The Struggle

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic
A football player by the name of Wayne Brock tries juggling football and his addict mother. With help from his friends he will play football and help his parents

Submitted: November 15, 2016

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Submitted: November 15, 2016

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Nobody knows me I’m cold Walk down this road all alone It’s no one’s fault but my own It’s the path i’ve chosen to go.” lyrics from Space Bound by Eminem rang through Wayne’s headphones.

“Today is the day.” I have said this at the beginning of every football season for the last eight years. It has always been Wayne’s dream to play pro football. He was good. His only obstacle was his homelife. I meet with my friends Jamie West the football team’s star linebacker and running back, Jaden Williams the kicker and safety, Kyle Jones another linebacker and tight end, and Jake Bradford a wide receiver and cornerback. As they walked towards me, I was observing them,

“Jamie is shorter than the rest of them but bigger, Jaden is the second shortest in the group and the skinniest, Kyle is the second tallest but the most toned, and Jake is the tallest.” As the group of boys got closer Jamie and Jaden were pushing each other and Jake said like an announcer,

“Look who it is, Wayne Brock the all star quarterback of the Ragtown Warriors.”

I playfully said, “Shut up Jake.”

As we walked back to my house Kyle said, “West Green is going down this weekend.”

The rest of them shouted, “Heck yeah.”

As we got closer to my house the more rundown the neighborhood looked. I lived in the bad part of Ragstown. We finally made it to my house and discussed a game plan for West Green. I said that they have small corners and linebackers so run game wasn’t gonna do well. I said that we were going to pass all game. I’m one of very few eighth graders to watch film. I noticed that there weak corner is number seventeen so Jake is gonna be against him all game so we get the mismatch. They blitz corners a lot so I told Jamie to make sure he stops the speedy blitzes. After dinner we discussed the NFL for a little then everyone went home and I watched more film. As the week progressed I trained for West Green. I knew all their blitzes and how to prevent them. I knew every corners weakness and how to exploit it. Finally Saturday came and my friends and I all met at my house for our pregame ritual. First we played darts. Then we had a Madden tournament. Then we had our pregame meal. We arrived at the field for pregame at around four o’clock. Our coach greeted us at the door to the locker room.

Jake asked all of us, “ARE YOU READY!”

We all shouted back at him, “YEAH!”

The game starts at six. West Green just showed up and started practicing on our logo. We all knew know that we had to win.

“They disrespected the warrior!” Jaden yelled.

Six o’clock gametime Jake and I were there for the coin toss. We won the toss and chose to receive. The call in the huddle was fourteen all zigs motion left fake stretch left. At the line I made sure everyone was set then yelled.

“Hut One!”

After I called the cadence Jake and Kylee zoomed down the field like flashes of light.

Jamie called from the left of me, “watch your right side.”

He made a good call there was a corner blitzing and no one was there to pick him up. I avoided the tackler and started running down the sidelines I cut in and out multiple times before being hit hard at the opposite thirty yard line. Next play i threw a touchdown to Jake. the rest of the game was very high scoring the scoreboard read 30 seconds left score was 42-40 West Green. Jaden was lining up for a field goal.

“Clutch”, was all I could mutter to Jaden before he kicked the ball through the uprights to win the game. After the game we all celebrated the victory everyone’s parents showed up except mine and Jamie’s. Our friends’ parents waited with us. About an hour after the game ended our parents showed up. It was very easy to tell that mine and Jamie’s parents weren’t doing well. They weren’t sick, they were addicts. My dad left me when I was young. Since he left my mom had gotten into some bad situations and started doing drugs. Jamie’s mom was in the same situation as mine. They actually used the substances with each other.

Jaden looked at both of us and said, “i’m sorry.”

Jaden was usually a jerk but he was our friend and he cared about us. If we were someone he didn’t know he wouldn’t have cared what our parents did.

All we could do was take it in. All our friends had looks of horror on their faces. They have never seen mine and Jamie’s parents like this.

After the incident our friends acted different. They acted as if they felt sorry for us.

I was tired of being treated different because of what my parents have done.

“Enough” I yelled. “I’m tired of it, stop feeling sorry for me and Jamie. This wasn’t our choice. We can’t help it.”

