Lost & Found
Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Ma/Ma, Consensual, Romantic, Group Sex, Anal Sex, School,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Kyle Martin goes to PSU seeking football glory. Read about his successes, failures and excesses as he tries to find his place in the world
"Unka Ky! Unka Ky!" My four year old nephew Connor cried as he dashed into the hallway where the wedding party was waiting. Connor was closely followed by his identical twin brother Noah. "Is the wedding gonna start soon?"
I glanced down at my watch. "Not for another twenty minutes." Noah and Connor hadn't been able to pronounce their 'L's' when they started talking three years ago. I've been Unka Ky since then. My brother Andy's sons looked so cute in their tuxedos.
Andy asked, "Do you have the pillows for the ring?" Connor and Noah pulled them from behind their backs and showed them to their father.
Noah asked, "When do you put the ring on it?"
"Just before the wedding starts. Why don't you two go see Mom-Mom? She might need your help." Andy suggested. The twins raced off to find our mother.
My best man and my best friend growing up, Ed Fritz, asked, "Are you ready for this, Kyle?"
Am I ready? I looked down the hallway at my wedding party: Ed Fritz, Jeremy North, Hal Long, my older half-brother Will Henry, and my younger brother Andy. My college friends Christian Hunsecker and Damian Thompson were in the church helping seat my guests. All my closest friends were at my side. I had been preparing for this day for years.
"Yes," I answered. "Everything feels right."
Ed said, "I've lost count how many times you've told me 'This is the girl. This one is for life.' There was Penny in ninth grade, Julie in tenth grade, back to Penny for the rest of high school, in college there was..."
"Enough!" I interrupted. "I have it right finally. Forget all the ones I lost. I found the right girl."
"Kyle's right," Jeremy added. "He's the luckiest guy in the world that she'll have him."
These guys didn't know how lucky I was. My mind started to drift back to four years ago, when I was starting college. I stared out the window into space.
My reverie was interrupted by Will's half-brothers bursting in on us. Ethan and Cody Henry were from Will's dad's third marriage. They were spending the summer in Lancaster County with their grandfather. Ethan and Cody were spending a week with Will and his wife Abby. I insisted the boys had to come to my wedding.
"Did you know the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers just walked in the door?" Ethan asked.
"Of course," I answered. "He's my friend. Zack Hayes and I played together in college."
Cody added, "He came in with his brother. Doesn't his brother play for the Seahawks?"
I confirmed, "Sam does."
At fourteen Ethan and Cody had the Henry build. Tall and thin. They had grown into good looking young men since I saw them four years ago at Will's wedding. Ethan and Cody were fanatic football fans. They were going to be heaven today. I'd invited twenty some teammates from Penn State – current and past players.
Ethan realized who was standing beside me first. He gawked at Jeremy and asked, "Mr. North, can I get your autograph?"
Jeremy chuckled. "Sure thing."
Ethan fumbled in his pockets. "I don't have any paper."
"Don't worry about it, kid," Jeremy explained. "I'm not going anywhere today. See me at the reception. I'll sign whatever you boys have."
"Thanks, Mr. North." Ethan said. Cody echoed his brother.
"You can call me Jeremy." Jeremy added.
Ethan and Cody were still standing there when three more of my friends popped into the hallway. Their eyes bugged out when they saw who my friends were.
Zack Hayes, Aaron Morano and Chip Brinton stepped into the hallway. "The happy day is here," Zack stated. "It's been a long time coming. Good luck, Kyle."
"Thanks, Zack," I answered. We noticed Ethan and Cody standing there, mouths open wide. "Have you met Will's younger brothers?"
"No." I introduced Cody and Ethan to Zack, Aaron and Chip. They were nearly speechless in the presence of real NFL players and a big time college quarterback.
Our circle of friends talked about our experiences in football. Hal looked around the circle. He asked, "Do you realize that between all of us, we've accounted for five high school and college championships?"
The rest of us looked around the circle of friends. He was right. "We've been blessed by football," I said. We were quiet for a few moments. "We've been blessed in life."
"Amen," "Indeed we have," "Yes, you're right," my friends agreed.
"Jeremy, when are you getting married?" I asked.
"Not until next winter," Jeremy answered. "Things are too crazy right now. I want a real honeymoon and time with Kath after we marry."
"I hear you. My honey and I didn't want to wait. Now is the right time for us." I turned to Hal. "What about you?"
Hal laughed. "It will be awhile. Tammy's starting grad school in August. We aren't going to talk about it until after I am sure that I have a job beyond the summer."
I teased Ed. "I assume you're going to be a perpetual bachelor?"
"I'm happy playing the field now," Ed replied. "I'll settle down when I finish college next year. I'm not ready to be tied down yet."
"You say that now," Zack teased. "Wait until the right girl finds you. You aren't going to want to run around every Saturday night anymore. Take it from someone who has been there and done that. I wouldn't trade married life for anything."
I asked, "How is Laurie?"
"The rug rat? She's great. We left her with mom. Mom loves it when we get back home and she gets time with her granddaughter." Zack answered. I knew Zack was teasing when he called his year old daughter a rug rat. Laurie was daddy's little girl. Zack doted on his first child.
I asked Aaron, "How's Tania doing?"
"She's doing well. She complains that she feels like a whale. She's only seven months along. I don't know what she will be like when our son is due." Aaron married his four year girlfriend three years ago when the two of them graduated from college. Aaron added, "You'll see what it is like Kyle someday."
"Yes ... Yes I will," I answered. Zack, Chip and Aaron excused themselves. They went back to their seats. I had ten minutes until the ceremony. My groomsmen left me to my thoughts.
I thought back to that day four years ago when I left home, a callow youth seeking glory on the football field and his place in this world. I lost and found love as I matured. I was fortunate to finally find my life mate. I was fortunate too to have survived four years of craziness in college. I had changed so much since that day I crossed the Susquehanna on the way to Penn State.
The stadium loudspeakers blared, "TOUCHDOWN! Number 87, Freshman Kyle Martin of Paradise, Pennsylvania scores first for Penn State."
The other announcer continued, "This is an auspicious debut for the young man from Lancaster County. This is the first time he has touched the football here at Beaver Stadium."
HONK! HOONNKK! I woke from my daydream. The light was green! I quickly turned left off Park Avenue onto Bigler Road. I snickered to myself as I drove down University Drive. That was a hell of a day dream. Score a touchdown on your first touch of the ball when you start college. Only in my dreams.
I drove two blocks south and turned onto Pollock Road. I pulled my red VW Golf into the assigned parking lot. My directions said I was to report to Pollock Commons to check in and get my room key. I sighed and gathered up my housing information. College was officially starting for me!
I walked across the grass in the commons area. Five of the ten dorms in Pollock Halls faced the grass commons in front of Pollock Commons Center. Pollock was going to be my dining hall, post office, and snack bar for the next year of college.
I walked in the double doors and down the hallway. I passed the post office when I saw a sign on the far wall. It said "Freshmen Arrivals ==>" I followed the sign. I stopped at a door that said "Housing and Residential Life". I went inside.
A young man, maybe in his early twenties said, "Full name please?"
"Kyle David Martin"
He scanned down a list. "407 Hartranft Hall."
I confirmed my room assignment. He handed me the key to my room. "Your roommate, Mr. Hunsecker, has checked in already, Mr. Martin. Did you contact him before you arrived?"
"Yes. Christian and I are friends from back home. We requested that we room together."
"That's good. Check in with your resident assistant when you get to your floor. Mr. Klein is in room 419. It is on the right when you get off the elevator," the man said. He handed me a map and a card. "This is your parking pass. You can park here to unload. You have a half hour to unload. Return your parking pass to me and move your car to the East Parking Deck." He pointed at the parking lot beside the Pollock Library and then to the big parking garage across from East Halls. I knew where it was. I had just passed it on the way in.
I thanked the man and headed back out to my car. I had turned a corner in the hall when I heard a familiar voice. "Kyle!" I looked up. It was Trevor Conwell and his parents.
"Trevor! It's good to see you," I declared. I knew Trevor from my state semi-final playoff game last fall. Trevor's a big guy. He goes 6'-3" and probably 240 pounds. He plays defensive end. I say I knew Trevor from the state semi-final playoff game. Actually my best friend, quarterback Ed Fritz, knew Trevor much more intimately from that game. Trevor had sacked Ed three or four times and had at least a dozen hurries in the game. Of course Trevor's team advanced to the state championship game and we went home.
Trevor introduced me to his parents. Mr. Conwell thanked me for letting Trevor stay at my house last spring when Trevor, my roommate Christian Hunsecker and our friend Chip Brinton had attended the Blue and White football game at the end of Penn State's spring practice. My friend and former high school teammate Zack Hayes invited us to come to a party later that night. Trevor and Chip had gotten a little drunk at the party. I put them up at my house so Chip wouldn't hurt anyone trying to drive from my house in Lancaster County down to Unionville, Chester County.
"Where are you staying?" I asked.
"I'm in Hartranft Hall, room 420," Trevor asked. "How about you?"
"I'm in 407 Hartranft."
"I guess we'll see a lot of each other," Trevor added. We shook hands and headed our separate ways.
I moved my VW down the road to the correct parking lot and headed for Hartranft Hall. Wheeled dollies were in the entranceway near the elevators. I grabbed one and headed back to my car. I loaded it up to overflowing and carefully wheeled it back down the small hill to Hartranft Hall. I took the elevator up to the fourth floor.
I pushed the dolly off the elevator. I was barely out when someone called out. "Kyle. Welcome to Penn State." I looked up. It was Pete Klein, the starting strong side linebacker on the football team.
"You're the resident assistant?" I asked.
"Guilty. The pay is pretty decent and I get a private room," Pete explained. He pointed across the hall. "You're in 407. It's over there." I saw the room number on the door. It was located just to the left of the elevators. "Get your stuff moved in, Kyle. When you're done move your car over to the East Parking Deck. Meet me at my room, 419, at noon. I am going to take all the freshmen over to the dining hall for lunch. We have an orientation after lunch. Any questions?"
I didn't have any. I pushed my dolly over to my new home and tried to unlock the door. "It's open, Kyle," Christian called from inside our room. I pushed the door open. Christian was unloading things from boxes on the floor into one of the two closets in our room. Christian's parents, Randall and Evelyn, were sitting on a bed.
Mr. Hunsecker asked, "Are your parents still downstairs, Kyle?"
"No. I told them I could handle moving into the dorms on my own. They're back home."
"Evelyn wouldn't allow Christian to do that," Mr. Hunsecker explained. "We had to come up and see that Christian is properly settled in." Christian, Mr. and Mrs. Hunsecker helped me move my first load of things into our room. I went downstairs and loaded the dolly with the rest of my possessions. I finished quickly with the Hunseckers' help. All my things were piled on the floor in the middle of the room.
When everything was moved in Christian asked, "Which bed do you want?"
