only a single loss, to Evansville, who went on to win the Regional Championship. Evansville's quarterback and top cornerback had both graduated, though, and the time was right for John's team to step into their place as the local power.

John looked through the wire mesh of his office door at a young boy wrapping his shoulder. He remembered the hit that this one had taken. The boy had been trying his hand at linebacker and had gone low at a running back. His technique had been all wrong, though, and he was badly off balance when the running back's knee connected squarely with the boy's shoulder. Even from across the field the coach could hear the impact, and watched as the boy rolled around clutching his shoulder. The trainer had been standing right next to John when it happened, and immediately muttered about a dislocated shoulder as he picked up his bag and trotted out to the player. John had been mildly surprised that the boy had refused to come out, demanding to be left in, but the rules simply didn't allow that. The trainer had gotten the boy off the field and told him to go shower up as practice resumed.

John had noticed, though, that the boy hadn't done any such thing. He watched the rest of practice, studying every little detail as he clutched his shoulder. John liked that kind of dedication, that kind of hunger, but the simple truth was that the kid was undersized, injury-prone, and awkward. He was wasting his time, and John knew from 20 years of experience that giving this boy a chance would be a waste of both their time. So immediately at the end of practice, he had approached the boy.

"Son?" He couldn't remember the boy's name. Jeremy or something, but Son always worked.

"Yes, Coach?"

"How's the shoulder?" The coach nodded at the offending body part.

The boy moved his shoulder a little bit, without flinching too terribly much.

"It's not too bad, Coach. I coulda stayed in, I think. I'll go home and rest it, and it'll be good as new tomorrow."

"Son, I appreciate your desire, and how much you're willing to put on the line to make this team. But the simple fact of the matter is that you were horribly out of position on that play, and off balance besides. Now you're injured, and I really don't think you're going to be in top shape to make it through the rest of these tryouts, much less make the team. I'm sorry, Son, but I'm cutting you. See the trainer before you leave and he'll make sure you're wrapped correctly and give you some extra bandages."

It was a similar speech to the same one he had given hundreds of times in his career. This boy had done better than most, not tearing up, not swearing that he'd be sorry. Instead he had politely asked if he would be able to try out again the following year. John had agreed, and shook the boy's left hand warmly before wishing him the best of luck. That's how it went around here. There were ups and downs, but the magic of it all never failed to make it all worth it. John watched as the boy packed his bag and made his way down and out of the locker room. He'd be back, John thought. Maybe next year.

John prided himself on keeping an open mind during these tryouts. These were green players, with little or no experience, or in some cases, athletic ability. They were passionate, though, and would throw themselves at whatever task was set in front of them with reckless abandon. Even after all these years he would cringe at the antics of some of the more fearless, less skilled players out there trying to prove they were Superman. His job was to make sure everyone stayed safe, and keep a constant eye out for the proverbial raw talent. Over the years, though, his mindset had shifted somewhat, and this whole process was just a dry run for him. It was a way to get his head back into coaching, and to get his thoughts set for the new season. All the terminology would come roaring back, and he would fall back into the comfortable daily routine of practices, meetings, and long hours staring at various charts and graphs. John truly loved the game of football, and he considered it his duty to teach these boys how to play it right.

He sat back at his desk and crossed his hands behind his head. He stretched out his legs until they shook slightly and relaxed, closing his eyes. He mentally reviewed the highlights of the practice in his usual manner. He was by no means possessed of a photographic memory, but over the course of a practice, he had found, there were always a few plays that stood out at the end of the day. Those plays were worth remembering, and contemplating later. That's how a player could really shine in his mind, was to produce one of those plays.

Today's practice, though, was a bunch of walk-ons flailing away at each other, and John didn't expect to find much in his mental film room. As he wandered idly over the memories of the practice, he watched in his mind's eye as number 84 dropped five passes in a row, then sprained an ankle trying to run a curl route on attempt number six. Then number 54 had clanged helmets with number 24 in the seven-on-seven drills, looking for all the world like a couple of billy goats fighting over their section of a lawn. Then number 6 had punted a ball almost 90 degrees to the left, narrowly missing the vice- principals car in the parking lot. That one made John smile to himself. He made a note to tell Peggy about that one when he got home, before cutting the thought short. His brain hadn't managed to wrap itself around her absence yet, and he wondered sometimes if it ever would.

