Thanks again to Bill for editing this chapter for me...
CJ Chapter 47 Wild Weekend Football
"Time to wake up," Isaac said while shaking Chris gently.
"What time is it?" Chris asked sleepily.
"Almost 1:30," Isaac replied.
"Shit! I slept too long!" Chris exclaimed. "Why didn't you wake me up earlier?"
"You and Jarvis needed your rest after last night," Isaac replied while shaking Jarvis awake. "I've got some good news for both of you guys. The members surrendered and promised not to whack us for the rest of the weekend! We busted their balls and they caved in!"
Jarvis was now wide-awake and celebrating with Chris and Isaac. They went into the main suite of the hotel and greeted their pledge buddies with a round of cheers and hugs.
"I have a proposal for you guys," Isaac offered. "I think we should prove to the members that we don't fear them and sit with them during the football game in our normal section. They'll be our brothers soon and I think we should show some unity by sitting with them to cheer for our football team. There will be 22 of us and we stay together. If one guy needs to take a leak, we all go. When the game is over we'll all meet Chris, Jarvis and Delano outside the locker room and head for the restaurant. If anyone asks when we will return to the house, don't tell them. They have one more surprise left from the guys they whacked all week!"
Chris, Jarvis and Delano knew that they had to be at the stadium by 4:30 p.m. The game was starting at 6:00 p.m. and the coaches always wanted them there early.
"I wish I could play today," Delano admitted. "I can barely walk on my ankle now and I feel like shit for letting the team down."
Chris hugged Delano and reminded him of how many yards he had gained in the first 11 games of the season. "You tore apart every team that we faced," Chris said. "Our team couldn't have won 11 games without you, and I'm proud to be your friend, pledge buddy and future brother."
"Your blocks made me look good," Delano admitted. "When CSU recruited me, they were only one of over 20 colleges that offered me a full scholarship. I watched you play basketball for the US Olympic team and found out that you committed to attend CSU. I never told you before, but you're the reason I came here. I really didn't expect to be a starter in my Freshman Year, but things worked out great for me. I know that you could have been the star running back, but you accepted the position of fullback to block for me. No one can open holes in a defensive line like you can. I haven't told anyone, but my dad got busted up on a construction job and my family can barely pay the monthly bills. The Insurance Company won't pay him any benefits and he needs surgery on his back. The medical bills are piling up and now collection agencies are hounding my parents. I wanna turn pro as soon as possible so I can bail them out from their bills."
"Jesus, Delano, why didn't you tell me this before?" Chris asked. "My dads have connections with lawyers and other people who can help your dad and your family. Let me call my dad in Boston so you can talk to him."
"You don't need to get involved in my problems," Delano whispered. "I don't want anyone to know about the financial conditions of my family. Please keep this a secret."
"No fucking way!' Chris exclaimed. "You're my buddy and I'm gonna call my dad and ask him to help. I don't want you to leave CSU until you and I have got our degrees. I need you to help me pimp the guys in the fraternity and set some new records for the football program here. We can turn pro at the same time!"
Delano listened while Chris called Jonathan Carpenter and quickly explained the problems with Delano Genovesi's family. Jonathan talked to Delano and was writing down important information while they talked. Jonathan had a lot of connections and promised to do everything he could to help the Genovesi family.
"Thanks Chris," Delano said quietly. "You dad was great on the phone with me. I still don't want anyone to know how bad things are for my family so please don't say anything to anyone else."
"My Boston dad will talk to B and between them both, I bet they can fix things for your family," Chris replied. "I won't say anything to anyone else about this. Let's get Jarvis and head for the stadium. Kelly and Toby will be there and we'll find out how good Isaac was in negotiating with the members."
The three pledges were pleased when they got to the locker room and were warmly greeted by Kelly Mason and Toby Bass. The two members gave them hugs and admitted that they were impressed by the multitude of pranks that the pledges had pulled on them. Any tension between the men was broken by the hugs and teasing in the locker room.
"I hope you're ready to play quarterback today," Kelly said to Chris. "My right arm is still sore but Brice says I'll be ready to play before our bowl game. I just hope you don't take away my starting position! I need a good bowl performance before I'm eligible for the NFL (National Football League) draft."
"I don't like playing quarterback," Chris admitted. "It's more fun blocking for Delano and playing free safety on defense. Quarterbacks aren't supposed to hit people and can't play on special teams either. I'm counting on you to get healed up along with Delano and Keegan so we can kick ass in the bowl game. You should be drafted in the first round because of the way you've played in the past four years. If we win today, we'll be playing for the national championship on New Year's Day in Miami. I just hope I learned enough this week to run the Wishbone Offense and make it work."