The beds were on the right as you walked in the door to the room. One was along the hallway wall. The other was along the right side wall of our room. One closet was on the left side of the room behind the door. The other closet was along the right wall against the outside wall of our room. Two desks were placed along the left wall between the closet and the outside wall. The room had a large window that looked out onto the grassy commons in the center of eight of the Pollock dorms. We had a small refrigerator and a microwave in the center of the room.
I looked at the two beds. Christian had already put some of his clothes in the closet nearest to the door. I pointed to the bed along the hallway wall and suggested, "Why don't you take that one. I'll take this bed." I pointed at the bed along the side wall.
"That's cool." Christian continued unpacking boxes. Mr. and Mrs. Hunsecker helped Christian.
"I need to put my car in the parking garage. I'll see you in a little while," I said. I took the parking pass back to Pollock Commons and then drove my VW up the road to the East Parking Deck. It took me eight minutes to walk the couple blocks back to my dorm. The campus map I had told me that this was going to be a relatively short walk compared to some walks I was going to take on campus.
Mr. and Mrs. Hunsecker were getting ready to leave when I got back to our room. Mr. Hunsecker said, "I'm so happy you are going to be Christian's roommate, Kyle."
Mrs. Hunsecker added, "Yes, I was concerned about what sort of person Christian was going to associate with. Your being an Eagle Scout makes me comfortable with my boy going out into the world."
"I think Christian and I will be a good match," I answered. "It will be nice to have a friend while I get used to college."
Mrs. Hunsecker hugged Christian. "I love you honey." She gave him a kiss on the cheek. Christian blushed.
"You boys behave yourselves," Mr. Hunsecker added. "Listen to what the coaches tell you to do. Study hard."
"Yes, sir," Christian replied.
"We'll do our best, Mr. Hunsecker," I added.
Christian and I filled the fifteen minutes until lunch time by continuing our unpacking. We headed out to meet Pete Klein at 11:55. Christian and I ran into more players by the elevator. Trevor Conwell introduced us to his roommate, Anthony Kennedy. Tony was a linebacker from Tea Neck, New York. He's a big African-American – maybe an inch shorter than me, but much heavier. It turned out that Damian Thompson was on our floor in room 409. He was rooming with Giancarlo "G. J." DeLuca. G. J. was short – 5'-10". He played cornerback. Shawn Byrd, the cornerback who visited Penn State last fall with Christian and me was rooming with Jason Nicholson.
I was surprised to see Jason here. I asked, "What are you here for? I thought only freshmen had to report today."
"Coach Burton insisted I come," Jason explained. "I'm considered a freshman even though I've been here for a semester." Jason had graduated from his high school in Norfolk, Virginia a semester early. He started classes and practiced with the team last winter.
Pete Klein led us downstairs and across the commons area (he called it the quad) to Pollock Commons Dining Hall. The eight of us followed Pete upstairs. He held his ID card up for the clerk at the door to scan. He handed a piece of paper to the clerk. "These are my charges for the day," he explained. The clerk waved us through.
Pete explained the dining hall operation as we went through the line. They had salads, sandwiches, wraps, pitas and hot entrées. We loaded up our trays and found an empty table. Pete filled lunchtime with a briefing about food services for us for the next few weeks. We would get our meals today and tomorrow before dinner here in this dining hall.
When the rest of the team reported we would eat at the Nittany Lions Training Table, another dining hall in the Pollock Commons. We would eat there until classes started in three weeks. After that we were expected to eat there for our dinners. Breakfast and lunch would be at the regular dining room. The team nutritionist wanted to be able to keep tabs on what we ate to keep us properly prepared for football.
Pete introduced us to Cooper Barnes when he came in leading another group of eight freshmen ball players. Cooper was the starting kicker for the team. He's a tall guy – maybe 6'-1" but skinny. Cooper's body proportions were unusual – he has extremely long legs for his height.
The last RA/team leader brought in six more freshmen a couple minutes later. Pete introduced him as Beaumont Cherry, the only Canadian on the team. Bo was a wide receiver like Christian and me. He was 6'-2" with pale skin and jet black hair. He talked with a slight French accent.
Pete, Bo and Coop took the group of twenty-two freshman across campus to the security office. We spent an hour there while security made up photo ID cards for each of us. They explained that these were our tickets to all university services – dining halls, library services, health care, access to the dorms, everything. We had to wear them on a lanyard around our necks so security could identify us as students at the university.
The three RA's led our group of 22 freshmen back across campus to the Lasch Football Center. We had a 3 o'clock briefing with the coaches. We ended up in the team auditorium. Coach Burton and two other coaches I didn't recognize walked in at exactly 2:55 pm.
Coach Burton started talking immediately. "Welcome to the Pennsylvania State University and the Nittany Lions Football team gentlemen. I am delighted to see all of you here. I've recruited over half of you, met with more and have spoken with all of you since you signed your letters of intent. You are joining the one of the top football teams in one of the most challenging conferences in the nation. Thanks to our winning the national championship last season, we will be the premier game on nearly every team's schedule this season. We have a big target on our backs, gentlemen and I am counting on all of you to help us defend our championship this season. I believe you are up to the task.
"I want to introduce our team coordinators. Almost all of you will be working with one of these two men. On my left is John Schroeder. His name is spelled with an 'OE' but is pronounced as a long 'A'. Coach Schroeder is the offensive coordinator. On my right is Larry Czarwinski, our defensive coordinator. He's usually known as Coach 'C'." Both coaches waved to us while Coach Burton continued talking.
He talked about our schedule for the rest of August. We would have two a day practices with position meetings, film study and learning the playbook to fill in the rest of our time six days a week. We would have Sundays to relax and recover from the week's exertions.
Coach Burton continued his introduction. "The next topic I want to address is personal conduct. Each of you represent the Nittany Lions, your 107 teammates, your coaches, the 85,000 students and faculty at this university and the 800,000 alumni of this university. That is a weighty responsibility. You will be under a magnifying glass for the next four years. Every action you take will reflect on the Lions and our fans.
"Each of you signed a letter of intent last winter. This document is a binding contract between you and the university. It includes a conduct detrimental to the team clause. You void this contract if your conduct harms the team's image or reputation. I expect every team member to conduct himself like the proverbial preacher's wife – totally proper and above board in every way. Improper conduct will bring you suspension from games, suspension for a season, loss of your scholarship or dismissal from the university. I do not expect that I will need to use those discipline measures.
"One important concern I have is drugs. All drugs you use – prescription drugs, over the counter drugs or illegal drugs – must be taken through the team's medical staff. They need to know everything you use. A seemingly harmless over the counter cold remedy could have a NCAA banned substance in it. You put your scholarship, career and your team at risk.
"All of you are eighteen or older. You may legally smoke cigarettes or cigars if you chose. The team does not ban this. I still strongly urge you not to smoke. This habit weakens your stamina. Your job on our team requires you to be in excellent physical condition. Why would you want to do something that will harm your ability to perform on the field? I don't know. You can go to the Ritnour Center if you are a smoker. They have help for students who wish to quit smoking.
"The next topic I want to discuss is alcohol. I know each of you well enough to know none of you is above the legal drinking age. I don't expect to hear about you gentlemen drinking, getting drunk or getting arrested for underage drinking. This would reflect badly on our program. This could be grounds for suspension or dismissal from the team. Does anyone have any questions about the alcohol policy?"
No one spoke up. Trevor, who was sitting beside me, elbowed me and whispered, "Didn't you and I go to a team party last spring where they happily let me drink as much beer as I wanted?"
"Yes. I remember. Did you notice how Coach said he didn't want to hear about it happening instead of he didn't want us drinking."
"Yeah. You're right."
"I'm going to talk with Zack Hayes tomorrow and get the scoop on what we can do," I answered. "I expected I'd be able to have a beer occasionally while I was here."
Coach Burton continued with his talk. "The next topic I want to talk about is sex." Coach was met with a lot of snickers and a few cat calls. A couple guys called out. "Yeah. That's what we want."
Coach Burton paused until the commotion died down a little. "I'm sure none of you would ever engage in pre-marital sex." Coach got some more snickers. "Seriously, you need to be very careful if you choose to engage in sex outside a committed relationship. When the rest of the freshmen class arrives in three weeks you will get a detailed talk about sexually transmitted diseases, sexual harassment and date rape. In the meantime I want each of you to exercise care if you engage in sexual relations. Make damn sure that she really wants to do this. No really does mean no.
"Please use protection if you must engage in this behavior. You can get condoms from the Ritnour Health Center if you don't have any. I recommend that you refrain from sex for the next few weeks. All of you are going to need to focus all your energy and attention on preparing for the coming football season. During the season I want you to refrain from sex the night before the game. Get a good night's sleep so you are ready for peak performance on game day."
I glanced over at Christian on my right. He was blushing. I leaned to him and whispered, "I guess Bev doesn't get any nookie on Friday nights."
Christian's face turned a deeper shade of pink. He whispered back, "No! Certainly not."
Coach Burton continued on. "The last topic I wanted to talk about this afternoon is the team playbook. Each of you will be issued one before you leave today. Study it. The sooner you learn the plays the sooner you have a chance to get on the field and contribute to the team. The playbook is property of the university. You must safe guard it at all times. You are responsible if anything happens to your playbook. God help you if you lose it. It is a confidential document and can't be shared with anyone outside the team.
"You gentlemen have free time this evening to finish getting settled in your rooms. Tomorrow you can relax while the remainder of the team moves in. We have a team dinner at the Training Table at 5:30 followed by a team meeting at 6:30 here. Does anyone have any questions?"
No one did. Coach Schroeder stood and called out, "Offensive players meet with me for your playbooks." Coach Czarwinski called the same thing out for the defensive players. Coach Burton called out, "Mitch, see me. I will get you your playbook." Mitch was easily the shortest guy in the room. He was African-American and couldn't have been more than 5'-10" or 5'-11". I thought to myself – kicker. He has got to be a kicker.
I waited my turn in the crowd of kids standing around Coach Schroeder. One by one he handed huge blue notebooks out to each of us. He recorded the number on the notebook on a sheet of paper as he issued each one to a player. I stepped forward when he called, "Martin." I took my playbook. It had to be 4 or 5 inches thick. It weighed at least twenty pounds.
How in God's name am I going to learn all these plays? Zack had warned me that I was going to work hard, but my God! Was it even possible to learn all of this? Christian seemed as shocked as me at his playbook.
It was after 4 in the afternoon. I followed the other freshmen as we lugged our playbooks back to our dorm. Jason was the only freshman who wasn't bothered by the playbook. That day his six month head start on college seemed like a pretty smart idea.
Christian and I went back to our room, sat back on our beds and started browsing through the playbook. Things were foreign to me from the first page. My high school team numbered the players along the line from left to right. When Drew McCormick ran between our left guard and the center he hit the "23" hole. Penn State numbered the gaps instead. At Penn State it was the 3 hole. Everything was different – the names of the plays, the line calls, the numbering scheme. The only thing that didn't change was the position names of the players; if you didn't include the "hero" who was called a strong safety elsewhere.