His reverie cut short, John leaned forward at his desk and crossed off the date on his desk calendar. In neat letters, he scrawled NP underneath the pre-printed "Open Tryouts". NP for No Prospects. He looked at the rest of the week, seeing "Open Tryouts" on each day, and idly considered just putting NP under each one. It had happened before, several times, that they had come away from the tryouts with no usable prospects, and had raided the JV squad for backups and roster hole-pluggers. Luckily Coach Dockery, who had managed the JV squad the last few years, was a good friend, and never minded losing his best players to Varsity bench duty. The JV coach would then tab a few of the walk-ons for his squad, thus restoring balance to the school football universe. He idly wondered if it was worth making the hike down to Coach Dockery's office to get his input on the day, but resolved to just compare notes the next morning before getting back to the drills. He stood up and gathered his things for the ride home, closing and locking the door on his way out.

There were still a few players milling around, in various states of emotional distress. This was always the case, and why he referred to this walk as the Gallows Walk in his head. These were the players who had been cut, and been thinking of arguments that would change the coaches' minds. It never worked, and could range from pathetic to heartbreaking as each of these few desperate boys argued and pleaded for another chance. They all got told the same thing, though. Wait another year. Work on your awareness. Lift some weights. Work on your hands. Some small snippet of advice and encouragement was doled out, but the key, he thought to himself, was to keep your feet moving. Not them... him. Just keep walking, don't let them get you cornered, and get to the car as quickly as possible. The sooner he got to his car, the sooner he'd be home to... to what? His brain once again stubbed it's toe against the empty house he would be returning to. It was so cold there lately, and he knew it had nothing to do with the air temperature.

His legs were on autopilot, walking the familiar route down the hallway, passing the visitor's locker room (currently occupied by most of the equipment for the P.E. teachers), past the film room (cleverly disguised as a storage room), turning the final corner to go past the weight room and out to the faculty parking lot. He was surprised to hear the clanking and groaning coming from the weight room, though, and glanced over to see who might be in there at this hour. The varsity players were all some level of weightlifting addict, but none were ever here past 7 in the evening. He noticed with some surprise that it was Jeremy (Jason? Jeremiah?). The boy with the dislocated shoulder. He noticed that the boy was lifting with his one good arm, and working hard at it. He was covered in sweat, and had obviously been in here a while. John poked his head in the door and called out.

"Hey! What's going on in here? Anyone not on the team has to sign up for permission to use this room after hours, Son."

The boy jumped, startled by the interruption, and the weights clanged back onto the stack with a loud clap.

"I'm sorry, sir. I wasn't aware... that is... we were told..."

"Take a breath, Son. I'm not going to eat you. Take a second and then start again." John couldn't help but smile at the boy's stunted attempt at an explanation.

"S-sorry, Sir. When we showed up this morning Coach Dockery told us that for today, we should consider ourselves part of the team. That tomorrow most of us wouldn't be back, but that for today we were Falcons. And, Sir, I just figured, well, that today wasn't over yet, and I'd better take this opportunity while it was there, since tomorrow it won't be."

John's heart swelled a little bit at the boy's open explanation. But still...

"Son, that shoulder is in no shape to be lifting. You should be resting it, and healing up."

"Oh, I know, Sir. I will rest it, too. But I have plenty of other body parts that need it just as much. It's not my throwing arm, and any chance I get to strengthen that is something I can't pass up."

"Throwing arm? I thought you were trying out for linebacker?" John stepped fully into the room, feeling foolish for holding a conversation with his head poking through a partially open door.

The boy smiled, in a shy sort of way. "Well, Sir, linebackers were going first, and I was getting bored. Some of us had been here since 6 this morning, and, well, I thought I'd give it a try."