"You're gonna do fine!" Kelly encouraged. "This game will be televised nationally and we are 17 point favorites with the bookies in Las Vegas even though they know that we lost some starters in the last game. The Beavers don't know the changes Coach Patrick has planned and they will shit when they see you on the field. I'm proud of you and will be cheering for you to rip them apart. Coach Patrick wants me to give you the signals for the plays to be run, so you and I will have to communicate carefully."
Everyone got dressed for the important football game and waited for David Patrick to make his opening comments before they took the playing field. Coach Patrick was very emotional when he addressed the team and told them how proud he was of everyone. He told his players that the entire nation was watching them to see how they made adjustments after the injuries to so many players in their game against Washington State. He challenged every player to play hard and leave all of their emotion on the field.
Julius Fisher led the team in the traditional prayer, just like he had done before every game. David Patrick pulled Chris aside and asked him to lead the team onto the playing field.
"We have some seniors on this team that deserve that honor," Chris said. "Kelly has been the team captain and leader of this team all year, and even though he can't play today, he deserves the honor of leading our team through the banner and over to our sideline. This is the last game in front of our fans for the seniors and they all should be honored today."
David Patrick liked hearing the famous basketball player give Kelly credit for the success of the football team. He knew that he was depending on Chris to play his best in the game to finish the season undefeated. He called Kelly over and asked him to lead the seniors and the rest of the team out on the field, even though Kelly wasn't wearing his pads and helmet for the game.
Steve Michaels was the main announcer for the ESPN network and Brett Carlson was his color commentator for the important football game matching the Falcons and Beavers.
"It's a beautiful California evening and the field is in great condition," Steve Michaels began. "I'm Steve Michaels and with me is Brett Carlson for the ESPN Sports Network. It's a privilege for us to broadcast this important football game matching the home team of the California State University Falcons against the Oregon State Beavers. You can feel the excitement in this stadium as the fans await the arrival of the unbeaten Falcon team on their home turf for the last game of the regular season."
The Delta Delta Delta members were surprised to see their pledges join them in the stands to watch the game. They quickly greeted the pledges with hugs and were thrilled that their fraternity was displaying solidarity by sitting together. The young men celebrated their unity and were determined to cheer together for their team.
"My brothers were pissed at me for not seeing what you guys had planned for us," Dave Wilbur said to Isaac while hugging him. "I'm the Pledge Master, and I'm supposed to know what you pledges are planning. You guys nailed us good and we're all impressed with what you pulled on us!"
Isaac laughed and admitted that the pledges all wanted to retaliate for a week of constant harassment. He avoided answering the question about when the pledges would return to the fraternity house and said that his buddies wanted to sit with the members to cheer for their football team. He told Dave that he hoped that the members wouldn't try to kidnap any of the pledges during or after the game. Isaac was also pleased to hear that the members were all hoping that the pledges would sit with them and wouldn't even consider kidnapping.
"The entire nation is watching this game today," Brett Carlson added. "Last week we saw the Falcons pull out a victory against the Washington State Huskies with a last-second field goal by CJ Hammer. We still don't know the status of Hammer, but we suspect that he will be sitting on the bench for this entire game like he did last week until the last three seconds of the game. The Falcons are still favored to run the table and complete an undefeated regular season and then play for the national championship on January 1st, but the Beavers have had some very close games and could spoil the undefeated season. The big question is how will David Patrick make adjustments to replace his first and second string quarterbacks, Kelly Mason and Justin Marshall, the premier running back in the nation, Delano Genovesi, and the regular kicker, Keegan Marshall. The Falcons are 11 and 0 coming into this game and would normally be a huge favorite against the Oregon State Beavers who are 8 and 3."
"David Patrick closed all practices to the media this week," Steve Michaels reported. "He knew that he had to regroup his players to replace the injured starters. The Falcons are 17 point favorites today but I expect this to be a close game."
"The Oregon State team has entered the stadium and we're waiting for the Falcons to break through a paper banner and run through the funnel of CSU band members," Brett Carlson commented. "Here they come! Kelly Mason isn't dressed for this game, but he's leading his team out on the field to the boisterous crowd of CSU fans!"
"Everyone is anxious to see how the Falcons play on offense today," Steve Michaels added. "The Falcon defense is healthy and should be able to throttle the Beaver offense, but the big question is going to be the Falcon offense."
