Chap. 4

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Adam Watson

I let out a long breath, trying to blow my sweat-soaked hair out of my face.

I wasn't very successful.

Coach's whistle blew again, and I forced myself to take off into a sprint, my legs aching in protest.

This was the last one, and I had to make good of it.

My jello filled legs carried me across the football field, the Sun beating down on me as sweat poured down my face and my back.

Last one.

My foot crossed the end zone, and I slowed to a stop, letting my hands slide down onto my sweat-soaked knees.

Done.

I picked my head up, watching as the rest of the team slowly trickled in on the last sprint, Coach yelling the times out at the top of his lungs.

I didn't even hear my own time. I was just glad to cross the damn end zone without collapsing first.

Friday mornings were absolute torture. Early morning weight room workouts followed by conditioning out on the field.

Sometimes we ended with stadiums, sometimes with gassers. Today it was fields, sprinting the entire length of the football field 10 times over.

If you didn't puke by the end it was a miracle.

I felt hands being slapped on my back, but I just let my head drop back down, my chest heaving.

It was finally over. I could climb back into my bed and sleep the rest of the day away, the only perk about Fridays. I didn't have class, so after the morning torture session I went back to my dorm and passed out for the rest of the morning. There was no better feeling than your bed after a hard workout.

"That's it for today boys," Coach Dobson said, clamping down on my shoulder.

I glanced up at him, waiting for him to continue. I was used to being the center of attention during and post-practice after being named the starting Quarterback. Sometimes Coach's speech had nothing to do with me, he just stood by me while completing it. Other times he'd compare the team to my performance, or ask the team to comment on my improvements and what I needed to work on.

There was no telling what he had to say today.

"All except for Adam here."

What?

The rest of the team glanced over at me, mixed looks of confusion, sympathy and laughter.

I forced myself to stand up straight, placing my hands on my hips. If I was going to be the center of attention, I was going to do it with some form of dignity.

"Who can tell Adam here the punishment for disobeying Coach?"

I glanced around the winces of my teammates, the shaking heads.

I don't think I wanted to know the answer.

"Keller?" Coach Dobson called out, earning a laugh from about half the team.

Another backstory that I don't know. Downside of being a Freshman, the team has inside stories and jokes that you're not a part of.

"16 fields Coach," Keller said, offering me a sympathetic smile.

"And how many have we done?" Coach Dobson asked me, his eyes staring directly into mine.

"10," I muttered, feeling the bile in the back of my throat.

"The rest of you boys are dismissed to the locker room," Coach Dobson said, before slapping me on the back. "Adam, on the line."

If I didn't die before the end of this, it would be a miracle.

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