"So you had never played linebacker before, and just thought you'd give it a whirl? Out of boredom?" John was frankly shocked. This boy seemed reasonably intelligent up until now, but what he had done was just plain stupid. No wonder the boy had been injured! Not only that, but they were all damn lucky he hadn't injured someone else with his reckless behavior.

The boy could see the storm clouds rising on John's face, and hastened to explain.

"Sir, I never thought anyone would get hurt. It was a stupid mistake, and I can't tell you how glad I am that I was the only one to pay the price."

John took a long breath, held it for five seconds, and then let it out. The boy was right, and nobody else had been injured. It was a valuable lesson that the young man had obviously learned.

"So then, Jeremy is it?"

"Jason, Sir. Jason Scoggins."

"Jason. What position do you usually play?"

Jason smiled at him. "I'm a pitcher, sir. Varsity the last two years at my last school. I've got a pretty live arm, and wanted to try out as a quarterback. I worked most of the summer with my uncle, to see if I was any good, and he convinced me to come down here and give it a try. He's going to be pretty upset with me for being so stupid about it, but there's always next year, and this will give me more time to work at it."

"What's wrong with baseball, Son? If that's your sport, we've got a great program here, and Coach Torberg could sure use the help. I know that Jones boy graduated last year, and they've got a hole in their rotation to fill, if you're any good."

Jason just smiled. "I did consider it, Sir, but the thing is, I'll never get to the top tier there. I need to find something I can get a scholarship in, if I want to go to college. I may be a decent pitcher, but decent doesn't pay the tuition. I needed something else to transition into. My grades are good, but have never been great, and certainly aren't scholarship material. So I wanted to try something I could be great at."

"Son, I don't mean to break it to you, but you don't become a 'great' quarterback overnight, pitcher or not. The motion is totally different, the mechanics are all off, and there are some things that only experience can teach you. I can appreciate how hard you're working for that scholarship, but this might not be the best way to approach it."

"I know, Coach. And I know how long the odds are. But I'm going to give it all I've got, and see what happens. If it's meant to be, then it will be, but I'm for sure not going to miss an opportunity because I was afraid of the work needed to meet it."

John had to admire the boy's pluck, even as unlikely as it was that it would ever take him anywhere in the football world. Guts and determination like that would take him far in life, down other paths.

"That's a great outlook, Son, and while I don't know if it's football that is the right path for you, I wish you the best. The janitor comes through here every evening around 8. I'd appreciate it if you could clear out by then so he can lock up the place."

"Thank you, Sir, and I will. Thanks for the time, and the tryout today," Jason said.

"You're welcome, Jason."

John woke up the next morning with a wet pillow. He stubbornly pushed his dreams out of his head and stumbled to the shower. His head rang with the silence of the house, and in his mind he couldn't help but hear Peggy's voice singing while she did her hair, chatting away about the day and about some random thing or other. He always listened, but it was just for the joy of listening. Peggy's voice had been so incredibly melodic that listening to her speak had been like listening to wonderfully played musical chimes. He couldn't help but smile ruefully at that thought. He knew his memories were somewhat skewed, but that's how it had always sounded to him.

He forcibly turned his thoughts to the day's tryouts. He reviewed the day in his head, as was his custom. The drills to be run, the things he most wanted to look for. He also reminded himself to check in with Coach Dockery on the off chance that the man had seen something he hadn't yesterday on the field. It was a long shot, but John prided himself on being a thorough man, and part of that was dotting I's and crossing T's.

Today was Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers, at least for him personally. Today each section of the field would have an assistant coach, from either the Varsity or JV squad, monitoring things and overseeing the drills, and the head coaches would drift here and there, watching this or that drill for a while, just getting a feel for things. Yesterday had been simple cuts. Line up the linebackers, and have them run through their series of drills. The theory was to weed out the players who really had no reason be there at all the first day. If you had some semblance of talent, and were unlikely to hurt yourself or someone else, you would get invited back. Most of the time it was very obvious after the first day that 98% of them had no chance at all, but he gave every kid their chance, and therefore they spent the rest of the week running them through drill after drill, and meeting after meeting, all separated by position.

