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A Dark State Championship
Deshawn Harris was walking back from school on a dark rainy day. He was weighed down by his dark blue Yankee sweatshirt. Deshawn hated walking back from school in the rain almost as much as he hated school. Deshawn was a 13 year old eighth grader at Alexander William Middle School. Walking home was especially bad because he lived in New York City so he would get splashed by cars driving by all the time. Deshawn was excited because his Dad said he would have his new cleats with him at his store today and Deshawn needed them for his state championship game this Saturday - only three days away. Once he turned onto the block where his Dad’s Radio Shack was he sprinted down the sidewalk - he was fed up with the rain. When Deshawn walked in he saw that his Dad was working at the counter, “Sup Deshawn, how was school?”
“Boring,” Deshawn sighed.
Deshawn went in back to play with the new Iphone since they don’t have it on display in the front of the store. He plays with it so much he has almost 50 apps on it Deshawn really wants it but his dad always says they can’t afford it. He played Angry Birds for half an hour and then he walked out to go home but he froze when he saw four guys with the same bandana at the counter. He knew what was happening almost instantly. A million thoughts raced through his mind. He couldn’t figure out what to do. He stood there for only a few seconds but it felt like hours to him. He dropped to the ground and crawled behind a shelf and picked up the nearest phone he could find and called 911. “I’m calling from the Radio Shack on 72nd street and we’re about to get robbed - get here fast!” Deshawn said those words as fast and as quiet as he could; he was hoping no one heard him as he hung up the phone. He decided that he needed to get out of there so Deshawn slowly got up and walked out from behind the shelf to see the biggest guy up in Mr. Harris’s face whispering something that Deshawn couldn’t hear and then looked up and saw Deshawn, his eyebrows lowered as he said, “Hey man, what ya doin back there?”
“Notin,” Deshawn replied as confidently as he could.
“Deshawn why don’t you head on home I’ll meet ya there wit your new cleats”, his Dad said.
“I think it’d be best if he stayed,” smirked the biggest guy as he shoved his Dad away from the counter.
“Rickey, take Deshawn home!” His dad said as he started to panic.
“K, let’s go Deshawn.” Rickey was the only other employee working today and he tried to talk like he was in control but it just got Deshawn angry - there was no need to act like the situation was under control anymore. So Deshawn made a run for the door and the guy closest to Deshawn stepped in his way and tried to block him from leaving. Deshawn put a juke move on him and kept going but the guy chased him. Deshawn stopped to open the door; he got it open but was immediately kicked from behind. The sidewalk came up on him so fast he didn’t fully get out his hands and heard his pinky finger crack. As he was getting up he was stomped on from behind and he yelled out in pain as his face slammed into the sidewalk. The blood from his lip and nose dripped into the puddles around him, turning the water red. The guy behind him said, “You should have listened to us, man.” Deshawn started to panic; he thought the guy was going to kill him. He rolled over, jumped to his feet then felt a surge of pain shoot through his body as the handle of the guy’s gun crashed into the side of his head and Deshawn fell to the ground unconscious. The guy turned around and went inside to see Ricky pinned against the wall by the shortest one in the group and Mr. Harris fighting for possession of the register. He had gotten up from being pushed and threw a lightning quick punch at the biggest guy’s face, knocking him off his feet and sending the money in his hands flying. The guy stuffing the electronics into his sack was so shocked it looked like he almost dropped his bag. Mr. Harris started to dial 911 as he ran through the aisles to the back of the store when the big guy on the ground stood up, whipped of some blood from his nose, and pulled the trigger…
Deshawn woke up in his hospital bed with a headache and an empty stomach. He could barely remember what happened during the robbery but he was very concerned about what had happened to his father. He turned to his left and saw his mother. She had tears in her eyes and looked as if she hadn’t blinked in hours but Deshawn knew that couldn’t be possible as she just blinked a few times. “How’s Dad?” Deshawn asked.
Deshawn’s Mom broke out into tears. Deshawn knew what happened but he couldn’t believe it. Could his Dad really be dead? He knew it was true and buried his face into the hospital pillow. He needed to think for a while. A few hours later his Mom came back in and said, “Deshawn we’re going home.”
