It’s Monday, the start of another school week at Williamstown High. Not just any week though, it’s the schools homecoming. Everyone’s excited; easy days, pep rallies and of course the home coming football game for the Braves. No one player seemed to be more fired up than Corey Zimmer, who hasn’t got a single grass stain on his game jersey yet this year. Though he’s had trouble getting playing time, he’s never had a problem getting up for a game.
Corey is a good kid from a rough area, football is his ideal way to stay out of trouble. He has always lacked in the height and weight department so he’s not your prototype running back. But he always had heart, he always worked harder than the man beside him and he always suited up for every game. His father Bill is his biggest supporter. One thing you must know about Bill, he is blind. The best he can do is sit by the press box and listen as the announcers paint the game in words. Although his son Corey only warms the bench Billy still shows up every Friday night, for every game.
This Friday would be different, it would be different because… “Corey Zimmer, report to the main office Corey Zimmer report to the main office. Bring your things” Principle P. announced over the intercom. He zips up his bag and heads out of class. After a long walk down the hall and up the stairs, he enters the office to see the stone faces of Principle P. and coach Jesse. “Hey buddy? Umm… I don’t know how to tell you this.” Coach Jesse struggles to say as he can barley look at Corey.
Corey fears the worst and hears the worst, breaking down immediately after the news. His father was gone. Their house was broken into and robbed by a couple gunmen, Billy was shot three times in the chest and died on the way to the hospital. Coach Jesse had already made arrangements with Coreys aunt to bring him to her place as soon as possible. On the way ‘player and coach’ had a long man to man talk. When they arrived at the house, coach Jesse said before he pulled off, “Take as much time off as you need son. Whenever you’re ready to come back your team will be waiting on ya. Hey and anything I can do, let me know!” Corey nods his head in response with a blank hopeless expression. Sniffs his running nose and then stares back at coach Jesse with red swollen eyes, simply saying, “Thanks.” The door closes.
Viewing Tuesday, Funeral on Thursday, emotions are running high for Corey over this devastating week. No school or football is affecting him negatively as he has too much time to wonder and think. Putting his life on hold is only making a terrible situation worse, so he gets back to it. His classmates were shocked to see Corey already back at school Friday morning. Even more were his teammates as he shows up at the field house on game day after school. Some shared hugs, some said ‘I’m sorry’ and after a few more emotional gestures Corey made sure the grieving was short lived. He then pulled the coach aside, “Remember when you told me if there’s anything you can do, to let you know?” “Yes” the coach answered. Corey’s request, “Let me play!”
For the first time in his high school football career, Corey walked onto the field as the starting running back for the Braves. Early game jitters didn’t exist as he got off to an All-American worthy start. 14 yard rush, 8 yard rush then another 11 yards ripping through tackles gaining every inch with purpose and fight. Not very big, not very fast, but playing like a man possessed; 18 more yards, capped off with a 22 yard score. 5 plays, 5 straight hand offs to Zimmer. “TOUCHDOOOWN Corey Zimmer!” announced beautifully from the press box. Words he wished his father were there to hear. Corey never let up, scoring a total of three touchdowns and running for 196 yards…they won the game convincingly. His team carried him up high cheering wildly after he gave true meaning to the team name, making them all honored to play for the Braves. “What got IN to you out there?” Coach Jesse asks as he slaps Corey on the helmet. He replied, “My Dad finally got to see me play.”