The Beavers won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Falcons would get the first opportunity to have the football.
"It's obvious that the Oregon State Coach, Joe Evans, wants to challenge the Falcon offense," Steve Michaels said. "His team will be on defense to see what David Patrick has put together from his depleted offensive weapons."
The kickoff was downed in the end zone and the CSU team would start on the 20-yard line.
"The Falcon offense is taking the field and we're all waiting to see who will be playing quarterback for David Patrick," Steve Michaels said. "I don't believe what I'm seeing! CJ Hammer is running out on the field! For everyone in the viewing audience, CJ Hammer was pronounced dead only weeks ago, and now he's going to join the Falcon offense in this game! The stadium announcer just introduced CJ Hammer as the quarterback for the California State University Falcons. The crowd is going wild seeing him back on the field and the Beaver defense better be ready for this huge guy who is listed at 6 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 345 pounds!"
"David Patrick shut the media out of his practices this week," Brett Carlson said. "Now we know why! No one in the nation expected Hammer to be ready to play today, and now he's bringing his team to the line of scrimmage in the Wishbone Offense! All year the Falcons have used the Power I Offense, and we never expected such a drastic change for this game!"
On the first offensive play of the game, Chris took the ball and rolled out to the left. The Beavers expected him to run around the left end, but at the last second, Chris stopped and threw a long pass to a wide-open Steve Massengill.
"Hammer has thrown a bomb on the first play of this game!" Steve Michaels said to the television audience. "The Beavers all took the bait and Massengill is wide open at the 40 yard line of the Beavers! He catches the pass and is headed for the end zone! He's at the 30, 20, 10, 5, TOUCHDOWN! CJ Hammer has just shocked the Beavers and everyone in this stadium by throwing a perfect pass to Steve Massengill for a CSU touchdown! I DON'T BELIEVE WHAT WE JUST WITNESSED!"
Chris ran to the end zone and hugged Steve Massengill in celebration of the first touchdown of the game. He lifted Steve up and spun him around while the rest of the team ran up to celebrate the first points of the game. The partisan crowd was going wild because of the touchdown.
"If CJ Hammer is healthy, this is gonna be a long night for the Oregon State Beavers," Brett Carlson said. "We never expected Hammer to even be on the field, but he fooled everyone by rolling out to the left on the first play of the game. Hammer is left-handed, and played quarterback in High School before coming here to the CSU campus. Hammer is a fantastic basketball player with a gold medal from the last Olympics. He just proved that he has a cannon for a left arm by throwing that pass over 60 yards to a wide-open Steve Massengill! This crowd is going wild and I bet the people who set the odds for this game wish they could change the 17-point spread."
"Hammer is lining up to kick the extra point due to the injury to Keegan Marshall in last week's game," Steve Michaels said. "The extra point is good, and we have a time-out on the field."
Chris ran to the sideline and was hugged by Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson, and David Patrick. The entire Falcon team was screaming in joy for scoring the first touchdown of the game. Chris was elated and hugged Kelly Mason and Delano Genovesi to celebrate. The coaching staff was trying to calm their players down, but it was difficult because they were so excited themselves.
Saul Bernstein was in the stands with Helen Waterson. They were both shocked to see Chris playing in the game and were thrilled at how he was performing. Saul was proud of his son and screamed, "That's my son!" when the pass was completed for a touchdown. The four Divisional Vice-Presidents of the National Delta Delta Delta Fraternity were there with their wives and shared in Saul's exuberance.
"HOLY SHIT!!" Brian Packard screamed while hugging his lover, Kris Miller. "Chris said he was gonna play today, but I never expected this!"
Saul turned to Brian and wondered how he knew Chris was going to play in the game when he didn't know himself. Chris had never kept any secrets from him, but this was a secret and a great surprise to him when he had his close friends from the National Fraternity with him.
"Chris made me promise not to tell anyone," Brian explained. "The only person I told was Kris. I can't believe that Chris gave us these tickets! He could have sold them for a fortune!"
"Chris and I never sell our tickets," Saul said. "We enjoy having cheering fans more than the money we could get by selling the tickets. You taught Chris how to fish and he told me that you were a special person to him. You and Kris are now part of our family and we hope you guys will join us to watch Chris play basketball for the Falcons. I wish that Chris's Boston family could be here today to see him play. If I had known he was going to be a starter today, I would have invited them here for this game. They're great people and they love him as much as I do."