“K, I’ll get up soon and meet you outside” replied Deshawn. He tried to sound positive so his Mom wouldn’t think he was too upset. Deshawn hadn’t even looked at his injuries yet so he was shocked to see his hand all wrapped up. He also had a piece of tape on his nose which he just ripped off revealing a scab. He also found the stitches in his lip and he counted them with his fingers. He only found three - those where no surprise to him since he could feel them whenever he moved his lips. His headache came back as he got out of the bed and walked into the waiting room where his Mom was. The short ride home was silent. Deshawn’s mom wasn’t talking and Deshawn felt no need to say anything. When he got home he didn’t even think about doing his homework, so he just walked straight into his room and shut the door. He missed his Dad so much. He couldn’t believe he was gone - his Dad was such a big part of his life because he was one of his football coaches and he knew how Deshawn felt about his school work and he would help him with it, and of course he was his Dad. Deshawn barely slept that night and he couldn’t believe it was already time to wake up when his mom walked in his room. “Do I have to go to school,” Deshawn complained to his Mom.
“Yes and don’t argue with me you are fine,” replied Deshawn’s Mom. She always got annoyed when Deshawn complained about school. Deshawn ate some “Wheaties” before he headed out to walk to school. He didn’t answer one question and only talked when he was explaining why he didn’t do his homework. His Mom had emailed them but they didn’t know he was involved. At practice today Deshawn was doing terrible; he was tripping and he knew it wasn’t because of the cleats and he was not running hard but was getting hit hard. He couldn’t concentrate so all of his juke moves looked bad and out of whack. He was really liking his new cleats they were Nike vapor carbons and had good traction. The coaches weren’t yelling at him because of his Dad and Deshawn noticed that and it got him angry. He also got really annoyed whenever someone said sorry about his father because it made him think about it and he didn’t care that they felt sorry for him because none of them knew how he really felt. The next play in the scrimmage was a toss sweep. Deshawn needed to score or get a big gain on this play because he was getting subbed out next play and he wanted to make sure he would be starting tomorrow so he cleared his mind and just thought about this next play. Tyshawn was their quarterback and he took the snap and pitched the football right into Deshawn’s hands and it stuck to his Nike vapor jet gloves. He ran faster than he had all night when he turned the corner and headed up field the outside linebacker was closing in on Deshawn so he cut inside and was going to cut back out but he somehow misjudged where the outside linebacker was. He was hit before he could cut back out he was so shocked that he dropped the ball, a fumble! He was furious at himself, how did he fumble? He hadn’t fumbled all season there was no way he would start tomorrow.
Deshawn woke up on his own the next morning bright and early. He needed to be ready for this game; since he did so bad at practice he would only get a few chances to shine unless he does well in any of them. His team from Brooklyn was playing a team from Queens and they were undefeated too. The team from Queens was supposed to be huge. Deshawn was pretty big - he was 5’ 6” and weighed over a 100 pounds but the team from Queens was supposed to have four kids over six feet tall! Queens was home because they had outscored their opponents by more than his team so Deshawn’s team took a bus. The team was loud on the way over trying to get all pumped up but Deshawn just sat alone and stared out the window for the half hour ride; he was preparing himself mentally for the game. When he saw the other team they were even bigger than he expected. They looked like they “fit” in the large high school stadium. Deshawn was actually glad he wasn’t playing so he wouldn’t have to take any hits from them. “Tyshawn, LaMichael, Deondre, and Tyrese, your captains!” said our head coach, Coach Jackson. The other team’s captains towered over Deshawn’s team captains. His team chose heads and it was tails so Queens was going to receive the opening kick. Deshawn unbuckled his helmet when the coach told him he was off kickoff, kick return, and starting offense for today. He wouldn’t have thought that he did bad enough last night to not be starting on anything but given everything that had happened, he wasn’t himself. Queens returned the kick to the Brooklyn 50 yard line. The return man broke several tackles before he was brought down by Tyrese. On their first play they ran a “flea flicker” where the quarterback hands it off to the running back who then runs forward, then stops and flicks it back to the quarterback who then throws a deep pass. They executed it perfectly and they got a touchdown. For the extra point they brought in their biggest guy who had to weigh over 200 pounds and handed him the ball and he pounded his way in for the one point conversion; no one could bring him down. In most youth leagues it is two points if the extra point is kicked and one if the player runs or passes. Brooklyn tied the game on the next drive with some nice passes thrown by Tyshawn to end the first quarter tied at seven. Deshawn was furious that he had not even gotten to play a snap yet but he knew he would get a chance eventually to prove to the coaches that he can still play and he will be able to concentrate. Halftime came and he still hadn’t gotten in yet and he started to wonder if they were ever going to put him in. Brooklyn was losing 21-14 at halftime and Coach Jackson was yelling at the team during halftime. Deshawn was not planning to end his season like this - he needed to get in. In the fourth quarter LaMichael took a huge hit from the biggest kid on the other team. He came out clutching his arm and he iced it when he got onto the bench. “Deshawn, get over here, you are in!” yelled Coach Jackson.
