( Intermediate Level )
High school is the time of your life when you discover yourself. You hang out with friends, have a girlfriend and if you are lucky, be part of the popular crowd.
Billy Randall was just this. He was a promising young athlete. He made the varsity football team, and with that popularity follows. Not to mention, all the girls wanted the chance to date a member of the football team. It had not taken him long to have a girlfriend by his side.
You had to prove you had extraordinary talents, as a freshman, to be on the varsity team, which was reserved for juniors and seniors and an occasional sophomore.
Billy’s passion for football had started at a young age. He remembered the day when he received his first football. It was on his fifth birthday.
His dad and he would play for hours every Sunday. Tossing around the football at each other. Billy would tell his father, one day, he was going to be a professional. He would play on an NFL team.
Billy’s high school football team had an exceptional winning season. They had one game left in the season. The championship game against a rival school. This Friday would determine the overall season champions.
The day before the big game, Thursday, it was traditional to have a homecoming dance. At this dance they would vote for a king and queen, usually, those who were the most popular were voted for.
Of course, Billy had asked his girlfriend, Amber, to go with him. She, like Billy, held special popularity status. She was the head cheerleader for two years in a row.
Thursday night came quickly. Billy was given permission to drive his dad’s car to the dance. His father had given him strict instructions.
“You may pick up Amber, and go directly to the dance. Once the dance is over, you are to come directly home after you drop her off at her home.”
Billy was a little annoyed that his father made such a rule. He felt he was responsible enough. After all, he was on the varsity team and always kept his grades up at school.
The night had come for the homecoming dance. Billy had borrowed his dad’s blue tie and sported his favorite dress shirt along with a new pair of dark blue pants.
Like most moms, Billy was busy taking pictures and telling him how handsome he was. She took pictures of him alone, then with his dad, and of course one with her.
After all of mom’s excessive picture taking, Billy had made his way to the front door. He gave his mom a hug and told his dad he would be home right after the dance. This was a promise.
He arrived at Amber’s house about twenty minutes later. She was so beautiful. She wore a long blue gown that had matched Billy’s tie. Her hair was pulled up into a bun with ringlets cascading to her shoulders. Billy smiled and told her how beautiful she was.
Billy and Amber arrived at the dance. His fellow teammates were already there. The two made their way over to the group. Everyone was having a great time. They danced and talked endlessly.
The time had come where they would announce the winners of the homecoming court. Everyone gathered by the stage. All the votes had been tallied and the announcer held the results in her hand.
The announcer looked around the room keeping everyone in suspense. She then said, “The homecoming king is Billy Randall!”
The crowd clapped and whistled as Billy made his way to the stage to receive his crown. His teammates had given him high fives as he passed them.
“Now for the homecoming queen,” said the announcer, is Amber Smith!” Her friends, too, ran up and gave her big hugs, congratulating her.
Each, now, wore their crowns to the dance floor where it was customary for the newly crowned to dance a few minutes alone with spotlights on them. Others could join after a few moments.
As Billy and Amber danced he said to her,” This night is magical. Thank you for coming with me. Whoever thought I would be a king and here dancing with such a beautiful queen.”
The night had come to an end. The team had their championship game tomorrow night so each said their goodbyes. Walking out together, Billy yelled, “See you at the game tomorrow night!”
Billy opened the car door for Amber, he waited for her to slip in, then he shut the door. He made his way over to the driver’s side. As he got in, Amber said, ” I will never forget this night.”
They pulled out onto the street heading towards Amber’s house. As they talked aimlessly regarding the night’s events, Billy had pulled up to a red light and stopped.
They were talking about how much fun they had. Laughing when they spoke of someone’s dancing skills.
Billy had not noticed the light turned green until the car behind them beeped their horn. Billy signaled to the driver an apologetic wave and proceeded forward. This was a mistake. He had forgotten to look both ways.