After that our friends started acting normal because they have never seen me mad, and they didn’t want to see it again. We needed to start preparing for the playoffs. Right now we are the second seed in the playoffs with a record of 5-2. We have 2 games left to get a better seed. But for right now that’s our number one priority. The two weeks between playoffs and me getting angry went by fast. We cruised through the last two teams on our schedule winning by a combined fifty points. Everyday after practice the last two weeks me and Jamie got ready for our seventh appearance in the playoffs in the last eight years. Our first game was against State Falls Fighting Foxes. We had our work cut out for us we lost to them in the regular season by forty points.

Jamie pointed out that there quarterback was hurt.

I said, “yeah but they are a run first team.”

Jaden said, “Ok, So we crowd the line and make their backup test our coverage.”

“That’s a great idea.” Kyle said.

“Man this game s gonna be too easy. They have short corners and skinny safeties. I’m gonna feast this weekend.” Jake said confidently.

After we talked kyl had the bright idea to go swimming at the falls. He slipped on a rock and broke his Tibia. That’s my number one target. Our backup is Jaden who has never played wide receiver before now. All week at practice he was the focus player.

“C’mon Jaden you need to learn your routes.” Kyle said angrily from the sidelines.

“Kyle give him a break.” Jamie asked.

“Do you think you learned all the routes in a week Kyle?” I asked.

“No, but...” Kyle said as I interrupted him.

“No you didn’t so top giving Jaden a hard time.” I said angrily.

Kyle shut up after that.. Jaden did better everyday. He ended up becoming as good as Kyle in a week. He was able to cut better than Kyle ever did. Kyle still ran better routes than Jaden but routes are hard to master. We were all very excited to see how our kicker would do as a wide receiver.

“I’m completely ready.” Jaden claimed.

“We can tell you’re working hard, but to win in the playoffs you need to work like you’ve never worked before.” Kyle said still being tough on Jaden.

“I think he’s ready. He just needs to work on his routes a little and he’ll be fine.” I said.

Saturday came fast it was early in the day and we all gathered for our pregame ritual. After we finished.

Kyle said, “Guys I’m gonna be cleared for next week.”

We all hugged him and cheered. While we were celebrating Jaden was sitting alone looking discouraged.

I asked him, “What’s wrong.”

He said, “even if I do good at wide receiver my spot is gone after this week.”

“Jaden all you have to do is play you never cared about playing anywhere but kicker.” i said.

“Yeah but when I running routes during practice I was having a better time than after the game I kicked the game winner.” Jaden said happily

“Wow. You like wide out that much?” I asked.

“Yeah it is so much better than being kicker I get to have fun with what I do.” he exclaimed.

“All I can say is enjoy yourself today and maybe things will work out for you.” I said encouragingly.

“Alright I’ll show coach I can be a receiver.” Jaden said enthusiastically.

“Now let’s go back over with our teammates.” I said.

“What were you guys doing?” Jake asked.

“Just talking.” Jaden said.

We all got to the field around seven. It was amazing their field was so nice. The game started and ended real quick. I passed for five hundred yards. Jaden had two hundred fifty receiving yards. Coach was really impressed. Kyle wasn’t.

I rode home with Kyle.The entire ride home all he did was complain about how good Jaden did and how he’s gonna lose his spot.

“Kyle. Calm down. I have a plan.” I assured him.

“Your plan better work. Or I’m gonna get heated.” Kyle said frustrated.

Next week during practice I showed my coach a bunch of new formations utilizing three receivers rather than two. Everyone on the team liked the idea except for Jamie.

“This isn’t gonna work Wayne.” Jamie said.

Sure it will the only teams besides us left in the playoffs are teams that are mostly power. “They don’t have the speed to keep up with three receivers.” I said excitingly.

“I sure hope your right Wayne. If we lose it’s on you Mr. QB.” Jamie said sounding annoyed.

“It’s gonna work Jamie.” I said frustrated.

Saturday night came fast. We were ready to try our new scheme in a game situation. It worked well in practice. We blew the other team out of the water the final score was 70-3. I passed for another six hundred yards. Jaden, Kyle, and Jake all had at least one hundred fifty receiving yards. We won now we have the championship.

All week we perfected our three receiver sets. We were getting ready when we heard bad news our coach was in the hospital. We all went to visit him. It turns out that he has leukemia. A very fatal disease. We all talked to him individual and he apologized for being sick.

“Coach are you crazy. You can’t help getting sick. There is no need to apologize.” I said annoyed.

“Wayne listen I need you to lead the team while I’m in the hospital. You are the only one capable of leading that team. That isn’t my team right now, It’s yours.” Coach said faintly.