In Boston, the Carpenter family was watching the football game on their large screen HDTV. They all celebrated seeing Chris run out on the field and screamed with joy when his first pass was complete for a touchdown. Jonathan Carpenter was in tears when he saw his son back on the football field and witnessed the long pass for a touchdown. He hugged his family and wished that he were at the stadium to cheer for his son. Several friends had joined the Carpenter family to watch the football game and were all thrilled that Chris was playing and joined the family celebration.
After the commercial break, Steve Michaels continued his commentary. "CJ Hammer is filling in for Kelly Mason, the top rated quarterback in the nation," Steve said. "Mason was busted up on a late hit last weekend and the officials from that game have been disciplined by the Pac 10 Conference for not controlling the football game and missing several penalties that should have been called. David Patrick was livid with the officials after that game, and the conference agreed with him that the Washington State Huskies got away with murder."
CJ Hammer is pulling double duty today," Brett Carlson said. "He's replacing Keegan Marshall as the CSU kicker and is ready to kickoff to the Oregon State Beavers. Let's see if Hammer can kick as far today as he did last week to win the game for the Falcons."
"It's a long, high kick," Steve Michaels said. "I don't believe this, but the kick is not only out of the end zone, but it's into the stands. The CSU student body controls that end zone and always passes the football up in the stands and throws it out of the stadium! The officials better head for the nearest sporting goods store and buy some more footballs! Hammer has a cannon in his left arm and another in his left leg!"
The Oregon State team took the field and tried to move the football down the field. They made two first downs before being stopped by the Falcon defense. The punt went out of bounds on the Falcon 35 yard line.
"Hammer is coming back on the field after the Falcon defense stopped the Beaver offense," Steve Michaels said. "The Falcons have a first and ten at their own 35 yard line and it's time to see what David Patrick has planned now. The Beavers better be ready to defend against the biggest quarterback I've ever seen. Hammer usually plays fullback on offense and free safety on defense. Let's see if that first pass was a fluke or if Hammer can run the offense in his new role as a quarterback."
"Hammer takes the snap and rolls out to his left," Brett Carlson said to the television audience. "He fakes a handoff to the fullback and keeps the ball. Hammer makes a sharp cut and breaks a tackle at the line of scrimmage. He breaks another tackle and flattens the linebacker! He makes a spin move and breaks free! He's in the open and he's gone! Hammer is at the 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 5 and it's a TOUCHDOWN for the CSU Falcons!"
"CJ Hammer has lit up the scoreboard again with a quarterback keeper play of 65 yards!" Steve Michaels exclaimed. "Any doubt that anyone had about Hammer's ability to take a hit has to be erased now! Hammer broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and ran over the defensive linebacker to get in the open. After that, it was a foot race and Hammer left everyone in the dust when he streaked to the end zone! We've only used 6 minutes of this game and the Falcons are leading by a score of 13 to nothing with the extra point coming up! This crowd is going wild!"
Chris was elated after scoring the touchdown but quickly regained his composure to line up for kicking the extra point. The kick was good and the Falcons led by a score of 14 to 0.
"We're gonna take a commercial break now," Steve Michaels said. "I think the Oregon State Beavers need a break to try and figure out how to stop CJ Hammer and the potent offense of the CSU Falcons."
Mike Mahley was surrounded by his brothers and the pledges of his fraternity. He was choked with emotions from watching his Little Brother excel on the football field. He felt guilty for not realizing that Chris was going to play quarterback and wondered if he was losing his intimate relationship with Chris. His fears were extinguished when Chris ran into the end zone on his touchdown run, turned toward the student section where he knew Mike was sitting with his fraternity brothers, held his arms in the air and screamed "MIKE!" to the crowd. Mike had tears of joy running down his face when he saw the tribute aimed at him and held up his arms and screamed to his Little Brother, "CHRIS!"
"Chris had to keep his status a secret," Tom Borton said to Mike. "He never told us that he was going to be the quarterback until he was leaving for the stadium today. He still loves you. We had an orgy at the hotel but Chris didn't join in or drink more than a couple beers. He was invited to join in the orgy but he said he was saving his cum so he could blow your head off when he nails you at the fraternity house."
Mike thanked Tom for talking to him. He was pleased that Chris had remained faithful to him when the majority of the pledges were getting drunk and having sex. He was proud of his Little Brother and couldn't wait to hold Chris in his arms again. He joined the crowd in cheering, "C..J..Hammer, clap...clap..., clap, clap, clap." The cheer was repeated many times during the game.
By halftime, the CSU Falcons were leading by a score of 35 to 3. David Patrick was trying to control his emotions of joy when he addressed his team in the locker room during halftime.
