Who ever knew throwing a perfect spiral would be simple compared to dealing with guys?
I once read that football was invented so people wouldn’t notice summer ending. But I couldn’t wait for summer vacation to end. I couldn’t wait for football. Football, dominator of fall – football, love of my life.
“Blue forty-two! Blue forty-two! Red seventeen!” I yell.
The cue is red seventeen. JJ hikes me the ball. The defense is blitzing. JJ slams into a freshman safety, knocking him to the ground. The rest of my offensive line destroys the defense. Nice. The field’s wide open, but my wide receiver isn’t where he’s supposed to be. “What the hell, Higgins?” I mutter to myself.
Dancing on my tiptoes, I scan the end zone and find Sam Henry instead, and hurl the ball. It flies through the air, a perfect spiral, heading right where I wanted it to go. He catches the ball, spikes it, and does this really stupid dance. Henry looks like a freaking ballerina. With his thin frame and girly blonde hair, he actually could be the star of the New York Ballet.
I’m gonna give him hell for his dance.
This is my senior year at Hundred Oaks High, and I’m captain, so I’m allowed to keep my players in line. Even though he’s my best friend, Henry has always been a showoff; his antics get us penalties.
Through the speaker in my helmet, I hear Coach Miller say, “Nice throw. This is your year, Woods. You’re going to lead us to the state championship. I can feel it… Practice’s over.” What the coach actually means? I know you’re not going to blow it in the final seconds of the championship game like you did last year.
And he’s right. I can’t.
The University of Alabama called last week – on the first day of school – to tell me a recruiter is coming to watch me play on Friday night. And then a very fancy-looking letter arrived, inviting me to visit campus in September. An official visit. If they like what they see, they’ll sign me in February.
I can’t screw this season up.
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