What was a fun-filled night ended in tragedy. Billy and Amber were hit by a drunk driver speeding through, what was now, a red light for that driver. Glass shattering, the sound of metal bending and screams were heard.
Many stopped and tried to help. By the time the paramedics arrived, unfortunately, it was too late, Amber and Billy did not survive.
The drunk driver survived with only a few scrapes and bruises. He was, obviously, unaware of the tragedy that had just occurred. He would wake up later, in the hospital, in handcuffs.
Parents of both Amber and Billy were notified, later in the evening of the accident, by the local police. Each disbelieving what they heard. Eventually realizing their children would not be coming home.
It was too late to cancel the championship game since the opposing team would be traveling from another city. Tonight’s championship game would not feel the same.
The community was still in shock from the evening before. They lost two promising members of their community.
There was a mix of emotions throughout the town. Some were angry towards the carelessness of the drunk driver as others felt sadness for the parents whose children were taken.
As the bleachers filled with onlookers for both teams, the team had gathered in the locker room. The team captain spoke, “We lost an important member of our team. He is here with us today, in spirit. He would not want us to give up. Let’s win this one for Billy.”
As the team entered the field, everyone stood. In one hand they held Billy’s jersey number pasted on a bright red piece of paper, the same color as the team’s jerseys, and in the other hand, a peach-colored rose for Amber. It was their way of showing Billy and Amber would be missed. It was difficult for everyone to hold back their tears.
Both coaches had walked to the center of the field. Here they would, usually, have a coin toss to see who would have possession of the ball first, but instead something different happened.
Billy’s dad walked slowly onto the field with his head down, making his way to where the coaches stood. He had asked to speak to the crowd. He stopped and gazed at everyone sitting in the bleachers, trying to gather the courage to speak.
After a few minutes he began to speak, his voice quivering and holding back his own tears, “No matter how we try to protect our children, things can happen unexpectedly. Your outpour of love to myself, my wife, and Amber’s parents has not passed unnoticed.”
“I am here today to ask that you remember Billy and Amber, not as victims but as two young people full of adventure. They would have wanted you to remember them as kind, and determined, and being the best they could be.“
“Let them be role models to everyone. And parents, life is unexpected sometimes, remember to tell your child you love them and are proud of them….. before it is too late”.
He, then, turned and walked silently off the field, looking towards the ground. He could no longer hold back his tears.
Written by: Angel
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varsity – noun: the principal sports team representing a high school
popularity – noun: being liked or admired
extraordinary – adjective: unusual or remarkable
reserved – adjective: slow to reveal emotion or opinions.
passion – noun: strong, controlled emotion
professional – adjective: belonging to a profession
NFL – noun: National Football League consisting of thirty-two professional teams
exceptional – adjective: outstanding
rival – noun: competition
traditional – adjective: habit or long-established
permission – noun: consent or authorize
annoyed – adjective: irritate
sported – verb: wear or display
excessive – adjective: more than necessary
ringlets – noun: curls of hair, corkscrew-shaped curl
homecoming court – noun: a group chosen to hold various titles at the homecoming dance, for example, the queen, king, prince, princess, duke, and duchess
tallied – verb: calculate the total number
high fives – noun: a gesture or greeting in which two people slap each other’s open palm with their arms raised
customary – adjective: usual practices
aimlessly – adverb: without purpose or direction
apologetic – adjective: regretfully excusing an offense
proceeded – verb: continue a course of action *this word is often confused with precede which means come before*
tragedy – noun: suffering, devastation, or distress
paramedics – noun: a person or people trained to give emergency medical care
unaware – adjective: no knowledge of a situation
disbelieving – adjective: expressing disbelief, questioning, or understanding
opposing – adjective: in competition with a specified subject
carelessness – noun: negligence
onlookers – noun: observer
outpour – verb: flow
unexpected – adjective: not expected
Were you ever on a school sport team?
Is popularity important to you?
Do you think laws are strict enough to prevent drunk drivers in your country?