Christian asked, "Can you believe this, Kyle?"
"No. It's going to take forever to understand this thing."
Christian and I sat and began our studies. After the initial shock wore off I went to work understanding and memorizing the numbering scheme and nomenclature. I worked on it for about 45 minutes. I was getting hungry.
"Christian, are you ready for dinner?"
"Yes," he sighed. "I need a break from this." He dropped his playbook on his bed with a thud.
"I'll see if Damian, Jay and their roommates want to come too. Why don't you go across the hall and check in with Trevor?" I suggested.
"Sure thing," Christian answered.
I went down the hall two doors and knocked. "Damian, G. J ... Christian and I are going to dinner. Do you want to join us?"
"Sure," "Sounds good," came from their room.
I continued down to the end of the hall to Room 413. "Jay, Shawn – are you guys up for dinner? Some of us are heading over to the dining hall now. They assented enthusiastically. The five of us met Christian, Trevor and Tony at the elevator. I realized we forgot Pete. I knocked at his door. A bunch of us are going to dinner now. Do you want to join us?"
Pete cracked the door open. He was half dressed. He was in his stocking feet in a dress shirt and slacks. An untied tie hung from his neck, his collar turned up. "Sorry guys. Thanks for the invite. My girl and I have a dinner date this evening."
"Your girlfriend is here already? I didn't think students reported for three weeks."
"Brenda is here for summer semester," Pete explained. "I haven't seen her since June. We have a big night planned."
"I understand completely," I replied. "You two have fun tonight."
We took the elevator down to the ground floor and walked over to the dining hall. It was spaghetti night. We filled our trays and found an empty table. Our dinner conversation centered on our new playbook. Everyone was amazed at its size, except Jay. He assured us we would learn it soon enough if we worked on it. He said he was over half way through memorizing the book. The rest of us were shocked. Jay had been studying the playbook for six months. We got to know each other better over dinner. The other guys seemed like they would be good friends.
Some of the guys decided to take a walk around campus after dinner to get their bearings. Christian and I headed back to our room to finish unpacking. I was comfortably settled in by 7:30. I set up my laptop. The directions Pete gave us were easy. I was on-line in five minutes. I composed a quick e-mail to Penny and sent it off so she would know things were going well for me so far.
I went back to studying my playbook. Christian assembled his computer while I was reading. Christian struggled with it for half an hour. He finally asked, "Do you know anything about computers?"
"A little. I'm not the expert in my family, but I can try to help you. What's wrong?"
"I've tried to follow the directions, but I can't get logged onto the network," Christian explained. "It keeps giving me a 'network not found' error."
I went over the directions Pete gave us earlier in the day. I checked all the settings but couldn't find anything wrong. I spent about fifteen minutes and wasn't able to get it working.
"I guess I'll just wait until Monday and call for support people on campus," Christian said.
"No. I have a better idea. I can call tech support right now."
"It's Saturday night. They won't be working."
"Trust me. I can get us help with one phone call." I dialed home. Dad answered the phone. "Hey Dad, it's Kyle." I explained how I was doing and then asked him to put my sixteen year old brother Andy on. Andy talked Christian and me through the problem quickly. I had assumed that Christian's computer was set up to find an IP address automatically. It wasn't. Andy explained where to find the DHCP settings. I switched DHCP on so it would get an IP address from the router. It connected immediately.
I said, "Thanks for your help, Andy." Christian chimed in, "Thanks, Andy."
I added, "Kiss Connor and Noah for me and tell them their Uncle Kyle said good night." I hung up the phone.
Christian looked confused. "Uncle Kyle? Who are Connor and Noah?"
"Andy ... has boys?" Christian asked. "Isn't he uh ... younger than you?" He clearly was shocked at the thought of Andy being a father.
"I guess I never thought to tell you before. Andy got his girlfriend pregnant last summer. She gave birth to twins the night after my prom."
"I can't believe your brother actually laid with a girl," Christian said. "I guess he is paying the price now for fornicating." I thought it was an odd way of saying it, but I understood what he meant.
"Andy's paying dearly for his mistake," I said.
"I'm glad Bev and I don't have to worry about anything like that."
"I know. Penny and I are careful too. I know she isn't going to be getting pregnant anytime soon."
I went back to studying the playbook. Christian went on-line and sent his girlfriend Beverly Umble an e-mail describing his day. I was getting antsy from sitting too much that day. I felt a need to get back to my normal training routine. "I'm going to see if we can use the weight room at the Lasch Building. I haven't worked out in three days."
"That's cool. Do you think we're allowed to use it?" Christian asked.
"I'll go talk to Pete. I'm sure he'll know." I headed across the hall to Pete's door. I almost knocked when I heard a girl groan.
"Ooooohhh ... yesss..." she squealed. I chuckled to myself. Another one of Coach Burton's recommendations bit the dust.
I returned to the room. Christian asked, "What did Pete say?"
"I couldn't ask him," I explained. "He's entertaining his girlfriend."
"He couldn't be. Coach Burton said..." Christian was blushing again. My roommate certainly wasn't comfortable talking about sex. "He's really ... with a girl?"
"I hope it is a girl ... from the sounds they were making. If it was a guy..." Christian shuddered when I mentioned that. I added, "I'm sure he's with a girl."
Christian pondered this for a moment. He asked, "Maybe we could talk with Jay. He'll probably know if we can use the weight room."
"Good idea," I answered. We went down the hall and talked with Jay. He figured it would be OK. Shawn and Jay decided to come along with us. Jay took us over to the Lasch Building. I felt a little like a burglar. The building was nearly deserted. Jay took us to the darkened weight room and found the lights for us. Christian, Shawn and I decided to start with some curls. Jay went further down the room to one of the weight machines to work on his leg strength. We had only worked a few minutes when an older man dressed in a security uniform came in the room. He demanded, "You three – what are you doing in here? This equipment is for football team members only."
I offered, "I'm..."
Jay came across the room and said, "Joe ... Joe, it's OK."
"Oh ... Mr. Nicholson. These gentlemen are with you?"
"They are, Joe. This is Kyle Martin." I waved. "Christian Hunsecker." Christian stood and nodded to the guard. "Shawn Byrd – my new roommate." Shawn smiled and nodded his head to the guard.
"We've been studying the playbook for half the night," Jay explained. "We needed some physical activity."
"That's fine," Joe said. "You men make sure you turn out the lights when you are finished tonight." He turned and left the weight room.
"That's Joe Anders," Jay explained. "He is one of the night security guards. He's a good guy. When he gets to know you better he might share some of his wife's cookies with you. You want to be on Joe's good side."
Christian, Shawn and I worked the free weights for awhile. Jay eventually showed us how to use the weight machines. I could see immediately that they would give me a good work out. If only our high school team had equipment like this. Who knows how many state championships we could have won?
I suggested we go for a run when we were done in the weight room. The other guys agreed. Jay led us around his preferred route on campus. It felt like a couple miles. It wasn't up to my usual run, but it felt good.
I went straight over and showered when we got back to our room. Christian grabbed another shower stall in the bathroom a few minutes later. It had been a long day. I changed into a clean pair of boxers and lay down on my bed. I grabbed my MP3 player and turned on my tunes. Christian returned a couple minutes later.
Christian asked, "I'm going to read a little before bed. Is that OK, Kyle?"
I glanced at the clock. It was a quarter to ten. It had been a very long day since Penny woke me up at 6:30 in the morning. "Sure, that's fine."
Christian pulled his Bible off the bolster beside his bed. He flipped it open to somewhere in the New Testament and started to read. He closed the Bible after about fifteen minutes. Christian asked, "Did you happen to check when church services are tomorrow?"
"No," I answered. I really hadn't planned to go. I would have liked to sleep late in the morning and be a little bit of a heathen instead. I decided I'd be sociable and go after all. Christian looked through the student orientation papers we received in the morning.
"Catholic Mass is at 9 o'clock, Lutheran services are at 10 and general Protestant services are at 11. Which would you go to?"
"I'm Presbyterian – I guess the general Protestant service."
"Me too. I'm a Mennonite."
"Are you? I didn't know that," I answered. Christian nodded yes. "My Grandpa and Grandma Martin were raised as Mennonites. They chose not to join the church."
"I understand," Christian said. "That isn't unusual." He reached up and flicked off the light switch beside his bed. "Good night, Kyle."
I thought about everything that had happened to me that day. I woke up in the morning cuddled against my girlfriend. Now I was 120 miles away from home sleeping in a strange bed. My comfortable life as a boy was over. It was time to grow up. I fell asleep listening to my music. Fortunately my MP3 player had sleep mode.
I woke with a start to the sound of an alarm clock buzzing. I stared at my clock with bleary eyes. It said 7:01! I rolled back over and tried to ignore Christian. He tried to be quiet but it didn't help. I heard every little noise he made and it annoyed the hell out of me. He finally went across the hall to the bathroom. I couldn't fall back to sleep even with silence. My body was still on summer camp time. I should be up and over at the pool life guarding by now.
I tossed and turned for fifteen minutes while Christian was out of the room. He came back, turned on his desk light and read quietly. I tried for almost an hour to fall asleep again. I just couldn't. I gave up and climbed out of bed.
Christian greeted me with a cheery "Good morning, Kyle."
"Mmmmph ... Yeah," I grunted in response. I'm definitely not a morning person. I gathered up my shower things and went down the hall to the bathroom. I took my shower and did my other morning duties. Christian had the curtain open on our big window and had the lights on when I returned. I dressed.
When I had my clothes on Christian asked, "You ready for breakfast?"
"Do you think we should see if the other guys want to join us?"
"No. Sunday morning is quiet time," I suggested. "We should just go. They'll be all right without us."
Christian and I found the dining hall was nearly deserted. There were eight kids in the whole room. We went through the line and got eggs, bacon, home fries and fruit. Christian spotted G. J. DeLuca sitting by himself. We joined him.
"Good morning," Christian said.
"Good morning, G. J.," I added.
"Hi, guys," he answered. "Can you believe my sleepy head roommate is still in bed?"
I replied, "Imagine that." I thought Damian showed very good judgment, but I kept that thought to myself. We sat down and started our breakfast. We talked a little with G. J., comparing notes about each other's backgrounds. G. J. was from Pittsburgh. He played cornerback. He finished his breakfast before Christian and I were done.
"Please excuse me, guys," G. J. explained. "I have to get going. Mass is in fifteen minutes."
Christian said, "See you later." Christian and I finished breakfast. Christian headed back to our room. I wandered around Pollock Commons looking for a place to get a newspaper. I found a box with the Philadelphia Inquirer. I picked up a copy and headed back to the room. I spent the morning reading the paper while I waited for the church service.
