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Alex Bennet was like any other seventeen year old senior in high school, living the life of a jock. He really wasn’t the most popular kid, but people still liked and enjoyed hanging out with him. What else would you want right? Well, Alex did want more. He had high ambitious dreams of making it big in the world. Making a name for himself on the grid iron. Football was this kid’s dream. During the off season, Alex would jog, lift weights, practice footwork, watch old game films so he could watch his mistakes and learn how to better it next time. But, somehow he manages to find time for his social life as well.
Alex had been dating Brandie Faylen for about two years now, a cute girl, with long beautiful honey brown hair that draped down to about the middle of her back, and pretty green blue eyes. Everyone thought that Alex and Brandie would be together forever, you could tell just by looking at these two that they really had feelings for each other. Brandie was also a cheerleader for the Cloverton high Sentinels, the football team at their school.
The Cloverton High Sentinels were ranked number one in state for class 3A, and have been for the past 9 years, and everyone was counting on this years state championship win to get the full decade of being top dogs, and bragging rights for a whole other year. Alex’s position was wide receiver. Last season he had forty-three catches for 327 yards and 16 touchdowns, also he was awarded the offensive “MVP” of the year, but the Sentinels weren’t number 1 just because of Alex. We have Brady Johnson, QB, who’s got an arm like Brett Favre. With a completion percentage of 71, last season he threw 34 touchdown passes. Tyrese Reed, the running back, this is the smallest, fastest guy you will meet. He’s 5’4’’ 180 lbs. and runs a 4.3 forty yard dash. Then you got the big muscle, Gary Rogers. 6’5’’, 285 lbs, this guy benches 340, and last season he had 27 sacks, 48 tackles, and 62 assists. He’s got a full ride next fall to go to Michigan State to play. The sentinels were set with the talent they needed, but even with that their skill would be tested in the coming Friday with the biggest rivalry game of the season against Riverton High.
That whole next week, Alex was pumped for the upcoming game. Both teams have been undefeated up to this point in the season, so the big question was who is going to remain with the lossless season. After school got out on Monday, Alex and the guys hit the weight room, which was always filled with the football players when they weren’t in school, practice, a game, or sleeping. They were very devoted to reaching their goal of a decade of being number 1, but today there was a new kid in there. His name was Riley Jacobs. He looked to be about seventeen or eighteen, and he was in very good shape. So being guys, Alex and his teammates were talking to Riley asking if he played any sports and what he’s interested in. Turns out he was just an all-star linebacker for his team back in Dallas before he moved, but because of the school’s rules and regulations, he wasn’t allowed to play in this year’s sports so he was S.O.L for this season. But the guys asked him if he would like to lift with them and take part in the ‘BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER’ work out plan with them, but he declined their offer. Instead he asked Alex and his buddies if they wanted to take the ‘protein drink’ that he uses and gets amazing results from.
Brady asked “What’s all in that drink you think works so well?”
“Oatmeal, whey protein, muscle milk, whole milk and some ‘extra stuff’ if u know what I mean.” Riley replied.
“What do u mean ‘extra stuff?” Asked Ben Adder, another boy on the team.
“Well, if you boys don’t mind breaking the rules a little bit, it’s a powder you add to your protein shake and it has the same effect as steroids but is undetectable by any test out there so you won’t even have to worry about getting caught.”
But as soon as Riley had said the words “steroids” all they guys have already made up their mind.
“Na, we’ll pass on that man” said Alex “we don’t need any help in that area, but thanks anyway”
He laughs. “Fair enough,” said Riley, “To each his own, right?”
But that night Alex got to thinking… if he did take that drink with Riley he would for sure do great in the game. And there were going to be some important big time scouts at this game, being one of the most talked about games in the area all year. Alex had made up his mind. He was going to talk to Riley tomorrow after school and tell him that he would like to try it. He fell asleep thinking about how well he was going to do in the game. He couldn’t wait.
The next day Alex tried talking to Riley in between classes, but when he looked where his locker was he had already gone to his next class, so Alex decided he would just wait till after practice. The next class was AP Bio and Alex had that class with a few of his teammates. When he walked in his buddies were in their usual spot in the back right of the room. They were talking about the previous day in the weight room when Riley had asked them to take “the drink” as they started to call it.
“Why would that guy even ask if we wanted to do that with him.” said Tyrese coldly.
“Yea is he retarded or something?” replied Gary from the back of the group.
“What do you think about him, Alex?” asked Tyrese.
This was the first time that Alex had even thought about how his friends would react if he told them that he planned on telling Riley later that day that he wanted to try “the drink”, so right away his first reaction was to protect himself, so he lied.
“I honestly think he’s out of his damn mind. Didn’t you notice how calmly he talked about it? He’s gotta be nuts man,”
Squeaked Alex, almost immediately after the question was asked to try and play it off like he really disliked him.
Later that day after, practice got over, Alex was determined to find Riley and tell him of his plans. Earlier at lunch (he could never seem to locate Riley in the school’s oversized cafeteria), he had been asking people if Riley drove to school or rode the bus and no one could give him a straight answer so he decided to just walk home hoping that he would somehow run into Riley.
Alex was glad that he decided to walk home because it gave him time to think and collect his thoughts. He really wasn’t impressed with himself for lying to them, but there is no way they could or would find out. He kept playing the scene in his head of his friends finding out and how mad they would be. But then the thoughts of how cool it would be to be the class that kept the title of being number one as it has been for many years. Or at least it seemed to be the way the whole town would talk about “the decade” of being top of the line. Alex smiled and laughed aloud at the thought of everyone’s reaction when they came off the bus from coming back from the state championship game with another win.
