Chapter 15 | Not All Football Players Are Smooth
𝐀 𝐕 𝐀 𝐋 𝐎 𝐍
Coach taps his foot against the floor as he sits behind his desk. His hand raises to take off his coach’s hat before he puts it back on almost straight after. My eyebrow raises at his obvious nervous state, as I sit across from him with my notepad in hand. After coming back from the cabin a few weeks ago. Attending practices, classes, my job and the guys’ football games has become the new normal. Professor Morgan had conducted mid-semester checks on our assignments and interviewing coach had been her idea. She wanted an overview of the team from the coach who had coached a lot of different athletes over the years at USC.
“Um...are you okay, coach?”
He clears his throat, sitting up a little straighter. “I’m fine. Just not used to being interviewed, I guess. I thought you’d stick to the players.”
“Well, all the players I’ve interviewed speak highly of you and it’s not just the players who are a part of this time, you are too. You’ve coached a lot of different athletes, and different teams you’ve coached have all had different ability levels. Produced many NFL athletes.”
“So, this will go in your article?”
I nod my head and he scratches at his beard, who knew coach could be made nervous by a journalism student. “Ok, so as a coach when you’re deciding or looking at high school candidates to join the USC team what do you look for?”
“Well, a number of things. Their talent and ability, what they’re looking to get out of the team, whether they’re interested in entering the draft. How well they would gel with the guys already on the team, team players really. The last thing we need on that field is a player who is trying to compete against his own teammates.”
“I’m guessing not all the players will get along though?”
He shakes his head. “Of course not, between personal drama off the field with girls and most of them living in the football house where living together can get hard they don’t always get along. But I make it very clear from the start, any personal problems off the field stay off the field. As soon as they walk onto that field, whether for practice or for a game, they leave it behind.”
“Obviously, you won’t win every game. I mean, the guys lost the last one, and the mood that night and the following practice was down. How do you guys get over that?”
“The team isn’t perfect. No team is. There’s no guarantee you’ll win every game. I think losing shows the characters of the players. They need to bounce back, push themselves harder and think about what went wrong and how to improve. Usually, the practice after a loss is the hardest but they bounce back.”
A knock on the door breaks us out of our conversation, and as soon as coach shouts for them to come in the assistant coach walks through.
“Sorry, didn’t know you were busy,” He leans against the door, holding a file in his hand.
“It’s ok, I got everything I need for my article anyway between you and the players,” I shrug, standing up and gathering my things.
“Ava, let’s maybe not tell the team that interviews make me nervous. No need to give them a reason to think I’m not as scary as I need them to think I am,” Coach coughs out and I chuckle before nodding my head and making my out of his office. Making my way through the building, I jump a little as Aiden appears at my side.
“Well, isn’t this a surprise. What are you doing over this side of campus?” Aiden questions as we walk out of the building.
“Interviewing coach, my professor thought it would be a good idea to get his view on the team,” I explain, and he nods his head in understanding.
“Ahh, he get nervous? He thinks we don’t know he gets nervous with interviews, but we’ve known for ages.” Aiden mentions and I laugh. “Let me guess, he asked you not to tell us?”
I nod my head. “He did. He can’t really put anything past you guys, can he? Since you’re here, how are things with Sierra?”
“They’re good. We’ve been getting serious, I’m actually heading to her place right now. You know her well, I was thinking since we’re getting serious and we’ve spent a lot of time together, acting like a couple that I would ask her to be my girlfriend,” Aiden rubs the back of his neck as my eyes widen.
“That’s great! You’re good for her, and we can all easily see how much you care about her. I’m sure she’ll say yes. I have a shift at the bar and her, Hannah and Liv are coming by later tonight so I’m sure I’ll find out what her answer was then,” I nudge his side as he chuckles. “Good luck!”
He waves before heading off in the direction of the parking lot as I head in the other direction to the bar.
“Here’s to our Sierra, she is single no more and in fact is now sharing a bed with a very good-looking muscly football player.”
All three of the girls take a shot as I lean against the bar next to where they’re sat. They slam their empty shot glasses back down onto the bar as their face pinches while the alcohol goes down. Matteo takes the empty shot glasses and puts them behind the bar.
“So, how did he ask you?” Liv questions, squeezing the lime into her mouth.
Sierra laughs. “Well, he is not smooth. I will tell you that. He was rambling a lot, it was cute.”
“Guess not all athletes are smooth huh?” Hannah laughs and we all agree. “So, does this mean you’ll be doing a couple’s costume next week for the Halloween party at Noah’s parents’ place?”
“Maybe. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Nick and I definitely are, I manage to talk him into it,” Liv chuckles, shaking her head. “Are you coming, Matteo?”
“Yeah, it’s been a while since Matt and I came out with you lot. Which I’m sure he doesn’t miss Ava getting my ass drunk and him having to babysit me,” Matteo chuckles, cleaning some glasses.
“I’m surprised Noah’s parents let him throw a party full of college students at their house,” Hannah mentions.
“His parents head down to their grandparents’ place every Halloween. Apparently, their neighborhood isn’t the greatest for trick or treating, so they go down there, and he throws a party every Halloween. They don’t mind as long as nothing gets broken, and it’s tidy when they come back,” Liv explains, having been to the party over the years.
“Well, it works out great for us. You know we’ve been partying a lot more since we met these guys, I love it,” Hannah admits, and I chuckle.
I laugh. “Of course you do. Has Sebastian tried to contact you since we got back from the cabin?”
She nods her head. “A few times. I always ignore his calls.”
“You should let me answer your phone, I’ll give him a piece of my mind,” Sierra scoffs, taking a sip of her drink.
“He’s not worth it,” I tell her.
“I can accidentally knock a drink over him next time I see him here if you want,” Matteo shrugs, making us laugh.
“He wouldn’t step in here, knowing I work here. Cause he would know I would pour something over him.”
“This is the whole, you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us situation, right?” Matteo smirks and we nod our heads. “I fear for any guys who break any of your hearts.”
“We’re a force to be reckoned with...well they are, I’m as scary as a puppy according to Nick,” Liv explains, and we all agree with that analogy.
“You’re too pure for this world,” Hannah pouts hugging Liv who chuckles.
Matteo checks his watch before looking at me. “Your breaks up.”
Sighing, the girls look at me sympathetically before Matteo slides a tray of drinks over to me, pointing over to the table they need to go to. Picking it up and flashing him my usual customer service smile, he chuckles, and I walk off.
Back to work I go.