Christian and I needed the campus map to find the Chapel. We waited outside a few minutes until the Lutherans were done with their service. I noticed it was named the Eisenhower Chapel, in honor of past university president Milton Eisenhower. He was General and later President Eisenhower's younger brother. The chapel was half full for the service. The minister, Pastor Maxwell, had a good sermon. I was kind of glad Christian dragged me to the service by the time we sang the final hymn.
We headed back to our room, changed into shorts and T-shirts and went searching for any of the other football players on our floor. All of them were gone. We decided to head to over to Pollock for lunch.
We bumped into Tyler Madden moving his things in when we went for the elevator. I remembered him from Zack's party last spring. I had talked with him a little bit then. Tyler greeted us politely and excused himself. He had to hurry up and get his car unloaded before the security patrol ticketed his car for parking too long in the lot beside Mifflin Hall.
We caught up with our new friends after we went through the brunch line. Christian and I joined them at their table. Most of us headed back to our rooms when we finished lunch. About the only thing we had to do was study our playbooks. I studied for a couple hours and then went over to the Lasch Building for my daily workout.
I bumped into Aaron Morano and Jacob Washington at the weight room. Aaron greeted me warmly. He told me Zack wasn't here yet. He had been delayed on Sunday morning. I left my phone number with Aaron and told him to have Zack give me a call when he got to campus. I went running when I finished lifting. I grabbed a shower and dressed up a little for our team dinner.
Pete took all of us from our floor over together to the Training Table dining room in Pollock for dinner. We went through the line for our food and found a table. We eight freshmen from 4th floor Hartranft sat together. Pete Klein split to sit with his friends.
My new friends and I gawked around the room, spotting some of the team's stars. Football players continued pouring into the room. The coaches sat at a table at one end of the dining room.
Zack Hayes, Aaron Morano, Evan Foster and Jacob Washington came in. Zack waved to me as he waited in line for his dinner. The four roommates stopped by my table when they had their food.
Zack said, "It's good to see you here, Kyle. Are you ready for some football?"
"I guess, Zack. We'll see soon."
"You'll do well, Kyle," Zack said. "Work hard. Study your playbook. Remember what I told you about attitude."
"I'm just here to learn and help any way I can," I answered, quoting Zack's advice to me every time we talked about me coming to Penn State.
"Good," Zack said. "We can get together tonight after things are done."
"Sounds good, Zack," I answered. Zack, Aaron and their friends headed off for another table.
"He's the starting quarterback on our team," G. J. DeLuca asked. "Why'd he come to talk with you?"
I explained to G. J. and Tony about how Zack had recruited me to play high school football four years ago, had coached me, drilled me and helped me learn to play. He had recruited me for the past two years to follow him to Penn State. The rest of the guys at our table already knew about my friendship with Zack.
When I finished explaining our relationship, Tony commented, "You're lucky, Kyle. I'd love to have someone like him to help me prepare for this."
"I know," I answered. "I've been blessed with a great friend. I owe my scholarship to Zack."
We went back to our dinner. I took my tray over to the clean up staff when I finished and sat back down with my friends. All of us were going over to the auditorium in the Lasch Building when we were done with dinner.
I looked over the room. I was amazed at the number of players on our team. I knew in my head that we had 108 players. I was still shocked to see this many people in one place and all members of the same football team. Would I ever make way to the top of the depth chart and actually play?
These guys were bigger than I expected. Back home I was the tallest guy on our team. Even though I was a wide receiver, by the time I was a senior most of the players on the team were lighter than me. I'm 6'-4 ½" inches, but I'm still probably only average in height in this group. Two thirds of the team members outweighed me. This was going to be a lot tougher than I realized before.
One other thing was going to be very different about this experience. I grew up in the center of Lancaster County. The area was settled by German farmers 250-300 years ago. We had six families of African-Americans in our school. Two of my high school teammates were African-American. My parents always taught me to be understanding of the differences between people. I liked to believe I wasn't bigoted, but how would I know if I was? I had so little experience dealing with them. The team was roughly 50% African-American. I was going to find out if I was as tolerant of others as I thought I was.
Antwaan Booker and Aaron Morano interrupted my daydreaming. They got the group's attention and asked for silence. "We have some scrubs in our presence," Antwaan announced. "They think they deserve to wear the Blue and White."
Aaron continued, "I think they need to earn the right. What do the rest of you think?" Everyone cheered and called out their approval, except us freshmen. We knew who they were talking about. Aaron and Antwaan headed straight for my table.
Aaron looked at me and demanded, "Who is Beaver Stadium named for?"
I was in luck, I knew this one. "Colonel James Beaver, commander of the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Civil War." Aaron smiled at me.
Antwaan tapped Christian on the shoulder. "Who is Pattee Library named for?"
Christian stammered, "Uh ... um ... Mr. Pattee?"
Antwaan demanded, "Anybody?" No one at our table knew. "These scrubs don't have a clue. Who was the Pattee Library named for Aaron?"
"Long time Professor of American Literature Fred Lewis Pattee."
Antwaan said, "Right you are. What is Professor Pattee's other claim to fame Aaron?"
"He wrote the Pennsylvania State University's Alma Mater."
Antwaan grinned. "It's a lovely song. Wouldn't you guys like to hear it?" The crowd in the dining hall cheered. "Scrubs, get up front. I want to hear the alma mater."
The freshmen headed to the front of the room. We glanced around and stared at each other. We whispered to each other, "You know it?" No one did.
Aaron spotted Jay still sitting at our table laughing at us. "NICHOLSON! You're a freshman too. Get up there with the other scrubs. I want hear the song. NOW!"
Jay hurried up and joined our group. He stood out front and said, "Follow along with me guys." He sang weakly and probably out of tune.
"I do not know the words
to this song. I have no
idea what they are.
Something, something, something..."
The rest of us tried to follow his lead. Our teammates cracked up. Antwaan stepped forward and demanded. "What the hell was that?"
"It's the only words I learned," Jay explained.
"That was dreadful," Aaron said. "Before you guys even think of touching a Nittany Lion uniform you better learn this. No dinner until you learn the alma mater. Is that clear?"
All of us agreed quickly. We slinked back to our seats to the laughter of our older teammates. Coach Burton stepped to the front and announced. "Clear the tables gentlemen. We had our entertainment for this evening. Head over to the auditorium. The team meeting starts in ten minutes."
The dining room cleared rapidly. I followed the crowd heading down Hastings Road to the Lasch Building. We filed into the team auditorium and found seats. The coaches took seats along the front wall of the room. Coach Burton stepped to the lectern in the center of the room and motioned for quiet. Coach Burton nodded and Coach Schroeder turned down the lights.
The projector showed a clip of Phil DiStefano tossing a touchdown pass to Glenn Walker. The lights came back up when the clip was done.
Coach Burton said, "Gentlemen, that was fun last winter wasn't it?" The older team members cheered the pictures from their victory over Kentucky last January to win the national championship. "Look around the room. Seventeen seniors graduated or moved on. Three juniors and two sophomores have left. We added twenty-two freshmen. We have a new head coach, a new offensive coordinator and a new defensive coordinator.
"Last year's team was the national champions. We aren't that team anymore. We haven't won any games. What is worse, that team has made our work dramatically harder. Every team that we play has looked at the schedule and circled the day we play them in red. They will be up for a game against us. This is their chance to redeem themselves by beating on the national champions.
"We are going to have to work twice as hard just to have a chance to match last year's record. I believe we have the ingredients here to be an excellent team again this year but we have a huge amount of work to do in the next month to be ready. I look forward to working with each of you to make this team the best around.
"I'm sure most of you are wondering if I am ready to take Coach Paterno's place. Coach Paterno has promised to help me as I need it. Coach Paterno also promised to stop in and yell at a few of you just for old time's sake. Coach Paterno will also continue to be associated with our team. He has agreed to oversee the academic support staff for our team. You guys know what that means. He is going to be on your cases until you have the best grades in the Big Ten. Remember as student-athletes you are students first and athletes second.
"I want all of you to remember that you have responsibilities to the football team – study, preparations, practices, and conditioning. All of you need to balance your academic work with your athletics."
The lights dimmed again. A clip of Aaron Morano intercepting a Kentucky pass in the championship game flashed up on the screen. It was followed by a clip of Cuch, (Dominic Cuchiella, who played Hero for the team) intercepting a wayward pass in the same game. The final clip was of Zack throwing the touchdown last season against USC. The lights came back up.
Coach Burton said, "I believe we have the ingredients here to be a very good team. It's going to take hard work, dedication and study to turn us into that team." The team cheered our coach's speech.
This sounded like the end of the meeting. Hah! Coach Burton continued on discussing the team's policies on drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and personal conduct. Coach Burton also reminded us that we were subject to random drug tests at any time in the school year. He reviewed our schedule for the next three weeks. He discussed our playbooks, the study time he expected and described all the mental preparations we would need to be members of this team. The meeting seemed to drag on forever. It was after 9 o'clock when he finally finished.
The team filed out of the auditorium and headed back to our dorms after that. Christian and I headed back down Hastings Road towards our dorm behind Zack and Aaron. They noticed us following them as they turned the corner at Hastings, Bigler and McKean Roads. Zack asked, "Hey, we're having a few friends over to hang out this evening. You guys want stop by?"
"Sure, Zack. That sounds cool," I replied.
Zack asked, "Christian?"
"No thanks. I'll pass," Christian answered. "I want to get a good night's sleep before tomorrow."
"I'll see you later, Christian." He headed back to our dorm. I followed Aaron and Zack along McKean Road past Nittany Hall to the second group of two story apartments. We headed up the walk to the front door of #7. I followed my friends inside. Zack and Aaron had a four person townhouse apartment this year. Evan Foster was already there with a couple players I hadn't met yet.
Evan introduced me to Colin O'Shea and Anders Voight. Colin was a sophomore from York, Pa. who played quarterback. Anders was a wide receiver like me. He was a junior. We found seats in the living room. Aaron grabbed some beers from the kitchen and asked, "Anyone thirsty?"
We all took one. Jacob Washington and Antwaan Booker came in as we got settled. Aaron produced a couple more beers. Antwaan stared at the big pile of boxes by the stairs. "What the hell is this, Hayes?"
"My stuff," Zack explained. "I didn't have much time to move in this afternoon."
"What in the heck were you doing?" Aaron asked. He turned to us. "This guy showed up twenty minutes before dinner tonight. What were you doing all day, Zack?"
"Uh ... actually it was what I was doing all night," Zack chuckled. "I had a date with an old friend from high school."
Aaron grinned, "How does a date last night translate to you showing up here at 5:10 in the afternoon?"
"Well, Jessie and I did a little more than go out last night. We did dinner and a movie. It was fun. She told me after the movie that her parents were away for the weekend. She used to be a cheer leader. She's still a knock out. You guys know how it is. I ended up spending the night with her."
I asked, "Jessie? A cheerleader? Are you talking about Jessie Hamilton?"
"Yeah. That's right," Zack answered. "You know her too?"