John had his own schedule, watching two groups each day, and making a point to see every single player do their thing. Coach Dockery would just wander, and trust his assistants to tell him if something was worth watching, or needed considering, but John wanted to see it firsthand. It wasn't that he didn't trust his assistants. On the contrary, some of them had been with him for the better part of ten years. He was just a very careful man, and didn't want to leave any stone unturned. This morning was Wide Receivers, then after lunch it was Quarterbacks. Tomorrow would be Tight Ends and Offensive Linemen. Thursday was Defensive Linemen and Defensive Backs, then Friday was Running Backs and Linebackers. The one area he 'neglected' was Special Teams. That was entirely under the purview of Michael Tanner, his Assistant Head Coach. Michael was a good coach, and insisted that he be left to his own devices on Special Teams. After seeing how much the man accomplished, John let him have his head. He never worried about their kicking or return teams, and they never let him down. One of these days, when he either retired or died, it would be Michael taking things over.

John ate breakfast by himself at the small kitchen table. He considered it a waste of time to eat at the big dining room table these days, and almost a waste of table. It just felt wrong to him, so he ate most meals at the small round plastic table next to the sink, doing his best not to think, or, at the very least, not to delve too deeply into the thoughts that flowed across the surface of his mind. He had been down that particular road often as of late, and tried hard to keep from repeating the pattern. When he was finished he scraped off his plate and put it in the sink, washed his hands, and gathered up his things. He switched off the lights and made sure the door was locked before pulling it shot. He rattled the handle just to be sure, then was off for another day at the gridiron.

"Got a second, Coach?"

John stood in Coach Dockery's office doorway, wearing a smile underneath his tired eyes. He had known Steve would already be in, despite John getting there at 6. Steve was always there early, as he had more than just football on his plate. He was also one of the History teachers, and carried a full load of classes in addition to his duties as coach of the Junior Varsity. He insisted, however, on being called Coach, even to his History students. He worked very hard to make sure that neither role fell by the wayside, and that might well have been the reason that his wife had left him three years earlier. Maybe three hats were just too many to wear. John wondered if Coach Dockery had regretted his decision.

"Sure thing, John!" Coach Dockery replied. He grinned up at John and leaned back in his chair.

"I guess you want to go over yesterday's tryouts?" He asked John, while gesturing for him to take a seat in the empty chair across the desk.

"Yeah, if you've got a minute, I really would. I meant to catch up with you last night, but one thing led to another and I ended up missing you. I wanted to get your input before I headed out there this morning, though."

"Don't worry about it, John. Lemme grab my notes here..." Steve trailed off as he rummaged through a drawer of file folders. Steve was an avid note-taker, trusting neither his own recollection or his imagination. More specifically, he didn't trust them not to switch sides mid-thought and substitute something imagined for something that had happened. So he wrote down everything he wanted to remember for later. Finding what he was hunting for, he pulled out a yellow legal pad and flipped back a few pages. John hastily readied his own pad and looked up at the man, looking back at him. They both grinned at the same time, and John finally spoke.

"You go first. What do you have?"

"Well, John... I gotta be honest. There wasn't much to see out there yesterday. I marked down zeroes for the Wideouts, the Safeties and Corners, and the 'Backers, too. Nobody there with a realistic chance that I could see."

John scribbled down that information, then carefully listed each of the players that Coach Dockery had seen at the other positions, by jersey numbers, who might be worth taking a look at. They finished up their coordination and shook hands. John promised to meet up with him after practice to compare notes for that day, and then excused himself back to his office. As he made the walk back, he reflected that 9 players was a decent start. Coach Dockery had mentioned 9 players in particular that stood a chance of making the grade at some level, and John wanted to make sure he checked them out himself. None of the players had rang any bells for him, but that was because of his different approach to the first day. The first day was all about weeding out the dangerously incompetent, or the woefully inadequate. If you could play, John dismissed you mentally until he could look closer. That was what the rest of the week was for.

Starting today, he thought with a smile.

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