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Aleteia

What the Star of Our High School Football Team Meant to Me

SD Kirk
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He inspired me at a time in my life when little else was going my way. But now he’s gone.

Years go by and it’s my turn to graduate. I’m not really interested in football anymore. I’m interested in other things: I’m interested in girls. I’m interested in parties. I’m interested in sneaking around my parents. My grades are still crummy. I’ll graduate near the bottom of my class. But I don’t care. I have a few friends and they don’t care either. I comb my own hair now.

I’m a man when I read about Aaron for the last time. And I’m happy. I’m a little smarter. A little bigger. I think I’m handsome. And I am reminded how I miss my boyhood. How I struggled to get it back. To place aside all my bitterness. My disappointments. My insecurity.

And I wonder what Aaron’s last day may have been like. After he slept in. Because he had to.

He worked the midnight shift. The article says he had a little girl. And a fiancée. But they are left behind. There are no suspects in the shooting. His picture accompanies the article. He’s still handsome. Athletic looking.  

I often wonder why God puts people into our lives. Some seem to come to heal us. Others to harm. And maybe some to just simply nudge us along. I think this is why maybe Aaron came. To make me care about something in a time of my life when I had nothing to care about. And though I say I knew Aaron, I really didn’t. But maybe someday I can thank him.

You ain’ no football player.”

He made it sound like a compliment.

Born in Detroit, P.G. Cuschieri is a writer who lives and works in Los Angeles. He is a grateful brother, uncle, friend and a proud Roman Catholic. He can be found on twitter @pgcuschieri.

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