"We've got them by the balls now!" Coach Patrick said to his exuberant players. "They have a good defense and we need to change things in the second half to fuck them up big time! When we get the ball back, we're gonna switch to the Shotgun Offense and see if their defensive backs can stay with our receivers! They will expect us to run the ball and run out the clock, but we're gonna hit them with `Shock and Awe' like this was a war! You guys are doing great, and we're gonna blow this game apart in the second half!"
Saul was in the stands and accepting the compliments of everyone around him for the way his son was performing. He knew that Chris was a powerful young man and could have signed up for the NBA (National Basketball Association) draft right out of high school. He loved seeing his son playing college sports for his alma mater, and dreamed of seeing his son initiated into the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity as a member. His love for his adoptive son was unconditional. He and Helen were proud of Chris and were pleased that the Vice-Presidents and their wives were watching the Falcon team on the field.
"CJ Hammer is ready to kickoff for the start of the second half of this football game," Steve Michaels said. "The Falcons have this game under control and it's only a matter of how big David Patrick wants the score to be when it ends."
"No one expected this game to be a blowout," Brett Carlson said. "We've seen Hammer run the ball and throw precise passes to his receivers. The Beavers are reeling from the balanced attack of running and passing and we have 30 minutes left in this game that will put the Falcons in the Nokia Sugar Bowl for the National Championship. This has changed from a close game to a total mismatch. David Patrick is being touted for the `Coach of the Year Award' and he's proving to the entire country how he can resurrect a potent offense after losing several key players. It's another kick into the stands and we know now that Hammer is 100% healthy!"
In the second half of the football game, the Falcons dominated the Beavers on both offense and defense. The final score of the game was 63 to 10. The stadium security forces were unable to stop the CSU fans from flooding the field and tearing down the goalposts.
"This is an unbelievable conclusion to a perfect season for the CSU Falcons," Steve Michaels said. "No one expected this game to end this way and I hope that John Fredericks can get us a live interview with CJ Hammer before the star athlete leaves the field. Hammer is celebrating this victory by joining the guys from his fraternity on the field and I hope he'll talk to us along with David Patrick."
"Let's go down to the field where John Fredericks has CJ Hammer and David Patrick," Brett Carlson said excitedly.
"Coach Patrick, how does it feel to win the Pac 10 Championship and be headed for the Nokia Sugar Bowl in Miami?" John Fredericks asked.
"I'm so proud of these guys that I can't express my feelings!" David Patrick replied. "We had a tough schedule this year and last week's game took away several key starters on offense. Chris was cleared by the doctors to play in this game, and he really came through for our team."
"You kept the media out of your practices this week. Now we know why, but can you explain what you and your assistant coaches were doing?" John Fredericks asked.
"When you lose your senior quarterback and the backup, you have to make adjustments," David Patrick said. "We knew that Hammer had played quarterback in High School, but we had never tested him. We have two freshmen that will compete for the starting quarterback job next year, but I wanted to `red shirt' them this year. We asked Hammer to fill in for us and we changed our offensive plans to capitalize on his size and strength. I know my buddy Marcus Knight was shaking in his boots when he saw his star basketball player taking so many hard hits today. Chris came through for us and deserves the game ball for a fantastic game today."
"CJ, how does it feel to play quarterback today and win this game for your team?" John Fredericks asked.
"To be honest," Chris began, "I don't like to play quarterback. I like to block for Delano on offense and play free safety on defense. Quarterbacks don't get the chance to block people and make tackles. Our defense won the game for us today. Guys like Jarvis Williams, Lukas Paulik and Julius Fischer played outstanding games today. After we shower we're all going to celebrate at John's Steakhouse where they serve the best steaks in California!"
"You're being too modest," John Fredericks continued, trying to ignore the free commercial for the restaurant. "You never threw an interception today and racked up over 300 yards rushing by yourself when you kept the ball. What are you going to do for an encore?"
"I'm hoping that I can join the basketball team next week," Chris replied. "Marcus Knight has been my friend for almost five years and I hope I can earn a spot on his team. I'm pledging the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity and I hope that I will be initiated as a member soon. I plan on getting a degree in Secondary Education so I can teach Math and Science and maybe coach in the future."
"I'm sure that the other colleges in the Pac 10 Conference would love to see you leave CSU and declare for the NBA draft," John Fredericks said. "I can hear the groans of coaches across the nation who don't want to face you for the next three years on the football field or basketball court when they hear you plan to stay here at CSU."