"Know her? Hell she almost got my virginity when I was a freshman."
Colin seemed interested in the course of our conversation. He asked, "Almost?"
"I didn't have a condom," I explained. "She settled for teaching me about cunnilingus. The two of us managed to get together later. She is one hot babe."
Zack continued his story. "Jessie is insatiable. She boffed my brains out last night. We didn't get to sleep until 2 am. She wanted me again this morning – twice. I didn't get home until 11:30."
Aaron asked, "Why did it take you five and a half hours to get here?"
"I hadn't packed yesterday. I needed to do that before I came up here."
"You're something else, you know that?" Aaron asked. "When are you going to stop bedding girls and settle down with a serious relationship?"
"I can't afford the time now," Zack explained. "I've got to get ready to be the starting QB. I don't have time for a relationship."
I laughed. "You haven't changed at all in the past four years Zack. Then you couldn't make time for a girlfriend because you wanted to play well enough to get in a good college. Now you don't have time for a girlfriend because you need to get ready to start. What will it be next year? I don't have time, I want to get ready for a career in the NFL. Then what? Prepare to be a starter?"
"Listen to your young friend," Aaron said. "He's got the right idea. Life is the journey. It isn't a destination. You need to share your life with someone."
"Yeah – right," Zack teased. "You've been stuck with the same girl since we were freshmen."
"Not stuck," Aaron replied. "We love each other."
"I suppose you two are going to tie the knot someday."
Aaron smiled. "We may do that. We've talked about it."
Zack answered, "You have your way. I have mine."
The conversation turned to football. The guys talked about the championship season and then they started telling JoePa stories. Zack brought more beers around for all of us. They talked about the times they got chewed out by Coach Paterno for one screw-up or another.
After Zack told a story about Coach Paterno chewing him out after one interception I asked, "This sounds so weird. It doesn't sound like the Coach Paterno that I've met. He seems like such a nice guy."
Everyone else laughed at my comment. "You aren't a recruit anymore," Antwaan explained. "The coaches don't need to be nice. You're signed. Expect them to chew your ass off if you make a mistake, even a little one." The rest of the group nodded and confirmed Antwaan's observation.
All the guys told stories of Coach Paterno chewing them out at various times. Zack told about his experiences his first year, using his faux-JoePa voice. "Hayes, what the hell was that?" "Hayes, you're killing me!" "Hayes, that's the dumbest thing I've ever seen!" "Hayes, you throw the ball to the guys with the blue shirts!"
Aaron confirmed, "The accent's off but it was like that our first year."
"Joe's a demanding SOB, but that's a good thing," Zack added. "He pushed us to be the best."
Colin asked, 'Do you think Coach Burton can do that for us?"
"I hope so," Zack said. "Coach Burton has always been the nice guy who came in to smooth things over after Coach Paterno chewed your ass off. I hope he can be a hard-nosed SOB too."
We all agreed that we would need that this season. It was nearly eleven. Our little party broke up. I headed back to my dorm room.
The room was dark and Christian was sleeping already. I stripped down and was ready to climb into bed when I remembered. I hadn't written Penny that day. I turned on my desk light and fired up my laptop. I read through Penny's e-mail to me. I started writing her.
Christian snapped at me. "Go to bed, Kyle. I need to sleep."
"Sorry. I need to write Penny today. I promised her I'd write every day. I'll be quick." Christian grumbled but didn't say anything else. I wrote my lover a quick note about my day and how much I missed her. I turned everything off and climbed in bed.
Bzzzt ... Bzzzt ... I glanced up at my cock. It was 6:45 in the morning! I groaned. Christian reached up and turned his alarm off. "Jesus! Why so early? We don't have practice until 9:00 am." I grumbled.
"I need time to learn the alma mater. I don't think we'll have any free time after practice gets done and before dinner." Christian answered. He paused for a second and added, "Please don't take the Lord's name in vain."
"Sorry," I answered. I wasn't used to censoring my language around guys my age. Christian headed over to the bathroom.
I tried to go back to sleep. Not too successfully. Christian came back fifteen minutes later. He tried to be quiet, but every sound he made annoyed me. He dressed and then fired up his computer. It took Christian about ten minutes to find what he was looking for. Christian's computer quietly played it.
I listened to Christian play it three times. We could learn this song before dinner. I gave up on sleeping anymore and got up. I went over to Christian's desk and leaned over his shoulder.
"I'm printing out the words for everyone," Christian said. "I don't know how we're going to learn the tune though."
"How did you get it to play the song before?"
"I clicked here," Christian answered. I took the mouse and hovered over the link. I saw it was a WAV file.
"We can download it to my MP3 player and pass it around today so the other guys can learn it too," I suggested. I dressed and then downloaded the file to my player.
We were ready to leave our room for breakfast when Christian nudged my dirty clothes from yesterday. I had left them on the floor by my bed last night. "You going to leave these here?" he asked.
"Oh, sorry." I gathered them up and threw them in my laundry bag in my closet. Christian and I headed over to the Training Table dining hall for breakfast. The place was nearly deserted. We grabbed breakfast and sat down with G. J. DeLuca. Team members straggled in one or two at a time. By the time we finished eating most of the players arrived. I stopped by Pete Klein's table on the way out.
"Hey, Pete, are we supposed to have Penn State shirts and shorts today? I don't have any," I asked.
"Relax, Kyle. Wear whatever you have. The equipment people will be issuing you everything you need this morning. Make sure you are at the practice field BEFORE nine."
"Got it, Pete," I said. I joined Christian and G. J ... They had been passing copies of the alma mater out to the other freshmen. Shawn Byrd, Elijah Berks and Mitchell Jackson already had found the song on-line too. Elijah was an offensive tackle from New Oxford, Pa. Mitch was a punter from Rochester, Pa. They had memorized it already.
Christian, G. J. and I headed back to our dorm rooms to get ready for practice. I loaded my playbook, a water bottle, and my MP3 player in my daypack. We got to the practice fields beside Lasch and Holuba about ten minutes before nine o'clock. Christian and I were pleased to see that almost all of the older players brought their playbooks too. A few of the freshmen left them back in their rooms.
One practice field ran east-west from Lasch towards University Drive. The other two fields ran north-south from the first field towards Holuba Hall. The fields were in excellent condition. It was going to be a pleasure to practice here.
The older players all dressed in Penn State shorts and shorts. The clothes looked pretty beat. They definitely were left over from last year. The freshmen wore an odd assortment of shirts and shorts. Mine and Christian's were scout trip T-shirts. A lot of the other guys wore things from their high school football teams.
The old shirts on the upper classmen also revealed things about their owners last year. More than a few of their owners had bulked up in the past year. The most noticeable was Tyler Madden. During my official visit last fall Coach Paterno had teased Tyler when we were in the chow line behind him that he needed to eat more so he was ready to tackle the Ohio State running backs.
Tyler's shirt was stretched tight over his well-developed muscles. He wasn't going to have any problem tackling a running back this year. I needed to make sure I didn't give him a good target on the field when we practiced. I didn't want him to get a clean shot at me. He looked like he would hit like a Mack truck when he tackled you.
The coaching staff appeared out of Lasch Football Center five minutes before nine, Coach Burton in the lead. The players waited expectantly for directions. Coach Burton glanced at his watch. At exactly two minutes before nine o'clock he whistled and called all the players together.
Coach Burton had just started his welcoming pep talk when he spotted two players hustle out the side door of the Lasch Building and hurry for the huddle of players. Coach glanced at his watch and yelled, "Zizka! Rosen! What time do your watches say?"
The bigger of the two guys was probably 6'-2", 240 pounds. He looked like a linebacker. "Sorry coach. Max and I thought we were meeting in the auditorium this morning."
Coach Burton continued staring at the two offenders. "What time is it?"
"Two minutes after nine," Ziska replied.
"What does that mean?"
"Laps?" Ziska asked. Coach Burton nodded yes.
Rosen said, "Let's go, Karol." The two guys started their laps around the three fields.
I nudged Zack and whispered, "It doesn't seem like Coach Burton is going to be too easy going."
"We'll see. The Hungarian Twins pull this shit all the time," Zack whispered back just as Coach Burton started on his pep talk again.
"What?" I asked.
"I'll explain when we take a break later," Zack answered. We turned our attention to Coach Burton. The Hungarian Twins had finished their ten laps as Coach Burton finished talking. He had the team line up. We did some stretching exercises followed by calisthenics to warm up.
We spent about forty-five minutes warming up. The coach broke the team up into five groups and sent us around the complex for equipment pickup, 40 yard run, 1 mile run, weigh-in & measurements and conditioning evaluation. This part of the morning was similar to what we did back at high school.
I ended up in a group with Zack Hayes and Trevor Conwell. Our group was doing the conditioning tests first. Zack explained about the Hungarian Twins comment from earlier in the morning. Maximilian "Max" Rosen was born in Hungary. His parents immigrated to the United States soon after he was born after the Iron Curtain collapsed. He was a sophomore and a wide receiver like me. Karol Zizka's grandparents fled Hungary during the revolt in 1956. His grandparents and parents were very traditional. They indoctrinated Karol in his heritage. Max and Karol hit it off last year as soon as they met. Karol was a year ahead of Max – he was a junior.
Pete Klein was leading our group. He introduced us to Paul Collins, the Conditioning Coordinator for our team. He and his staff were there to help us get in physical condition to play Big Ten football. He tested each of us for strength, agility and flexibility. Mr. Collins spoke with each player briefly, except for the freshmen in our group. He took about five minutes with each of us.
Mr. Collins had me describe the exercise program I had been following in the past. He didn't tell me it was a bad program, but I could tell from his face that my training was going to change significantly. He told me we would get together later in the week to work on my training program.
Pete took our group to the locker room next. Pete introduced us to Larry Fitzgerald, the equipment manager for the team. Mr. Fitzgerald was older, probably approaching sixty. He was average height, bald with an unruly ring of white hair around his head. He took a look at us, grinned and asked, "What'd you bring me, Pete?"
"More fodder for the Big Ten." Pete answered.
Most of the guys grinned and called out "Hey, Larry." "How's it going, Larry?" "Good to see you, Larry."
Mr. Fitzgerald issued T-shirts, shorts, jock straps, a cup, socks and towels to each of us. He told us, "You gentlemen, look around the locker room and find your locker. You can put your gear there. Freshmen, come see me. I need to get you a uniform number."
I looked around the room, finally finding my locker half way down the long wall. A taped sign said, "Kyle Martin WR". I piled my things there and headed back to talk with Mr. Fitzgerald.
"What's your name son?" he asked with a smile when I reached him.
He scanned a list. "Wide Receiver. What number did you have in high school? Do you want it again?"
"Number 87 and yes, I'd love to have it again, Mr. Fitzgerald."
"Call me, Larry," he commented. "May I call you, Kyle?"
"Sure, Mr. uh ... Larry," I answered.
