Sam Waters stood motionless in the locker room. The sights and sounds of his teammates, preparing themselves for the biggest game of the season, flooded his senses.
Sweat, and muscle relaxant penetrated his nostrils as he breathed deeply through his nose. The sound of sports tape being torn from its roll intermixed with the players’ murmurs.
This was the game where they would win it all, and when Sam would go on to fame and fortune. Coach Peters told Sam it was his time.
Coach ‘Stanky’ Peters had been Sam’s mentor and biggest fan over the past three years.
Stanky, thought Sam. How could you go through life with a name like Stanky? Must have been some party.
His thoughts were interrupted by his mentor’s voice.
“Okay boys,” said coach Peters. He raised his hands to quiet the team. “We’ve worked hard all year. We’ve gone over the game plan, and studied the enemy. We’re ready for them, and we will beat them.”
A collective, “Hoo, Hoo” rumbled through the room.
Coach Peters grinned slightly. “Nothing more needs to be said, boys. Let’s go out there and show’em how it’s done.”
Cheers and shouts of victory filled the room, causing an adrenaline rush in Sam that he had never before experienced.
Bobby, the team’s mentally handicapped water boy, pushed open the main locker room door. A thunderous hum of conversations from a capacity crowd filled the locker room.
“G-g-g-go get’em boyth,” Bobby exclaimed.
Sam half-jogged, half-danced his way to the door to greet the players as they left. Slaps to the buttocks, high fives, and shoulder crashes highlighted the team’s entry on to the field.
The crowd roared as their fearless captain followed his team on to the playing field.
He strolled to centerfield and knelt on one knee in the middle of the Highlanders’ logo. As he had done every other game in his senior year, he reached down and pinched a few blades of grass between his thumb and forefinger. Lifting them to his nose, he sniffed at the sweet aroma of freshly cut grass.
He tossed the clippings into the breeze, and closed his eyes to absorb the electrifying atmosphere of the crowd around him.
Senior year. Championship football game. All-star quarterback. Captain of the team. Was this all just a dream?
He inspected the stands for scouts that were no doubt rating his performance today. The NFL was only months away now, he thought.
His team won the coin toss, and took possession of the ball.
Sam watched as the ball sailed high into the brilliant white sphere hanging high above him. It floated through the deep blue atmospheric reservoir, not a cloud to be seen in the entire sky.
He jumped high in the air, caught the ball with one hand, and charged down the field.
The muscles in his legs worked like those connector rods between the main drive cylinder and the driving wheels on the old steam engine trains he had studied earlier in the year.
Effortlessly, he drove ahead while his blockers removed any danger that threatened him.
Twenty yards. Thirty yards. Forty yards.
“Ughf.” Sam crumpled to the ground in a heap, his right leg twisting awkwardly behind him. Snap!
Dear God, don’t take this dream from me, he thought, and then lost consciousness.
He awoke to the sight of a nurse standing over him, fixing his pillow.
She was beautiful. Her shoulder-length brown hair partially covered the most gorgeous green eyes he had ever seen. Her smile could cause a room full of sailors to fall over themselves.
“Hello, Sunshine,” she said gleefully.
* * *
The pastor paused to look up from his notes. His steel-blue eyes and graying hair revealed a lifetime of stories and experiences to his congregation.
His hopes and dreams had been destroyed, and it wasn’t until this very moment that he truly recognized God’s guiding hand on that day.
He cleared his throat and boldly stated, “That, my friends, is how I met my beautiful wife, Cynde, thirty years ago from this day.”
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