Elias (Uplifted Spirit)
Coach Mills called my parents that same evening. My dad told him what he had to do if he wanted me to move to the varsity. Coach Mills was reluctant at first, but he and my dad agreed to meet the next day after practice.
I practiced with the JV team. The guys kept asking me if I was going to the varsity. Most of the them told me they needed me and not to. A few said they'd kill for the opportunity. I was somewhere in the middle.
My dad, Coach Mills, Coach Gilbert, and I met in the coaches' office after practice, but my dad surprised everyone by telling us he'd made arrangements for us to meet with Principal Evans in his conference room. Coach Mills grumbled. "That wasn't our agreement."
My dad looked Coach Mills in the eye. "Do you have an objection?"
"Uh. Uh. You just surprised me is all. I thought we could work this out just among ourselves."
My dad smiled. "That's what we're doing. Don't you think it's a good idea to bring the principal into the discussion?"
"I'd have rather we just do it here."
Dad lifted an eyebrow. "I think we'd better head to Mr. Evans' office."
Coach Mills grumbled again and Coach Gilbert gave a half-smile as we headed out of the office.
We sat around the table in the principal's conference room and I was reminded of the day all the parents met with Mr. Evans. I've got to tell you, I have nothing but great respect for the man.
Coach Mills turned to Mr. Evans and thanked him for taking the time to meet with us. All I could think was, What a hypocrite.
Mr. Evans cleared his throat. "So where to we stand?"
Coach Gilbert may have authored much of what we were going to do, but he didn't say a word.
My dad went through the list. "Coach Mills, this is what we would like to see if Matt is going to move up to varsity. First, you will make sure he is not bullied. Second, that he will play at least ten minutes a game. Third, he will receive the same coaching as the other quarterbacks. Fourth, this will be put in writing and signed by you, Coach Gilbert, Mr. Evans, Matt, and me. Do you have a problem with any of these conditions?"
Mills shook his head. "I'm not sure I can guarantee he'll play ten minutes a game. A lot depends on whether we're ahead or behind. As far as the bullying, I don't always have control of that. I can only do my best."
Mr. Evans stepped in. "Coach Mills, I've already let you know what I expect you to do with regard to bullying. I expect you to follow my direction. Either you want Matt on the varsity or not. Are you willing to do what's necessary?"
Mills squirmed in his seat. "Well, yeah. I'm just saying that I can't control everything that happens at all times."
Mr. Evans turned to Coach Gilbert. "Have you had any problems with your players?"
"The first couple days, but generally, the boys have really been good. I don't want to step on any toes, but the boys have gotten harassment from the varsity mostly because the varsity coaches do not monitor the locker room."
"Is this true, Coach Mills?" Mr. Evans pressed.
"Well, uh, we can't be every place at once. We have to plan practice and have coaches' meetings."
Evans questioned, "Is there any reason you can't do those things once the boys are out of the locker room? Seems like a simple solution to me. Coach Gilbert is doing it. I expect the same from you."
Mills gave Coach Gilbert a quick look.
Mr. Evans grabbed a stack of stapled sheets from the chair beside him, placed them on the table, and passed them around to everyone. "Here's a copy of the agreement and a place for all of you to sign." He turned to Coach Mills. "Coach, I expect you to meet every section of this agreement. I don't want to hear any excuses. You are bringing up Matt where he's a starter and it would be a crime to have him sitting on the bench. So you must make sure he plays. Is that understood?"
Mills pursed his lips, looked down, glanced at me, and nodded.
"Let me emphasize," Evans went on. "The Spence's will have a legitimate lawsuit against you and the school if you do not live up to this contract. Is that also understood?"
Mills nodded again.
Evans signed his agreement and passed it to Coach Mills. He kept signing them until everyone had a chance to sign every copy. There was even a place for me to sign. Sure made me feel special. But I have to tell you, I was scared. The varsity players were bigger and more experienced than me. There was no way of knowing what Mills would do. But I knew I had to do it if I wanted to be great quarterback. Making decisions is a part of life. Some are good. Some are bad. Some cause us to tie knots in our lives. But they're our decisions and we have to take responsibility for them. Of course, when things go bad, we'd rather blame someone else. I hoped that would never happen to me.
I couldn't ignore the fact that Andy and I were having sex, that I felt I was tying knots in my life and dragging them up a hill like in my dream. But I made the decisions and had to accept them. I started to think of Gina more and more that week. I kept thinking how proud she'd be that I was going to be on varsity football. Emily would be the same. All the girls in our class would feel the same way.
And now, I'd agreed to a foursome over the weekend after my date with Gina on Friday. It almost felt like I was cheating on her. The idea passed through my mind that I should tell her about Andy and hope she'd understand. And then I thought, Lots of luck. That's one decision I was glad I put off.
But the future of my football life was being changed because of a decisions I made. I'm sure my parents would have gone along with whatever I wanted. The thought that I'd be practicing with the varsity from then on scared the shit out of me. My life was going to take another turn. I kept praying it was a good knot I was tying and not a bad one. But I really had no idea.
I started practicing with the varsity the next day, Wednesday. The worst thing to happen that first day was my locker was moved next to Jackass Barnes. I'd no longer be next to Andy. It seemed like Coach Mills was already starting with me, so I went right into his office and told him I wanted to be moved.