"I'm sorry, Kyle. Derek Whitaker already has that number. Any other choices?"
I thought about Greg Harrison, my high school teammate killed sixteen months earlier by a drunk driver. Greg had a scholarship offer for Boston College but had died before he could use it. I decided it would be an appropriate way to honor my friend by wearing his number in college. "How about 82?"
"I'm sorry, Kyle," Larry explained. "One of the other freshmen took that number a couple minutes ago."
"Oh ... Who?"
"Christian Hunsecker. Maybe you could talk to him and work something out. Do you know him?"
"Christian is my roommate. I forgot he wore 82 in high school. Is 85 available?"
"Yes it is, Kyle. Shall I put you down as Number 85?" Larry asked.
"That will be fine," I answered.
"You know Derek is a senior. You could probably get Number 87 in the spring after he leaves the team."
"Thanks, Larry. That would be great."
Pete took our group outside. We ended up with Coach Burton, Coach Schroeder and Coach "C". They were timing each player on the 40 yard dash. We hung out 40 yards downfield of the coaches, waiting for our turn. I loosened up and tried to stay relaxed. I meditated a little like Coach Powell, my high school track coach, taught me.
Finally it was my turn. I got set as Coach Schroeder yelled, "On your mark ... Get set..." I crouched, visualizing myself sprinting down the field. "GO!" I exploded forward, leaning my whole body forward. My legs kicked hard as I pumped my arms, elbows swinging high. I increased my stride as I reached full speed ten yards down the field. I continued driving myself forward, arms pumping. I pushed myself harder, striving to show my coaches that they recruited the right guy. I pushed hard past the forty yard line and slowed to a walk.
I turned and looked back at the coaches. The three of them were huddled together staring at their stop watches. All three of them had big smiles. I had done well. I walked back to the cluster and asked, "How was my time?"
Coach Burton looked up at me and smiled. "It was a good time. Have you ever done 4.30 before?"
I stared at Coach Burton. "4.30 seconds? No – I've never run that fast."
"This time is almost a tenth of a second faster than what you showed us last fall. Can you explain it?"
"The only thing I can think of is the help my high school track coach gave me last spring," I explained. "He worked with me to help me increase my explosiveness at the start."
"Whatever it was, it certainly worked for you."
"Did anyone run faster than me?"
"Not yet," Coach Burton answered. "I haven't timed Aaron Morano or Leslie Jones yet. They usually post the best times on the team."
I waited with the rest of our group while they finished their 40 yards runs. Pete took us to the one mile run after that. My time was average for the distance run – 4:51. Most of the juniors and seniors in our group beat my time. I thought I had trained hard in the past. I guess I'll be working harder now that I'm in college.
Pete took us back inside for the final two stations. I matched my 43 inch vertical leap from last year. No one in our group was close to my mark. The final station was weigh-in and measurements. I was still 6'-4 ½" tall and weighed 196 pounds.
The team went back to the Training Table for lunch when everyone was done with the stations. Jay, Christian and I gathered all the freshmen together to review and practice the alma mater so we would be ready for dinnertime.
All offensive players met with Coach Schroeder and his assistants after lunch to begin reviewing the playbook and preparing for our first game. It was only 26 days away. The team went back outside later in the afternoon for 90 minutes of agility and conditioning drills.
I pulled out my MP3 player during one of the water breaks during the afternoon practice to let the other guys listen to the recording we had of the Penn State Glee Club singing the alma mater. I was sharing one of my ear buds with Brendan Hayden, a linebacker from Mechanicsburg, Pa. when the two of us drew unwanted attention.
Coach Burton spotted us. "MARTIN! HAYDEN! Are our practices too boring for you two? Do you need some music to occupy your attention?"
Brendan returned the ear bud instantly. I was left standing there holding my MP3 player. "No sir," I explained. "The practices are fine. We were getting ready for dinner. I have a recording of the alma mater on here. We were learning it."
"I'll accept that answer today," Coach Burton explained. "I normally do not tolerate electronics on the practice field."
"Sorry. I won't let it happen again." I put my player back in my daypack.
Coach Burton didn't seem too upset when he realized what we were doing but I didn't want to do anything to get on his bad side. Coach Burton was going to get 110% of my attention from here on out.
The drills were over around 4:00 pm. Christian and I headed back to our dorm room for showers before dinner. I hadn't thought to bring shampoo and soap this morning to get a shower at the locker room. I was going to need to remember that for tomorrow.
The team dinner was scheduled for 6:00 pm. I used my spare time before dinner to send Penny an e-mail. Christian, Jay, Damian, G. J., Trevor, Shawn, Tony and I got together in Jay and Shawn's room at a quarter to six and practiced singing. We didn't sound like the glee club, but we at least had the words down and sort of had the tune (to my tone-deaf ears).
The eight of us headed over to the Training Table together. No one paid much attention to us when we went in the dining room. We joined the line and hoped the rest of the team had forgotten about our assignment. We made it to the head of the line before we were caught.
Antwaan Booker spotted us. "Hold on, scrubby freshmen. I don't think you're having dinner tonight. I haven't heard any singing."
"We're ready," I said. "When do you want to hear us?"
"Now!" Antwaan insisted. "Right here! Right now!"
Jay and I waved the rest of the freshmen to come forward to join our group. We lined up. Jay started us off. We sang:
"For the glory of old State,
For her founders strong and great,
For the future that we wait,
Raise the song, raise the song.
Sing our love and loyalty,
Sing our hopes that, bright and free,
Rest, O Mother dear, with thee,
All with thee, all with thee."
We were a little out of tune but we had the words down pat. I was proud of how well we were doing. I called out, "Feel free to join us in the second verse if you want." We sang on without assistance from our older teammates.
"When we stood at childhood's gate,
Shapeless in the hands of fate,
Thou didst mold us, dear old State,
Dear old State, dear old State.
May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State."
A few team members applauded. Most simply looked at us. Antwaan said, "I guess you earned dinner tonight." He motioned for us to return to the line. "Go on." We picked up our dinner and found seats.
Zack Hayes stopped by my table when he got his food. He asked, "What was the crack about feel free to join in the second verse? Stop showing off. Remember what I told you about attitude. Got it?"
"Sorry, Zack. I'll do better."
The rest of dinner went without incident. Coach Burton made one announcement when dinner was over. "I know that a lot of you want to know who our fastest player is. We have a tie this year between Leslie Jones and Kyle Martin. Both ran the 40 in 4.30 seconds. Third place went to Aaron Morano with a time of 4.32 seconds." Zack grinned at me and gave me a thumbs-up.
The whole team headed back to the Lasch Building for position meetings in the evening. I finally got to meet all the wide receivers on the team. Beaumont (Bo) Cherry and Derek Whitaker were set at the top of the depth chart. Both were seniors. Bo had started last year beside Glenn Tucker. Derek was taking Glenn's place. Anders Voight, a junior, was the #3 receiver and would go in the slot when he was needed.
The remaining receivers on the team were Hassan Jackson, the only other junior; Aidan Nagy, Max Rosen, Alex Majerowicz – all sophomores; and Christian, myself and Tanner Riggs, the freshmen. I was surprised to see that I was the tallest and heaviest of the ten receivers on our team. We met with Coach Paul Adams, our receivers coach. He went over expectations he had for us. Our meeting broke up around 8:30.
Christian and I headed back to our room. We studied our playbooks for awhile. Both of us checked our e-mail. Penny had written back after dinner. She was totally psyched today. Dr. Chu had let her help with a surgery at the veterinary clinic today. She worked there part time. My girlfriend planned to become a veterinarian. She was starting classes at the University of Pennsylvania in four weeks.
Christian sent off an e-mail to Bev describing his day. Both of us had enough of studying our playbooks by 9:30. I grabbed my MP3 player and my book and laid down in my bed to read and listen to tunes. Christian read his Bible at his desk. Christian read for about fifteen minutes. He laid down on his bed and asked, "Are you ready to sleep yet? It's been a long day."
I had gotten to a good spot in my book. I wanted to read more. "Give me a couple minutes, OK?"
I read a couple more pages. I put my book on the bolster beside my bed. "Good night, Christian."
Christian reached up and turned off the light immediately. "Good night, Kyle." I listened to music for another half hour before I tried to go to sleep. Christian was snoring quietly when I put my MP3 player aside to sleep.
The noise of Christian puttering around our room woke me up. I glanced at my clock. It was a quarter to seven! I rolled over and tried to sleep some more. We didn't have to be at practice until 9 o'clock. Christian went over to shower after about fifteen minutes. I couldn't sleep.
My mind wandered back to Friday night when Penny shared her bed with me before I left for college. My cock swelled. I rolled on my back and stroked my cock, remembering the feeling of sliding it into my lover's warm, moist pussy. I savored the feelings as I slowly brought myself to arousal. I stroked faster. My balls tightened. Almost there ... a little more...
The door opened and Christian came back in. SHIT! I quickly pulled my hand out of my boxers and rolled on my side facing the bolster. Christian innocently asked, "You going to stay in bed all day, Kyle?"
"A few more minutes." I answered. I willed my cock to deflate. I tried to go over some football plays to take my mind off my arousal. I needed five minutes to get my cock soft enough so it wouldn't look obscene when I got out of bed. I grabbed my shower stuff and headed for the bathroom. I hoped for privacy there to finish what I started. Unfortunately Jay, Max Rosen, Tyler Madden and Trevor were also taking showers when I got there. No relief for my poor balls that day.
Christian and I headed over for breakfast together. We ended up sitting with Damian, Shawn and G. J. I went back to my room, loaded my playbook and shower stuff in my daypack and headed over to the locker room in the Lasch Building. A dozen other guys were in the locker room when I got there.
I found a note taped to the shelf in my locker. It said I had an appointment with Mr. Collins at 2:45 pm on Wednesday to discuss my conditioning program. I noticed everyone had similar notes taped to their lockers. I changed into my new Penn State gear. I hung out in the locker room until ten of nine and then went out on the field to wait for the coaches to start practice.
The second day went a lot like the first. We spent 90 minutes in the morning and 90 minutes in the afternoon doing conditioning and agility drills. The coaches filled the other times in with offensive team meetings, position meetings and film study. The other freshmen and I filled in our so-called free time by studying the massive playbook.
After the last meeting for the day, around 8:30 pm, I asked Zack Hayes, "Do you want to hang out a little tonight?"
"Hang out? You don't have time to hang out. I know you haven't memorized the whole playbook yet. You need to study. Hell, I need to study. Coach Schroeder drew up a few new plays he wants me to be ready to try next week."
"OK, Zack. I'll see you in the morning." I headed back to my dorm room and another night of learning the football system.
I made sure I sent off an e-mail to my girlfriend. Two years earlier I had lost my previous girlfriend by neglecting her after she moved to Nebraska. I loved my current girlfriend too much to let that happen now that we were separated by college. I promised to e-mail her every day.
