Author's Note: Story contains American football, not soccer football. The rules of the game are difficult to explain and even I don't fully understand them, so I'm not going to attempt to explain them to people who don't watch the game. The good news is you don't need to understand the game to get the story. Just understand that girls usually don't play it. XD
I apologize to all of you football buffs out there for all of the facts I get wrong. None of my guy friends/male cousins play football (they all play baseball or hockey), so I don't have anyone to get actual and accurate information about how a team functions in the locker room. I'm also not the BEST source of how the game works, despite my great love for it and my mom's multiple yells at the TV every Saturday from August to January. Again, though, the actual mechanics of the game really aren't what's important here.
Prologue- I Am My Own
"It's another perfect day for a football game here at Davidson-Carroll Field. Looks like its going to be the perfect start to another season."
"There's nothing like a good first game to start off the season."
"You got that right. Especially the last season for the last Graham quarterbacks to lead the Middleton University team."
"That's true. This is the last season for senior Timothy Graham from the Daniel and Robert Graham family. From what I understand, he's the last boy in the family."
"I can't remember the last time there wasn't a Graham on this football team."
"Looks like we'll just have to wait for another generation of Grahams to come along and dominate this football team once again."
It was Saturday, and the house was practically empty. It was quiet, which rarely if ever happens. The TV was on ESPN, blaring a broadcasted football game that would be seen all over the country if not all over the world. Clearly, it was football season.
"I don't know why you didn't just go," my cousin Lissa said. "You don't have to keep my company or anything."
"Mom wouldn't let me," I said, my eyes trained on the TV even though the game hadn't really started yet. I was trying to soak up the environment through the TV, but it just wasn't the same as being there. "I would've had to miss school yesterday. And practice, technically. If it had been a home game, I would've gone, but it's in Arkansas or something. I dunno. Junior year's important, blah blah blah."
I didn't need to look at Lissa to know she was grinning. "You're still mad that Tim says that you can't play college football."
"No," I corrected easily. "I'm still mad that my parents actually agree with Tim that I can't play college football."
She laughed, and a pillow suddenly hit me in the side of the head. "You're so much smaller than your team now, you dork. Just imagine college boys. Besides, who wants to have their hand shoved in a sweaty guy's ass all the time?"
"Head in ass, hand in between the legs," I corrected absently, chucking the pillow back at her. I didn't bother looking to see whether or not it had actually hit her. "And it's only awkward if you don't know the guy or he's a perv. Jon and I manage because we've been doing it since we were in middle school. Longer, even."
She just laughed. "I still don't—"
"Shh!" I ordered sternly. "The game's starting!" She laughed slightly, and I'm sure she was shaking her head, but I didn't care. I was going to watch a football game. And as soon as they kicked the ball off, I was gone.
The first time I came fully back to my sense was at the end of the first quarter. Lissa handed me a Coke and put the bowl of popcorn down on the couch between us as an image of my family sitting in the stands popped up on the screen.
"And there's the family of the quarterback. Mom Beth, Dad Daniel, and older brothers Jim and Dan. Oldest brother Curt and sister Peyton couldn't be here for today's game."
"I talked to Beth and Daniel before the game. They were talking about how Curt's wife just had their second child."
"Sounds like we won't have to wait long for another generation of Grahams."
"You still have one more to go, ass hole," I grumbled darkly, making Lissa laugh. "And you'll only have to wait two years for her too."
"Aww, c'mon, Pey. Have pity on them simply for the fact that most girls don't play quarterback. Or the fact that there are hardly any girls playing football anyway. And, honestly, what are your chances of actually being able to convince your crazy mother, your slightly sane but still crazy father, and your billion and a half overprotective brothers that you should be allowed to play college football?"
I shot Lissa a slight glare. "I'm working on a plan. And I'm sure that it's not exactly a secret that Timothy Graham's little sister plays football."
Lissa snorted. "Better than he does."
I couldn't help a slight grin. "Yeah, a little better than he does." I looked back at the screen to see that the Sparks were on defense. "I don't know, Liss. It's something I really want to do. Why can't they understand that?"
"Because you're their only daughter," Lissa said, smiling more than a little sympathetically. "It's just a matter of trying to reconcile what you want with their need to protect you."
I sighed a little dramatically. "I'm going to play college football, you know."
She laughed. "I bet you will, Peyton."
"I have complete and utter faith in you."
I nodded. "Even if I never wear the Middleton red and orange or ever have get to call myself a Spark, I'm going to play college football. I might end up in some little school in the middle of North Dakota that plays six games per season, but I'm going to be the freaking starting quarterback for a college team."
"Go for it, Pey."
I smiled to myself and nodding determinedly. That said and decided, I turned back to watch the rest of the game.
Author's Note: This was written for NaNoWriMo '07, so some words may be spaced oddly or the descriptions might be a bit excessive. Like it? Don't like it? Review and tell me!