"Matt, we may have an agreement, but that doesn't include where your locker's located."
"But Barnes doesn't like me. He's always in my face or Andy's."
Mills scratched his cheek. "Ignore him."
"Didn't you agree to make sure I don't get bullied? Barnes is going to bully me."
Milled grumbled. "If he bothers you, let me know."
I raised my voice. "I'm trying to tell you, the guy's going to bully me. Just move me."
Mills gave a low laugh. "Football players are supposed to be tough. Don't be such a wimp. Live with it, but be sure to let me know if he bothers you."
The whole conversation pissed me off. I was ready to tell him to take the varsity QB and shove it up his ass, but my desire to play on the varsity, was stronger than my desire to quit.
Barnes patted me on the ass when I finished dressing.
"Keep you hands to yourself," I snapped.
"Oh sorry, Matty, it was an accident."
I flipped him off and headed out to the field. Gordon Thompson and Frank Kutcher were tossing the ball back and forth. They ignored me when I walked over to join them. It took everything in me to say, "Throw me one."
They didn't, but what did happen, was one of the second string receivers came up to me and patted me on the back. "Throw me a few."
It's strange, but it made me feel the same joy I felt when Andy and I lay naked together or when I kissed Gina. I know that's an odd thing to think, but there are things in life like that. We can have that kind of affect on people when we take the time to be human.
Coach Mills joined his assistants on the field and practice began. I no longer was leading warm ups. The varsity lined up in seven lines in front of the captain, and I was in the seventh line.
We split up into positions for coaching and while the quarterback coach, Coach Timmons, a former second string quarterback in college, coached me like he did the others, but Thompson and Kutcher acted like I didn't exist. Timmons was tall and thin and appeared to know his stuff. I thought of Dillon and Andy every time he touched me to show me how to do something. It was innocent, but life has a way of intruding when we'd least expect it.
I learned a lot in that short time with Coach Timmons. Next, we got together with the receivers and threw the ball to them as they ran various pass routes. I did pretty well, and Coach Timmons complimented me. Kutcher gave me a dirty look. When he got a chance to get close to me and out of ear shot of Timmons, he whispered, "Don't get cocky asshole. You're not taking my job. They're not going to let some fag play ahead of me."
I whispered back. "You're a dumb shit. If you weren't, you'd know better than to threaten the guy behind you and piss him off. It makes him want your job all the more."
He grunted. "I'm not worried about some guy who likes cock getting my job."
He just assumed I was gay without knowing anything, so I didn't bother to say I was raped and act like I was defenseless. After all, while he really didn't know it, he was right. "Yeah, but you're really going to be pissed when I fuck you in the ass and take your job," I said right back to him.
He shoved me.
"Kutcher, what's going on there?" Timmons yelled.
"Nothing Coach. We're just having a friendly disagreement."
"Yeah, Coach," I agreed.
"Well, knock if off."
Eventually, the entire team got together. I played the opposing team's quarterback when we ran their offense against our defense. When we ran their defense, I got to play defensive back. Some guys made some comments now and then, but all in all, it went pretty well.
I glanced over at the JV team and there was Andy playing quarterback. He always liked to say that when he was having sex it was like he'd died and gone to heaven. I have to tell you at that moment, he looked like he'd died and gone to heaven. A smile crossed my face because he seemed to have some of his old confidence back just by the way he led the team and ran the plays. The trauma and bitterness of the broken leg mellowed him and made him appreciate what he now had. At that moment, I was happy I'd moved up to varsity, and he could now fulfill his dream.
I glanced at the varsity practice during JV practice to see how Matt was doing. It was hard to tell, but from the little I could see, he didn't do a bad job when he was running the opposition's offense. He looked unsure of himself most of the time, but hell, it was his first day.
Being quarterback again made me feel like I'd died and gone to heaven. I know I say that about sex too. It seems strange to be saying it here, but being quarterback again was awesome. There's something different about this kind of accomplishment. Maybe it's because others see you do it. Sports are about being a team. They're public. Sex is awesome, but it's private. It's not like you've done something spectacular. Hell, even dogs, cats, and rabbits do it. I suppose you could call a foursome a team, but obviously, anyone reading this knows they're not the same.
Randy and Thomas were our running backs and every time we got in the huddle, I couldn't help but think about Saturday and Sunday. Now and then, they'd give me a shit-eating grin. It's going to be awesome.
Tomorrow will be an easy day without pads. I can't wait for Friday's game. Matt's got a date with Gina and I don't have anything going on. Emily's going with Allan and my only chance for a little action is Thomas and Randy. But I'm not sure how Matt would feel about that. I know he's in for a foursome this weekend, but he might feel betrayed if I did something with them on Friday. But hell, he was going out with Gina. Why shouldn't I be able to go out with Thomas and Randy? I guess I should talk to him and see where he stands. There wasn't any doubt in my mind that he'd want me to wait until Saturday.
Chapter Quote 2: The size of your accomplishments, the quality of your achievement, will
depend very largely on how big a man you see in yourself, what sort of image
you get of your possible self, yourself at your best. -- Orison Swett Marden
Chapter Quote 3: The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right. Which one are you?" -- Henry Ford
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I'd like to thank Lisa for taking the time to edit Knots. As the author, I take final responsibility for all parts of the story, including any errors.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales, is purely coincidental and no slanderous intent is implied.