He ran over and said, “Yah Coach.”
“Deshawn, I need you to go in there at running back and just focus on the game. Get everything else out of your head, okay?” he said.
“K Coach!” Deshawn said as he ran onto the field. The next play Deshawn was getting the ball they were down one touchdown and they had under two minutes left in the game. It was a sweep to the right side; Deshawn’s favorite play he always broke a big run on this play.
“Down, Set, Red 28, Red 28, Hut!” yelled out Tyshawn as he took the snap from the center he spun around and pitched the ball to Deshawn right into his hands. He caught the ball then tucked it into his right arm. Deshawn sprinted as fast as he could to get outside the defensive end then once he had distance he cut up field the outside linebacker was right in front of him so he lowered his shoulder and hit him then spun off and kept running. The next guy after him was the cornerback Deshawn channeled all his anger about his Dad and slammed right into him knocking him over. Deshawn had two more guys to beat the “safety” and one of their six foot linebackers took an angle to cut off Deshawn. Deshawn side stepped forward then cut back around the safety juking him out so bad it made him look silly. Then the linebacker came forward and hit him while he was off balance from the juke so hard his vision doubled when he got hit and he soared backwards with the linebacker crushing him on the landing. Deshawn felt like his head was vibrating from the hit and he was dizzy when he got up. His team had taken a time out to stop the clock with only 30 second reaming in the game.
“Deshawn, you alright? That was a huge hit!” said Coach Jackson.
“Yah I’m fine and I want the ball! Next play I can score!” Deshawn replied.
“No, we have to pass. We need twenty yards and there is only 30 seconds left!” Tyshawn argued.
“Fine but look for me, I’ll be open.” Deshawn said. You could tell Deshawn was mad he didn’t score on the last play. On the next play Deshawn was going to swing outside and then run deep for a pass. Once Tyshawn dropped back for the pass Deshawn ran his route. Once he started going deep he cut in like was going to cut across and then continued to go deep. That move got him wide open so Tyshawn lofted up the ball. The safety saw the ball in the air and ran over to where Deshawn was about to catch it. Deshawn jumped as high as he could and reached as high as he could to try to get to the ball before the safety did. He got it! He got both hands around the ball then pulled it in. Once he landed he pushed off from the safety and made a run for the pile. He accelerated and separated from the safety but the cornerback was still in his way. This was the guy he had just ran over so he knew he would be trying to tackle him low. Deshawn ran forward then dove as high as he could at the one yard line. The cornerback dove under him and Deshawn landed on top of the pile. Touchdown! Deshawn couldn’t believe it! He won the game for his team and they were state champions!
“Great job Deshawn, you did amazing!” Deshawn’s Mom said to him as they were celebrating on the field. Tons of people and teammates were congratulating Deshawn. Deshawn thought that none of them thought he would be able to play well because of what happened to his Dad. “Deshawn, come into the car, I have something to tell you,” his mom told him as they walked back to their car. “Deshawn I now own Dad’s Radio Shack! And in case you didn’t know they caught the robbers because of your phone call,” his Mom said.
“So I guess we will be able to make it without Dad right?” Deshawn said.
“Yes, we will be OK. Deshawn you know that Iphone you always play with? Well, it is yours now, ” Deshawn’s Mom said with a smile on her face. Things would be tough without Dad, but I could tell we would do our best to get by.