"Sports have played a big part in my life," Chris admitted, "but I'm here to get my degree. If I stay healthy and get a chance to play at the next level, I'll talk to my life partner, Mike Mahley, before I make any decision. My main focus is academics. I don't want to be rude, but I want to join my team in the locker room to celebrate our victory today."
"Thanks to both of you for talking to us today, and good luck in the Sugar Bowl," John Fredericks said. "Back to you Steve and Brett."
Steve Michaels was thrilled that his broadcasting team had conducted an interview with CJ Hammer. He knew that Hammer had avoided their announcers in the past and this was a great day for the ESPN team. The interview with Chris and Coach Patrick had been broadcast on the Trinitron screens at each end of the football field so the fans could see and hear everything. The large screens showed a series of highlights of the game to the enjoyment of the CSU fans in the stadium.
Chris ran to the end of the field where the band was still playing the Falcon Fight Song and saluted them before running to join his teammates. He left the team long enough to run in front of the stands where Saul and Helen were standing. He lifted his arms and screamed "DAD" and "MOM" loud enough to be heard over the music of the band.
Saul and Helen both had tears of joy running down their faces when they saw Chris and heard his greetings. Saul was proud of his son and Helen felt honored to hear Chris call her "Mom". They both wanted to see Chris to hug him and celebrate this victory. Saul was especially proud to have all of the Vice-Presidents of the National Fraternity in the stands with their wives to watch the game. He loved seeing his son win the game for his Alma Mater and looked forward to the celebration meal and the Open House at his home chapter. He also hoped that he had convinced Chris to display some of his classic cars as part of the entertainment for the chapter festivities. He knew that there was a big surprise waiting for the pledges after the Open House ended.
Mike was on the field with his brothers and tried to convince the pledges to return to the fraternity house for a celebration. The pledges refused and only promised that they would return before the Open House. Mike wanted to see Chris and hold him in his arms. His emotions were raw from being separated from Chris and wished that he could be with him.
Isaac told Mike that he and all of the members were invited to have supper with the entire pledge class at the steak house. Everyone wanted to celebrate and forget about any conflict between the pledges and members.
"Saul reserved a banquet room for all of us," Isaac said. "Even the lowly members who admitted defeat today are invited!" He saw the happiness in the faces of the members and knew that this was going to be a weekend to remember for the rest of their lives.
The Falcon locker room was pure bedlam with the players celebrating their victory. Several sportscasters tried to push their way toward CJ Hammer and Coach Patrick for live interviews.
Chris saw his favorite announcer, Jane Vincent, and pulled Jarvis Williams and Julius Fisher to his side to talk with Jane. He got a hug from Jane and a sincere "thank you" for letting her and her crew do his interview.
"This is Jane Vincent reporting live from the CSU Falcon
locker room," Jane began. "With me is
CJ Hammer, Jarvis Williams and Julius Fisher, three of the men who played key
roles in the important Falcon victory today.
Let me start with CJ Hammer. How
does it feel to win this game today in your debut as a college quarterback?"
"Jane, it's always great to talk to you," Chris began. "Kelly Mason is our quarterback and I was only his temporary replacement today. Kelly was banged up last weekend but he'll be ready for any bowl game that we get invited to. I'm excited that we won today, and the two guys who are standing here with me are the ones who won the game for us."
"You're always trying to give someone else credit for winning a game," Jane said. "You didn't throw a single interception today and your team set conference records for total offense. What's the secret to your performance today?"
"Football is a team sport," Chris replied. "Our defense kept the Beavers offense off the field and our offensive line did a great job at controlling the line of scrimmage so we could run the ball. Mike Johnson is the Offensive Coordinator and he called all of the plays today. He and Coach Patrick are fantastic coaches and my job today was very easy. The guys who won the game today are the defensive players and the offensive linemen. They deserve all of the credit for this important win today."
Jane Vincent knew that Chris was modest and turned her attention to Jarvis Williams. "Jarvis Williams you had five sacks today and seven solo tackles. How does it feel to win today?"
"I'm thrilled to see our team go undefeated this season," Jarvis began. "The offense today made the Beavers take chances to try and play catch-up. We all watched Chris in practice this week and were thankful that we didn't have to play against him. We did a lot of blitzing and kept them from being able to mount any serious challenge to us. Our coaches developed our defensive plans and all we had to do was execute their plans. We're all ready to celebrate and get ready for a bowl game."
"Julius, we hear that you're the spiritual leader of this team and also the middle linebacker. How do you explain the way your defense dominated the Oregon State Beavers today?" Jane asked.