“What are u laughing at over there?” asked a voice that Alex knew very well. It was Brandie.
“O, hey hun, what’s up? I missed u after practice and I have a lot of homework so I wanted to get a good start on it.” He lied as he ran across the street.
“O its ok, don’t worry, practice got out pretty late today. So how are u?”
“Actually, my stomach feels kinda funny. I don’t know why either. Its weird.” He replied.
“Hmm, well did u eat something bad at lunch today?”
Alex thought back to what he ate and instead of saying what he ate he said, “What isn’t bad at lunch, babe it’s school lunch.” They laughed together as the bus squeaked to a halt in front of them.
“Well I guess Ill see you tomorrow babe, I think im going to just walk home seeing as how it’s only another two blocks.” Alex said as Brandie started for the bus door.
“Ok, I’ll see your later honey. Love you.” She replied.
“Love you too.” He said as she walked up the stairs and sat with Vanessa one of her friends.
Alex turned to start his walk home and then he heard a voice behind him say
“Aren’t you two just the cutest couple?” It was Riley.
“You could call it that I guess.” Alex chuckled. “Hey how come you haven’t been in school today?”
“I've got better things to do,” retorted Riley.
“huh, o well. Anyway I wanted to ask you something?”
“O yea, what’s that.”
“Well I was wondering about that drink you use. Does it actually work?” asked Alex.
“Obviously, ha-ha! Otherwise I probably wouldn’t still drink it.”
“Good point, well do you think I could maybe get some to try out”
“How did I know you were going to ask that” said riley with a smirk upon his face. “ha-ha sure why not” he said as he set his back pack down.
He reached into it and pulled out a fairly large white cylinder that Alex assumed that that was the stuff he was looking for Alex pulled out of his bag his football water bottle, took off the cap, then had Riley put as much of “the drink” as he offered to.
“Thanks man.” Said Alex enthusiastically.
“No problem dude, anytime.” Alex smiled nodded his head then turned to finally finish his walk home.
The whole rest of the week before Friday Alex worked out twice a week, once in the morning and again after practice. He could tell “the drink” was working. He didn’t know exactly what it was but it worked. Whatever the weight was that he was maxing out on before he was now repping. Everyone started to notice too. The whole football team would just watch him while he lifted because soon he started to lift just as much as some of the weaker lineman now. Alex loved his new muscles, but he wasn’t stupid either. He made a promise to himself that he wouldn’t take “the drink” again after this upcoming game. He knew it was bad but he really wanted this win.
The morning of the game everyone was excited. There was a buzz through the hallways all day long. Once school was over for the day, the excitement only grew. Alex was silent, just speechless until the game, but this wasn’t unusual for him. In the locker room Alex dressed, took a few deep breaths, and he was ready for the battle to begin, he was ready to win. They took the field knowing this was the biggest game of the season. The game that would decide if they could conquer the feat of being number one ten years in a row.
The game went very slow; both teams would stop each other to three and out on every possession. Even the best plays were being stopped dead. By half time the score was still zero to zero. The locker room was ghostly quiet. The players were beaten up, tired, but they were very determined to win. They knew it would take everything they had to win.
During the third quarter, Alex had six catches for eighty yards, but still no touchdown. The fourth quarter came and again drug on. With two minutes left Alex knew this was his time to shine. He wanted the ball. He wanted the win. He got into the huddle with a plan. He told Brady, the quarterback, that he wanted to run a deep post pattern and burn the defender to get the only points of the game for the win and be top dogs.
“Alright this is it buddy all or nothing on this one man let’s get it!” said Tyrese.
“Hut … hut….HIKE! Brady screamed.
Almost instantly the crowd went insane. Brady took a five step drop back and waited for the opportune moment to throw him the ball. Alex ran, ran so fast he amazed himself.
“Get off me” murmured Brady through his mouth guard as he ducked and the defensive end rolled over the top of his back.
He rolled out and saw his opening for Alex so he planted his feet and let loose. The crowd fell completely silent. With a flying leap Alex jumped for the ball, his hands wrapped around the ball like a blanket around a new born. On his descent to greatness his heart dropped. Three yards away, barreling straight towards him full boar was the Riverton Beast’s line backer. Just as fast as his feet hit the turf, they had left again. The entire crowd was on their feet, the bleachers shook with impatience. Alex flew back through the air, flipping, losing his coordination, and the ball. He felt himself land awkwardly with a loud crack and then it was quiet. Then came the darkness. He was out cold. His entire world seemed to have come to a screeching halt.
While Alex was rushed to the hospital the game went on. When Alex had dropped the ball it was called incomplete. The next play the team was very shook up from the loss of their starting receiver and close friend. The snap was fumbled the Riverton Beasts recovered. They moved the ball deep into Sentinel’s territory. With two seconds left in the game the Beasts decided to just be safe and go for the field goal. It was good. The final score was 3 to 0 with the Beasts on top. It was all over
“Alex… ALEX!” he opened his eyes to a very shocking bright light. He was out of his uniform and wearing a lightly colored hospital gown. He was staring face to face with a man in a white coat looking very disappointed.
The doctor spoke very sternly, “We found a chemical in your body that inhibits proper bone flexation; have you been taking anything unusual?”
He looked down and tears filled his eyes immediately. He had casts on both of his legs. Right then Alex laid his head back and continued to cry. He knew that the chemical that messed with his legs could only be “the drink.”
“Alex, I’m sorry but you’ll never be able to play football again.” Said the doctor regretfully and walked out of the room.
His parents asked and asked, “Are u taking drugs? What did the doctor mean ‘chemical’?”
He could do nothing but cry and wish he wouldn’t have talked to Riley that day.