Christian wanted to go to bed too early to suit me. I didn't complain. It probably was best while we were in training for football to get some extra sleep.
Wednesday morning Christian woke me up too early as usual. I managed to fall asleep again while he was gone for his morning shower. I woke up again when Christian came back from the bathroom. I had a wicked boner that morning. I needed relief soon. I went for a shower when it subsided somewhat. Three other guys were in the bathroom so my jerk off session was going to have to wait a little longer.
Morning practice started off with the usual conditioning drills. The coaches added in blocking, tackling and fumble drills too. The offense finished the morning studying films of last year's team executing the plays we would start working on in a few days. After lunch we went back for another 90 minutes of drills. We finished them at 2:30 pm.
I just had time to head inside the Lasch Building for my 2:45 meeting with Mr. Collins to review my training program. Coach Burton caught me just before I headed for the weight room to see Mr. Collins.
Coach Burton said, "Can you see Coach Schroeder, Coach Adams, Coach Ferguson and me for a few minutes, Kyle?"
"Um ... I'm supposed to meet with Mr. Collins at 2:45. Will I have time to make it to that appointment?" I asked.
"Mr. Collins knows you won't be coming. He needs to rework your training program from his initial plan. That is part of the purpose of this meeting – to discuss what you are going to do on the team."
"OK," I answered. I followed Coach Burton back to his office. The other coaches were seated on the couch and chairs at one end of the office. One seat was open on the couch. Coach Burton motioned for me to sit there.
Coach Burton began, "We want to discuss your role on the team this year Kyle. You surprised us earlier this week. Our plans for you were based on you having 4.4 speed in the 40. Your 4.3 speed changes our plans for you significantly. Have you ever run back kickoffs or punts in high school?"
"No. I started football late when I was in high school. My coach concentrated on teaching me half a dozen deep pass routes my first year, just to get me on the field. I didn't have time then to try that. By my second year on varsity I was a starting wide receiver. Our coach didn't want to waste me on special teams."
"Are you willing to do that for us?" Coach Burton asked.
"Sure – I'll do anything I can to help the team out," I answered.
"Good. Coach Ferguson will start working with you next Tuesday to help you get ready for this."
"OK," I said.
"I want you to understand that this talk doesn't mean you get the job of returning punts and kicks on the team during the season. We just want to see if you are able to handle the job," Coach Burton said.
"I understand. Can I ask you a question? You said Mr. Collins needed to rework my conditioning program. Is the program for a return man that different from one for wide receiver?"
"No. It isn't. I told him to work up a program to help you bulk up a little. I had this idea of trying you out as a tight end. We aren't going that route anymore."
"A tight end?" I asked. "Do you mind if I ask why you wanted me as a tight end?"
Coach Burton explained, "Your high school coach warned me you were going to ask a lot of questions. He was right. I don't mind explaining my thinking. You are kind of large for a wide receiver. The 4.37-4.38 speed I thought you had isn't fast enough to blow past most of the defensive backs in the Big Ten. They can keep up with that kind of speed. If you could get your weight up to 235 pounds and learned to block, we could use you as a tight end. You would be mismatched against an outside linebacker and could hurt the other team more than if you stayed at wide receiver."
"Does it make that much difference – 4.30 vs. 4.37 speed?"
"All the top Big Ten defensive backs can manage a 4.4. Only a few can do 4.3 in the 40. It only represents one step on the defender, but a one step advantage is all you need to be successful."
Coach Ferguson extended his hand to me. "Welcome to special teams, Kyle." I shook it. The coaches dismissed me. I headed back to the locker room, grabbed my playbook and went to the team lounge. The next meeting didn't start for another half hour. I opened the book and started studying the kickoff return plays we had.
Zack Hayes came by a few minutes later. He looked at what I was studying. "Kick-offs? Why are you studying these?"
"Coach Burton asked me to try out as a kick and punt returner. I need to learn what the hell I am doing."
Zack smiled. "A returner? Cool. You probably will get more time on the field that way. You aren't going to get a lot of time at wide receiver until you learn the playbook."
I got a chance to tell Christian my news after the receivers meeting before dinner. He congratulated me. I found out my news wasn't as special as I thought after dinner. The team had its first special teams meeting. Every freshmen, sophomore and a few juniors and seniors attended. Tyler Madden, Shawn Byrd, Max Rosen, Alex Majerowicz, Christian Hunsecker, Tanner Riggs and I were all going to try out for the punt returner and kick returner roles.
I called home after the evening meeting was over and talked with my brother Andy. I quizzed him on everything he had learned in the last two years returning punts for our high school team. Christian and I spent the rest of the evening studying special teams plays.
I checked my e-mail before bed time. Penny sent me a very detailed, graphic e-mail telling me what she had done with her "Little Kyle" realistic dildo earlier in the evening. She wished she had "Real Kyle" stuffed up her pussy instead.
Penny and I were extraordinarily lucky in high school. Our families knew and tolerated our sexual liaisons. We normally managed to pleasure each other at least two or three times a week. Both of us had gone without for the past five days. We were horny as hell and couldn't get relief.
Christian went to bed while I was composing the e-mail reply. I told him to turn out the light. I could work by light of my desk light and computer monitor. A dark room would be good anyway. My cock was hard as steel and wasn't going down without some stroking.
I sent of an explicit description of what I wanted to do to her, turned off my computer and then stripped for bed in the dark. Christian was quiet. I rolled on my back and started to stroke my rod. I only needed a couple minutes to near climax. I got carried away jerking off. I panted and stroked, finally exploding. "Oooohhh..." I groaned. My first spurt of cum landed on my chin. I splattered a huge load all over my chest and stomach.
"Ewwww ... Do you have to do that, Kyle?" Christian asked.
"Penny and I haven't fucked for five days. You know how it is."
"It's just gross. I wish you wouldn't do that."
"Sorry," I said apologetically. I cleaned myself up with tissues and rolled over to go to sleep.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday went pretty much the same as earlier in the week – drills, meetings, drills and more meetings. I finally got to meet with Mr. Collins on Friday afternoon. He complimented me on the work I had done before joining the team. He told me I was in excellent condition. He gave me a new training regimen that would emphasize speed and agility over adding muscle mass.
Coach Burton gave us some time off on Sunday. Christian dragged me off to church again on Sunday morning. We spent part of the afternoon studying. All the freshmen from our dorm went over to the Lasch Building to work out later in the afternoon. Mr. Collins' workout program felt good to me when I finished it. Our group headed downtown after the workout for pizza for dinner. We were ready for something different after a week of dorm food.
I sent off a series of e-mails in the evening to Ed Fritz, my best friend and freshman quarterback at the University of Florida, to Jeremy North, freshman linebacker at Notre Dame and Hal King, freshman kicker at Rutgers. I found responses from my friends before bedtime. We all had the same story. The playbook was huge. We were working our tails off trying to fit in and impress our coaches. None of us were sure we could meet the challenge but we were glad we were trying.
Larry Fitzgerald and his staff issued all the players helmets, pads and their game uniforms on Monday morning. It was time for some contact. The whole team stretched before the coaches split us up. The third string, including all the freshmen, ended up on the far field beside University Drive and Holuba Hall. Jay Nicholson and Colin O'Shea split time at quarterback for us. Coaches Adams and Curry worked with the third string offense. We would go through a play at half speed, reviewing pass routes, blocking and timing. We ran the plays at full speed a couple times and then ran them against the third string defense.
I was typically matched up against Shawn Byrd. Shawn was very good at covering pass routes. I caught a few passes on him. He stopped a few too. I confirmed what I saw last spring at the Blue & White Game last spring. Jay had a rifle for an arm. We only ran one deep pass with Colin at the helm. He didn't have the arm to go deep. I understood Jay's and Colin's places on the team by the end of the day. Jay was the heir-apparent to Zack. Colin was slated to be a career back-up.
Tuesday afternoon was our first special teams practice. We started out practicing kickoffs. The seven of us prospective returners took turns taking kicks from Cooper Barnes, our kicker, and his back up, Andrew Perkins, a sophomore from Carlisle, Pa.
Coach Ferguson taught us to stand at the five yard line. If we dropped back more than five steps we were to let the ball end up in the end zone. We were to accept a touchback to put the ball on the 20 yard line if the ball ended up in the end zone. We would run the ball out of the end zone only if we had a good match up against a specific team.
Max Rosen took the first live kick-off against opposition. I watched him catch the ball cleanly and speed up behind his wedge of blockers. He took the ball out to the 21 yard line. Christian went next. He was tackled at the 23 yard line when he got tangled up in his blockers. Tanner Riggs took the next kick. Coop boomed the ball into the end zone. Tanner caught it and kneeled down to take the touchback. Coach Ferguson said, "Good decision, Riggs. Nice work."
I was next. I knew something that the other guys didn't about blocking. My friend and high school assistant coach Justin Baer had drilled the lesson into our brains two years ago in high school. Let your blocking develop.
Coop sent a field-able kick down to me. I backed up to the two yard line and caught the ball. I ran quickly up field until I was about 3-4 yards behind my wedge of blockers. I slowed down to the pace of my blockers and followed them up the field until they engaged the other team. Karol Ziska, the lead blocker in the front of the wedge and Wesley Kennedy, a freshman fullback to his right, opened a small seam between their would-be tacklers.
I accelerated into the seam as soon as it opened. In three steps I was going full speed through the hole. I made ten more yards before another guy tried to tackle me. He missed. Cooper Barnes finally took me out with an ankle tackle at midfield. He helped me to my feet.
Coach Ferguson shouted, "Excellent work, Martin! Excellent!" He called everyone together and reviewed what I had done. I was happy I pleased my coach.
I overheard Tanner Riggs snap, "I knew that too. He just was lucky to get a ball he could field." I had the impression over the first ten days that Tanner and I were going to be rivals and not friends. Christian and I were rivals too but we were also friends off the field.
We switched to practicing punts half way through the afternoon. This was harder for me. I didn't have much blocking on the punt returns. I needed to make my own way up field as quickly as I could. I thought I did a creditable job at it. I gained a lot more respect for my brother. This was hard and he made all-state as a punt returner last season.
Wednesday afternoon we had all the quarterbacks and wide receivers practice passing routes while the blockers worked on their blocking schemes. All the wide receivers were sitting in a group waiting for the next drill to start. I was sitting beside Tanner and Christian. Tanner commented, "You know I was all-state the past two years."
Christian said, "Yeah. So what? I was all-state the last two years too."
Tanner asked, "What about you, Martin?"
I frowned. "No, I wasn't all-state the past two years." I paused for dramatic effect while he grinned at me. "I was all-state as a sophomore. I hurt my knee as a junior and wasn't eligible." Tanner smiled. He thought he was one up on me. I smiled slyly. "I wasn't all-state as a senior. I made all-American." Tanner lost his grin instantly.