After coach told me that we all left and I told my friends what  he had said.

They all  said, “He’s not wrong. You are able to get us a championship why do you think we voted you as captain?”

“I guess you’re right but we all need to work together football is a team sport. I might be captain, but I can’t be the only one to do good. I need you guys’ help. We play on a Sunday this week so make sure you guys rest on Saturday don’t do anything stupid. Kyle” I told them.

Kyle said, “Why are you singling me out?”

“I don’t know Kyle ask your leg.” Jamie said jokingly.

“Oh yeah. Forgot about that.” He said laughing.

Sunday came and we we just got finished with our pregame ritual and we were on our way to Chicago every championship game is played in Chicago. We arrived at Soldier Field. It was amazing the smell of the turf the sight of the field we will be playing for a championship on. The experience was amazing. None of us have ever been in a championship for anything. This is our first time, and our last because we all move up to high school ball next year where the whole dynamic of the game is changed. We go into the locker room something else we’ve never done and it’s insane how big it is. It’s bigger than like three locker rooms at home. We get on the field the game is about to start.

The game went very slowly there was no scoring till late in the half. Jaden kicked a field goal. The scoreboard read 3-0 Ragstown. That was in the fourth quarter with two minutes left. The other team the Illinois Ironmakers had the ball on their own two yard-line. Those two minutes were the slowest of my life. Finally the clock read 3-0 at the end of the game. It was the greatest feeling in the world. Until something changed an amazing night into a night of grief and sorrow. A parent came over to us after the game and told us that our coach had passed away from his leukemia. We all started crying. Our coaches term was ephemeral.We had the antitheses of what a usual feeling after a championship win would be. Our coach was an erudite man. It was very sad news to take in. Jaden was the first to break the silence.

“Coach would’ve wanted us to enjoy this win. This game was dedicated to coach.” Jaden said with tears in his eyes.

“He’s right guys coach wouldn’t want us grieving after a game. Especially if we won that game.” Jamie said very emotionally.

The other team had chagrin after the loss, but they weren’t the only ones crying after the game.

“We can’t let this impediment stop us from our dreams guys. He would’ve wanted us to celebrate.” Kyle said proudly.

“He might of had an ignoble playbook, but that playbook worked well.” Jake exclaimed.

“I was just starting to feel amity towards coach too.” I said jokingly.

That night was finally over and we got back to our normal lives.

Me and Jamie back to dealing with our parents. Me and Jamie went to the high school after school for offseason training. As soon as we got there the high school coach approached us.

“My name is coach Jackson, I know who both of you are. Can I talk to you two?” Coach Jackson asked.

“Yeah, sure.” Jamie said.

“Ok so I told by an associate that both of your parents have trouble with drug abuse.” He explained.

Before we could speak he kept talking.

“I used to be addicted also I can help your parents, but they have to not know what were doing. I will meet with both of your families. If your parents ask why I’m there just say that i wanted to meet all the new parents in the area.”

We both agreed. We would do anything to help our parents.

My mom was first. Coach Jackson started with straight up asking if she uses any illegal substances. Since she was using them earlier she said yes not realizing. Coach Jackson basically solved the problem within an hour. What he did was tell that her using those drugs were affecting me terribly and she cracked like that. I watched my mom throw out all her drugs, and delete all her dealer’s contacts. It was amazing.

I went to Jamie’s with coach Jackson. His strategy didn’t work as good as it did on my mom. He had to do extra convincing points but eventually got the point across. Me and Jamie hugged and started crying.

“Our lives are gonna be so much better, no more drugs.” Jamie said while crying.

Thank you coach Jackson you are truly amazing I told him.

High school football flew by fast. By the end of our high school football careers. We were all committed to different Division one colleges. Except me and Jaden we ended up committing to the same one. Jamie is going to Oregon to be a duck. Jake is going to Texas. He’s always wanted to be a longhorn. Kyle committed to Pittsburgh he wanted to be out of the state but stay fairly close and it was either Pittsburgh or Penn State, and he couldn’t stand Penn State. Jaden and I are going to Alabama Jaden is a full time receiver now and I’m still quarterback, so we are gonna tear up college football together. Mine and Jamie’s parents never got hooked again. His mom is now Ceo of a big company in Boston. My mom is getting a high  paying job in Honolulu when I go to college.

 
 


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