"We all have callings in life," Julius replied. "My family has always relied on God for our strength, and I share that belief each week by leading the team in prayer before our game. We missed having Chris on defense today, but I was able to blitz and keep the Beavers from getting into a rhythm on offense. They had to double-team Jarvis and that left the rest of us on defense with the opportunity to get in their backfield. It was a fun game for us, but I don't think the Beavers are having any fun in their locker room right now."
"I want to thank you guys for taking the time to talk with me," Jane said. "This is Jane Vincent for Channel 12 News returning the broadcast to the studio."
Jane gave all of the guys a hug and thanked them for giving her the interview. She accepted the offer from Chris to join the guys for a celebration meal at the local John's Steak House Restaurant.
The entire team hit the showers and continued celebrating their important victory. When Chris and Jarvis were dressed and ready to leave the locker room, they both hugged their coaches and begged them to join in the special celebration at the steak house. They were happy to hear that all of the coaches and most of the team would join them.
Chris grabbed his cell phone and punched in the number for his Boston family. He was happy to hear Jonathan Carpenter answer the phone quickly.
"Chris, you were fantastic today!" Jonathan said to his son. "We've got a houseful of people here who watched the game and want to talk to you. I'm so proud of you! I wish we could have been there to see the game. If we'd known you were going to play we would have all been there."
Chris explained that his status for the game had to be kept a secret so the Oregon State team couldn't prepare for a new offensive formation. He apologized to his biological father for not telling him that he was going to play before the game. Chris could hear several voices in the background while he was talking to his father. He recognized the voices of his two brothers and sister and wanted to talk to everyone.
"I hope I get to join the basketball team soon," Chris said to his father. "We have a game next week against the Duke Blue Devils. I promise to let you know if I'm gonna travel with the team. Even if I don't play we can visit."
Jon Carpenter was excited about seeing his son and knew that he would travel to North Carolina to see Chris. He was trying to keep the telephone away from the rest of his family who wanted to talk to Chris.
"I hope you have a few minutes to say hi to everyone," Jon asked Chris. "If I don't let everyone talk to you they'll really be upset."
Chris laughed and agreed to talk to everyone as long as he got to talk to his mom next. Carol Carpenter was pleased that she was the next one to be able to congratulate Chris for the fantastic football game. She knew that she was Chris's stepmother, but he always called her "mom" and that gave her a warm feeling all over. She talked to Chris for a few minutes before giving the phone to Randy.
Chris talked to both of his brothers and sister before he told them that he had to leave with the team for their special meal. He was still talking on the cell phone when he left the locker room and saw Mike waiting for him. He ended the call with a promise to call again the next day.
"I've been waiting for you," Mike said when Chris came out of the locker room. He was waiting along with all of the members and pledges that had decided to show unity by greeting their buddies and congratulating them on the great game. Mike was surprised when Chris gave him a hug and a kiss on the lips. "You were fantastic today! Why didn't you tell me you were gonna play?" Mike asked.
"We were told to keep it a secret," Chris explained. "Please don't be mad at me." He gave Mike another hug and kiss on the lips.
"I think you guys need to get a room!" Saul exclaimed. "I wanted to introduce my son to some executives of the National Fraternity but I see that he's more interested in Mike right now."
"Sorry B," Chris said. "I just need to share my excitement with my lover. I'll try to control myself better."
"Let him be himself," John Kimball said. He was the Vice-President of the Western Division and he wanted Chris and Mike to show their love for each other without any criticism.
"I'm hungry," Chris said to Mike. "Let's go have a big steak dinner and celebrate the victory against Oregon State and the victory of my pledge buddies over you nasty members!"
"You're such an asshole!" Mike exclaimed while giving Chris another big hug. He insisted that Chris ride with him to the restaurant so they could talk.
Chris looked around and saw Brian Packard standing with a guy that he knew must be Kris Miller. He hugged Brian and then hugged Kris after being introduced. He introduced Brian and Kris to everyone around them and said that they all needed a good meal.
"I still want you guys to crash with us tonight," Chris said to Brian and Kris. "My pledge buddies and I aren't ready to sleep with the members until they show their surrender tomorrow."
"Come on Chris," Mike pleaded. "I want you to come back to our room in the house tonight. We've been working hard to put the house back the way it should be, but I need to feel you next to me while I sleep."
"I'll be back before the Open House," Chris promised. "Let's just enjoy our time together and have some fun tonight. We're gonna have a great day tomorrow and we have some surprises for you nasty members."
