Tears rolled down Ken’s cheeks, then to his chin and it dripped down on to the floor. When he tried to say something, nothing came out. Ken could not believe what he was being told. His best friend, his teammate, the teams ace wide receiver was hit by a drunken driving car and had died earlier that night.
It was a beautiful summer day near the end of August. The temperature was very high but there was a cool breeze that made a great sunny day. Ken Marshall, the ace quarterback of the Winslow High School Falcons, was hanging out with his best friend, Matt Daniels at the best pizza place in town. Today was “special pizza day” and there were many people lining up to buy pizza there. After waiting for about 10 minutes, Ken and Matt bought their pizzas and sat down at a table.
“Hey Matt, season’s going to start soon. You excited?” Ken took a big bite out of his just-made pepperoni and cheese pizza.
“Yeah, definitely. It’s our last season, why would I not be excited! You and me, we’ll become the best and most famous hotline the state has ever seen.” As Matt said this, they both looked into each other’s eyes and nodded. That was all they needed. The two had been together since kindergarten. They knew and understood each other perfectly.
A few minutes later, Ken and Matt finished eating their pizzas and went outside. Then, each went home to prepare for football practice.
Ken and Matt met again at the school’s football field half an hour before practice. They changed and started warming up by playing catch. While they played catch, they talked about how important this season was going to be for them, and their dreams of getting football scholarships from famous colleges like Texas, Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Boise State, etc. When it was time for practice to start, they were both warmed up and ready to go. The head coach, Mr. White called “Huddle!” and so, practice started.
Now it was slightly dark outside and the temperature had gone down a bit. The cool breeze felt great after a hard day of football. Ken and Matt were together with three others, Shaun, the ace running back, Brett, the captain and middle linebacker, and Dwayne, the second best wide receiver on the team.
“Alright, let’s go. My mom made dinner for us so come on.” Brett said to all of them and they started their way to his house.
The walk was not a very long one so even though they were all very tired from practice, they made it to Brett’s house quite fast.
Soon after arriving, the five sat around the big table in the dining room of Brett’s house. On the table were Brett’s mom’s homemade hamburger with fries and caesar salad. There was also a fresh baked apple pie for dessert. Then they all started eating at once. Since the five were hungry from practice, they barely talked and concentrated on their burgers. Twenty minutes later, all the food on the table was clean gone and the 5 sat at their seats, each with a satisfied smile on their face.
“Man, your mom makes the best burgers in the world Brett,” Dwayne said while laughing out loud.
“Definitely. I’ve never eaten better ones than these.” Matt, Ken, and Shaun nodded and agreed. Brett said he’s been eating them ever since he was little so he’s used to it.
“So, you guys pumped for the season coming up?” Brett changed the subject. Shaun answered.
“No duh man, I’m ready to take on anyone who comes to tackle me.”
Then Dwayne answered, “This season, I will beat Matt and become the No.1 receiver!!!”
Ken laughed and said, “Jeez Dwayne, we’re all teammates. It’s good to have a rival but your real enemy is the opponent team’s defensive backs not Matt. Oh, and I am ready to lead the offence and complete all my passes.”
Then Matt started. “Dwayne, I think of you as my rival but in the end, I’m the one who’s going to win. And everyone else, we’ve trained all summer and we still have a month to practice. Our team definitely has enough teamwork and enough capability of becoming champions. The five of us, we have to lead our team to victory, right?”
When Matt ended his mini speech, the other four looked back at him with confident faces.
“No doubt.” “Definitely.” “For sure.” These were the words answered by the other four.
“One team, one dream, one heart. We’ll all fight together till the end.”
Brett wrapped it up. Brett was chosen captain because he had the ability to bring the team together with his motivational words. The five talked a bit more and then soon after, Ken, Matt, Shaun, and Dwayne left Brett’s house.
That night, Ken was sitting on his couch watching TV. Then, his cell phone started to vibrate. Ken looked at the screen and saw that it was a call from Brett. He answered the call.
“Hey. What’s up Brett?”
Ken was very surprised when he heard Brett’s voice. It was as if an earthquake had occurred and Brett was panicking. He was breathing heavily and Ken could not make out what Brett was saying.
“Dude, Brett calm down man, I can’t understand what you’re saying!!!”
“Ken… you have to come… FAST!!!”
“What? Where? What’s going on?”
“Come to the hospital!!! HURRY!!! Matt… he got hit by a car… and he’s not waking up!!!”
At that moment, Ken’s heart froze for a second. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard. He slowly took his phone off his ear and hung up. Then, he stood up and blasted out the door telling his mom to take him to the hospital as fast as possible.
Ken ran into the hospital and asked the reception desk where Matt was. They told him he was in the operation room right now. Then Ken ran to the place where Matt’s parents, Brett, Shaun, Dwayne, and Mr. White were waiting outside of the operation room. Brett stood up and greeted Ken. “Ken! Matt is in the operation room right now. All we can do is… wait.”
Ken said nothing back. He couldn’t. He just nodded and sat down next to Mr. White looking down and covering his face with both of his hands.
Ken didn’t know how much time has passed from when he arrived, but finally, the doctor came out of the operation room. He started talking to Matt’s parents.
“We are very sorry… We did our best, but it was too late.”
That was all Ken and the others heard. It all just happened so quickly. Ken dropped down on his knees and cried. So did everyone else. Matt, Ken’s best friend, the team’s best receiver, the person that understood Ken the most, had died.
“Huddle!” Brett called as the Falcons were beginning practice. Of course, Ken, Shaun, and Dwayne were there too. It had been five days after the death of his best friend but Ken still couldn’t take in the truth that Matt who’s no longer here.
“Ok, guys before we start practice today, I would like to give a few words to our dear teammate who is no longer with us here. Sorry, I said that wrong. Matt is not here but he will always be with us no matter what. His spirit will live inside each one of us and we will fight together till the end. What Matt has done for our team will always be remembered. We might have lost our best receiver and sure, this is a big hole that will be very hard to fill. But this doesn’t change what we have to do and our goal. Our goal is to become champions. Let’s do it for Matt then. He will be watching us and we have to make him proud. Isn’t that right? This loss may have made a big hole in your heart. It sure did to mine. But we have each other. Trust your teammates and believe. We can make this happen. Let’s make Matt proud, guys!!!”
At that moment, the whole team burst out yelling as loudly as they could. Ken was crying but he was smiling. He looked up at the sky and whispered, “Hey Matt. I miss you, man. But don’t worry; I know you’ll always be here by my side. And I’ll take you to the top no matter what.”