We started comparing records – who had the most catches, the most yards and the most touchdowns. Aidan Nagy, a junior, didn't take our discussion very well. "Hey kiddies, knock it the hell off. All of you are in the same boat now. Zero catches for zero yards and no touchdowns. Nobody gives a fuck what you did in high school."
I bristled at first from Aidan's rebuke, but he was right. None of that mattered now. We had to perform today or we would be riding the bench.
Friday and Saturday's practices went well for me. I caught nearly all the passes that Jay or Colin threw to me. The coaches used me mostly in the slot those days as a third receiver. Coach Adams liked my size when I went over the middle. I was big enough to have the hero or even an outside linebacker hit me after the catch.
Zack Hayes invited me over to his apartment on Saturday evening. The party was mostly for older teammates but Jay and Colin were invited too. I hung out with them for a good part of the evening. I enjoyed a couple beers along with the company and the music. Girls were in short supply. The university would rectify that problem in five days. The rest of the students would report on Thursday, August 20th through Saturday, August 22nd for the fall semester. I didn't get back to my dorm room until after midnight. I tried to slip into bed as quietly as possible without waking Christian.
I slept right through Christian's Sunday morning routine. I didn't wake up until after 10 o'clock. He was gone. I grabbed a shower and then headed over to Pollock Commons for breakfast. I grabbed a newspaper while I was there.
I was relaxing on my bed reading the paper when Christian returned from church. "I missed you at church, Kyle, he commented. "You were dead to the world this morning."
"I got in a kind of late from Zack's apartment," I explained. "Some of us hung out there last night."
Christian laughed. "At least you weren't out drinking and carousing."
"Well ... we weren't carousing. Zack did offer some nice cold beer. I enjoyed it."
Christian's face switched from laughing to shock instantly. "You drink alcohol? I didn't think you did that."
"Why would you think that?" I asked.
"At the party last spring you drank Coke when Zack offered you beer."
"I was the driver last spring. I don't drink and drive. I have been known to drink and walk though. I have no problem with that."
Christian went on. "Coach Burton specifically said we can't drink if we're underage."
"No, Coach Burton said we can't embarrass the team by getting caught drinking. Zack is the model of discretion. He's careful and keeps things low key."
"The Bible says 'Narrow is the path to heaven.' You may want to think about what you're doing, Kyle. You are breaking the law by drinking. You ignore God's day by sleeping in and skipping worship. Is this the right way to live your life?"
"I'm fine, Christian," I answered. "Don't worry about me." Christian didn't say anything else about it.
Christian changed clothes and headed over to the dining hall for brunch. I wasn't hungry yet, so I continued reading my paper. I didn't feel like lunch until about 1:15 in the afternoon. I checked up and down the halls. Damian was around so we went over to have lunch together. We talked about football over lunch. Damian was enjoying everything he was learning. He knew he would be at the bottom of the depth chart this year since he was a walk-on and not a scholarship player. He was confident that he would show the coaches what he could do in practice and eventually in a game. His goal was to become a scholarship player next season.
The two of us headed over to the Lasch Building and did our daily workout. We went to the player's lounge when were done. A couple dozen guys were hanging out there – watching TV, playing video games, foosball and pool. Damian and I took on the winners of Shawn O'Conner and Anders Voight versus Gerry Oliszewski and Jeremiah Nowak.
Shawn and Anders beat Gerry and Jeremiah handily. Shawn O'Conner was a junior and our starting tailback. I had known Shawn for almost two years, since I met him at a party on my first unofficial visit to Penn State. Jeremiah of course was a senior and the number 2 quarterback on the team. Jeremiah racked up the balls for us. Shawn and Anders let Damian and I have the break.
I played pool occasionally with my friends when I was growing up. Jeremy North had a pool table in his basement. Ed, Hal, Jeremy and me would get together to play. We weren't good but we had fun.
Damian broke. He sank a couple balls before he turned the cue stick over to Anders. Shawn and I talked while we waited our turns. I was surprised when he told me where he was from – Downingtown. He lived about fifteen miles east of me on Route 30. Anders sank a couple balls before it was my turn. I sank one and then handed off to Shawn.
One of the other guys called out while we were waiting our turn. "Hey Anders, your uncle is on TV."
"What else is new?" He answered. "He's made about 70 movies. There's always one showing on TV."
I asked, "Your uncle's an actor?"
"That's cool. Do you get out to California to see him much?" I asked.
"I'm from California. I've been on a few of Uncle Jon's sets to watch. It's fun."
"Really. You're from out west. How'd you get here to Penn State?"
"My family has a Penn State connection too," Anders explained. "I have another uncle who is a professor here. My cousin teaches geology here too."
I asked, "Do you have any other relatives in show business?"
"Yes. I have a couple cousins who act. My cousin's husband is an actor too. My dad sings and writes songs."
I asked innocently, "Would I have heard of any of them?"
Half a dozen guys apparently were listening to our conversation. The answered my question by singing.
"Wild thing. You make my heart sing. You make everything. Come on, wild thing."
"Your dad wrote that?" I asked. "That's famous."
The room erupted in laughter. Shawn explained, "You didn't know you were talking to our resident celebrity did you?" I nodded no. "Think about Anders' last name. Uncle Jon?"
It hit me. Uncle Jon. "Your uncle is Jon Voight?" Anders nodded yes. "That would make one of the cousins Angelina Jolie. And her husband is Brad Pitt?"
"Now you're getting it, Kyle," Anders said.
"How did you get into football if your family is so big in show business?"
"Athletics runs in the family too. My dad used to be a professional golfer. So was my grandfather," Anders explained. "Anybody famous in your family?"
"No. We're just nobodies from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. My brother hopes to become a professor someday. He is starting on his masters in physics at Penn this fall."
"Lancaster County?" Anders asked. "Isn't that where the Amish are? Do you know any?"
"Sure. The farm behind our house is an Amish Farm. Jacob Stoltzfus owns it.
"That's really cool," Anders said. "I've always been fascinated by people who can give up everything and live like they do. I guess you aren't Amish?"
"Of course not. An Amishman wouldn't go to college. They stop school at 8th grade. My grandparents grew up on a Mennonite farm."
"You mean they used a horse and carriage, didn't have electricity or telephone, you know, those kinds of things?"
"It's called a horse and buggy. No, they weren't that kind of Mennonites. There are a few orders of Mennonites like that but most orders are more progressive. Some Mennonites aren't any different from us. You'd never know they were unless they told you." I explained.
"Sure. One of our teammates is a Mennonite."
"You're kidding! Who?"
"My roommate Christian.
Anders grinned. "I'm going to have to talk to Christian. I'd love to hear some more about the Amish and Mennonites."
The subject was dropped when it was Anders turn to shoot next. Anders went on a run. He sank the last four stripes before scratching. Damian sank the last two solids before missing. Shawn smartly sank the eight ball to win the game.
No one else was ready to take on Shawn and Anders again so Damian and I played them a second time. The result of the game wasn't different. It was close but they beat us again. I enjoyed the down time away from football that afternoon. It was fun spending time with Shawn, Anders and Damian.
Monday morning Coach Adams told me to concentrate on learning plays with three receivers on the field. They moved me up to #2 on the depth chart as a slot receiver, behind Anders Voight. I spent part of my time practicing with the second string team with Jeremiah Nowak and Glenn Korbel.
Coach Ferguson, our special teams coach, asked Christian, Tanner Riggs and me to shag kicks for Cooper Barnes and his backup, Andrew Perkins, after regular practice was over. I fielded all the kicks I could happily. I needed the practice in case I had to do this in a real game.
Coach Ferguson clarified the depth chart some for returns during Tuesday's special teams practice. He used Tanner Riggs, Max Rosen and me exclusively as kick returners. The others didn't get any touches at all. Christian, Alex Majerowicz and I returned punts. I convinced Steve Cobb and Mitch Jackson to punt to me for half an hour after practice was over.
I got more repetitions during the week between my time practicing with the second team and with the third team. I was starting to feel comfortable with the plays using a slot receiver.
Christian wasn't his usual cool, calm self on Wednesday evening. I knew he had to be at least as horny as me. His girlfriend of the last two and a half years, Beverly Umble, was arriving tomorrow morning. To the best of my knowledge Christian hadn't had any relief since we got to campus. It embarrassed the hell out of Christian the two times he caught me stroking myself. I didn't think he did that in our room when I wasn't around.
After dinner and our evening receivers meeting Christian and I did our daily workout, showered and went back to our room. I decided it was time to discuss having guests in our room. I asked, "I guess you're looking forward to Bev coming tomorrow."
"You have no idea how much I missed her the last three weeks."
"I think I do Christian. I haven't seen Penny for three weeks either. You're lucky. You get to see Bev tomorrow. Penny starts classes in Philadelphia in two weeks. I don't get to see her until Thanksgiving."
"I know I'm lucky," Christian said.
"We need to work out a signal so you and Bev can have some privacy when you need it. Hang an empty hanger outside on our door handle if you and Bev want to be alone in our room. I'll find somewhere else to hang out until you're finished."
"Alone? No." Christian shook his head no. "That wouldn't be a good idea."
I asked, "What? You and Bev don't want to ... you know..." Christian turned bright red from embarrassment.
"You don't mean ... NO! We don't sleep together." Christian shook his head emphatically no. "We DO NOT fornicate! That would be a sin."
I stared at my friend in shock. "You ... you and Bev ... you've gone together for two and a half years and never had sex?"
I stared at him in disbelief. "Both of you – you're virgins?"
"Of course! We are waiting until we are married."
"Are you sure you're related to Trent Wilson?" I asked. I knew Christian's cousin Trent Wilson emphatically was not a virgin. I had known him for five years. He and his girlfriend had double dated with my girlfriend and me. We'd parked. I took my girlfriend for a walk while he got it on with Ashley. He and Ashley had taken a walk later so I could make love to my girlfriend.
Christian sighed in response. "I pray for him. I know he's done some things he shouldn't have done. My Uncle Jim doesn't believe. He's led his family astray." Jim Wilson, Trent's father, married Christian's Aunt Janet.
Christian asked, "You and Penny – you haven't done ... you know ... have you?"
I nodded my head. "Yes. We have had sex."
"You two got carried away once?"
I laughed. "A lot more than one time Christian. I mean Penny and I get so horny. Haven't you and Bev ever gotten to third base? You know how worked up a girl gets when you..."
Christian interrupted. "NO! I don't know."
"Have you got to second base?" Christian wouldn't answer. I caught him smiling as he turned away from me. He wasn't a complete freak. He did have active hormones. The smile was gone when he turned back to face me again. "Let me know when you two want privacy. I'll get out of the way for whatever time you two need."
"I'll keep it in mind, Kyle."
Christian and I fired up our computers. Christian got an e-mail from Bev letting him know she was arriving with her parents between 10 and 11 in the morning. She wanted to know if she could meet him for lunch. He e-mailed back letting her know he had to eat at the Training Table for a couple more days. I sent Penny an e-mail to let her know how my day went.