"I have four limos waiting for us," Saul said to Chris. "I know you guys have some issues to sort out this weekend, but let's all relax and enjoy this dinner together. It's not often that we get all of the Divisional Vice-Presidents together and I don't want them to see the pledges and members from my home chapter bickering."
Chris, Mike, Brian and Kris all got into the same limo and were quickly joined by several of the football players. They all joined in a champagne toast on the way to the restaurant.
When the stream of limousines pulled up to the front of the steak house, Chris got out and was shocked to see who was waiting at the front door. It was John Klein, owner of the chain of restaurants and the cook who had befriended him at the St. Mary's Orphanage. Chris broke down in tears when he hugged the man who had taught him how to cook and had been the only person at the orphanage who showed him love and affection until he had met Fr. Joe and Saul. He hugged John, lifted him off the ground and spun him around. Everyone laughed at the expression on John's face from the way he was greeted by Chris.
"I can't believe that you're here!" Chris choked out. He introduced John to his friends and watched the millionaire greet Mike like he was a family member. He explained to everyone how great a friend John Klein was to him when he was a kid in the orphanage and how successful he was with his restaurants.
"Saul invited us to the game and to your Open House tomorrow," John said while hugging Chris. "You were great today and this place is packed thanks to your commercial on ESPN! It's great to see you again and we'll try to keep people away from the banquet room so you can have a peaceful meal. This is my wife, Jodi; she's been looking forward to meeting you and Saul. The little guy with her is John Junior. He's three years old now."
Chris hugged Jodi Klein and told her how great it was to finally meet her. He knew that John was married but had never met his wife. He bent down to shake the hand of the little boy but was shocked when the little tyke jumped up into his arms. He put John Jr. on his shoulders and gave him a ride at the top of the world.
Jodi returned the hug and then hugged Mike Mahley. "Without you and Saul, John would have never been able to start his first steak house," Jodi told Chris. "We owe everything to you and your dad. We're opening four new restaurants in the next year and John will continue to donate 10% of the revenue to the Carpenter Foundation. We recognize that God has been good to us and we want to help the less fortunate."
The banquet room quickly filled with the hungry guys from the Tri-Delt Fraternity and their friends. The restaurant staff knew that the owner of the chain of restaurants was there with his wife and they were all determined to give exceptional service to everyone. They also realized that the large football players had huge appetites and served them very large portions of food.
Saul and Helen circulated around the room to make sure that everyone was having a good time. They saw everyone enjoying the party atmosphere and the excellent food and service.
"I need to borrow my son for a few minutes," Saul said to Mike. He led Chris to a corner of the banquet room so they could talk in private. "Jim has the cars at the parking ramp near campus. They're all covered and roped off with a security guard making sure no one messes with them."
"Are you sure we should do this?" Chris asked. "Very few people know that we have the car collection. I don't want anyone to think we're showing off by displaying the cars tomorrow."
"It's time for you to be honest with your friends," Saul said. "Some day you'll display all of your cars, but tomorrow your brothers will see some of the recent additions to your collection. A mini car show will be great entertainment during the Open House."
"Okay," Chris replied. "Did Jim bring the Impala?"
Saul laughed and said that Jim knew that Chris would want that special car included in the display. He suggested that Chris call his friends with Campus Security and the local police so there wouldn't be any problems. Chris always did what Saul suggested, so he called Brian Williams and Tom McMartin to warn them about a group of cars that would get a lot of attention when they circled the campus.
When the meal was finished, Mike begged Chris to return to the fraternity with him. He was upset that Chris repeated that he would return before the Open House and had a commitment to be with his pledge buddies.
"Trust me," Chris asked. "I promise to be back with you real soon."
"Where's Alex?" Mike asked.
"My mutt is staying with Aunt Millie," Chris replied. "She offered to take care of him while we whacked you guys for being a bunch of pricks this week."
"I don't like being apart," Mike admitted. "Please come back to me soon."
The large group left the restaurant with the members begging the pledges to return to the fraternity to discuss plans for the Open House. They still didn't know when the pledges would return or what had been done to get ready for the Open House, which was so important.
The pledges all returned to the Holidome and continued celebrating this major day. Saul and the Vice-Presidents were also staying at the Holidome and joined the pledges in the largest suite for their celebration. The pledges got a lot of recognition for the pranks that they had pulled on the members of the local chapter of the fraternity, and it was a great time for sharing laughs and stories.
The party broke up and the pledges all needed to rest for a few hours before they pulled their next surprise on the members.
College life is always full of surprises...