Chapter 8:

The Offer.

64


EverettBookmark here

Near Seattle, WashingtonBookmark here

USABookmark here

The engine of the truck whirred to life as rain splattered it heavily. The windshield, windows, and sides of the truck had waterfalls cascading down them. The words on the truck, ‘TACOMA MOVING SERVICES,’ were barely visible in the heavy downpour. The raindrops beat down on the roof of the truck, making a barrage of thudding noises.Bookmark here

“Typical Seattle,” thought Danny Reynolds.Bookmark here

“Alright, mate!” called the truck driver. “You have a good one!”Bookmark here

“Thanks!” replied Dan.Bookmark here

He sighed and sauntered slowly into his new house. “Well, this is it,” he thought bitterly. “This is what it all comes down to.”Bookmark here

The last five years had been nothing short of hell for Dan. After being waived out of nowhere by the Baltimore Barrage, he had to spend a year with no actual form of income. The next year, he was signed by the Miami Coasters. Unfortunately, the team refused to respect Dan, or even listen to his opinions. After a horrendous playoffs loss to the New York Skyscrapers, he was immediately waived by his team. “Ah yes, this again,” he had thought, trying not to cry.Bookmark here

After going an entire season without playing in the league, he had to move into a smaller house in Seattle, selling his mansion, to keep himself fed and warm. To keep him with a roof over his head. The year after, he was signed to a non-guaranteed deal (1) by the Las Vegas Decks. Again, he had tried to be a leader and motivator to the younger players. This, however, was perceived by the senior team members as an attempt to take over the team. He was quickly let go of by the Decks as well. Bookmark here

Thus, he had to spend the last two years of his life with no job, no income, and no hope. Danny often felt that he could live without playing basketball, without a pay check, or without his estranged wife just fine. But he could not live with the new title he had been given by the league.Bookmark here

‘The Dressing-Room Cancer.’Bookmark here

Finally, he had sold his second house as well and moved into a tiny, one-bedroom house somewhere north of Seattle. The money would keep him alive. It would somehow keep him from becoming homeless. But it wouldn’t last forever. Danny knew he had to find work, and quickly. He had applied for two jobs: as a teacher in Lake Stevens Elementary School, and as a cleaner in the nearby Boeing Future of Flight Museum.Bookmark here

With a start, Dan realized his phone was ringing. He slid the answer button. “Hello?”Bookmark here

“Hello, dad?”Bookmark here

Danny Reynolds’ eyes filled with tears. It had been so long since he’d interacted with her, since he’d heard her voice.Bookmark here

Speaking to him was his baby girl, his daughter, Alice.Bookmark here

“Alice!” he breathed, sliding onto the unopened boxes of his belongings. Bookmark here

“Is everything okay, dad?”Bookmark here

“Everything’s fine, sweetie,” he lied. His hands were trembling and his lips were quivering with the happiness of hearing her speak again. Bookmark here

“My friends keep making fun of me, dad,” said Alice. “They say my dad is a cancer in the dressing room.”Bookmark here

Dan smiled weakly. “Your dad likes telling people what to do, maybe that’s why everyone thinks so. Maybe that’s why Eva left me…” Bookmark here

The last sentence slipped past his lips before he could stop it. He instantly regretted dragging his daughter into his marital mess.Bookmark here

“Mom doesn’t like talking about you at all, dad. She isn’t even seeing other guys. She just says her goal now is to provide a life for her children.”Bookmark here

“What about Ben, how’s he doing?”Bookmark here

“He’s doing okay, though he really misses you. Mom doesn’t like it at all,” said Alice. Bookmark here

“What about you, sugar? How’re you doing?”Bookmark here

“I’m about to graduate high school!” said Alice proudly. “I really want to go to college and study physiology. But mom keeps saying we have no money…”Bookmark here

“No!” said Dan. “You keep the dream alive! You’re going to college! Daddy will make sure of that!”Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

Dan’s interview for the teaching job at Lake Stevens Elementary School was an unqualified disaster. The interviewer had rejected him by saying that they didn’t want a failed, washed-up former NBA player teaching their kids.Bookmark here

Dan drove his second-hand Honda Civic back home slowly. He had once been the proud owner of an Aston Martin, which had to be sold to keep Dan alive. Bookmark here

When he reached home, he found an unexpected visitor.Bookmark here

“Steven!” exclaimed Dan. “What’s up? What brings you here?”Bookmark here

Steven Walker grinned. “Some news, buddy!”Bookmark here

Steven was the coach who was fired along with Dan by the Baltimore Barrage. After his firing, even he had been through much adversity. He didn’t have a stable job for almost a year. Finally, he had found a cashier’s job at his local Chipotle in Omaha. After six months there, Steven had applied for a coaching job at Nebraska State University. He ended up landing an assistant coaching job. This somehow ensured that he and his family got three square meals a day. Bookmark here

But he had kept tabs on his friend, Danny Reynolds. He knew all about the struggles. He knew about Dan applying to be a cleaner at the Boeing Museum.Bookmark here

He couldn’t imagine the man, Sniper Reynolds, sweeping floors for tourists!Bookmark here

He was here with a speculation, and an offer that could change both of their lives.Bookmark here

Dan poured Steven some wine. They talked about wives, kids, and their struggles for a while. Finally, Steven decided to come to the point.Bookmark here

“I’ll start from the beginning, Dan. Houston Spacewalkers’ GM (2) Mark Ronald, has decided to quit his position.”Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s sad. The only notable player he brought for Houston was Terry Parker. All of his other selections backfired miserably. “Bookmark here

“Yes,” said Steven. “The Spacewalkers’ new GM. His name is Marcello Rodriguez.”Bookmark here

“Hey, I know that guy!” said Dan. “He had a random desk job in the Spacewalkers’ front office for twenty five years! He even made headlines for serving the organization for more than half his life!”Bookmark here

“Well, he’s the GM now,” said Steven. “He started his tenure by firing the head coach, Gordon Spencer.”Bookmark here

“Isn’t he the same guy who kept taking unnecessary timeouts and jeopardizing his team’s chances of winning?”Bookmark here

“He’s gone now,” said Steven. “The Houston Spacewalkers are now looking for a new head coach.”Bookmark here

“Hope they find someone worth the position,” said Dan.Bookmark here

“I’m thinking of applying for the position, Dan.”Bookmark here

Dan felt a burst of happiness. “Go for it, Stevie! Houston deserves an amazing head coach like you! Maybe you’ll end the Spacewalkers’ Championship Curse!”Bookmark here

“Thanks, Dan,” smiled Steven. “But here’s the thing.”Bookmark here

“If I get the head coach job, I’ll talk to Marcello Rodriguez and get you a multi-year contract!”Bookmark here

Dan stared at Steven in disbelief.Bookmark here

“You can finally play basketball again! We can finally team up again!”Bookmark here

Dan’s eyes started tearing up.Bookmark here

“Let’s win ourselves a championship, Dan…”Bookmark here

“Wait, in Houston? With the Spacewalkers of all teams?”Bookmark here

“Let’s end the Spacewalkers’ Championship Curse, Danny Reynolds!”Bookmark here

“Let’s end it together!”Bookmark here

Endnotes:Bookmark here

1. Non-Guaranteed Deal: Non-guaranteed contracts can be terminated at any point and the organization is no longer required to for whatever amount is remaining - that money is "not guaranteed.” Guaranteed contracts mean that the player will receive the full guaranteed amount even if he is terminated (waived) by the team early. That money is "guaranteed."Bookmark here

2. GM: General Manager. Bookmark here

A Small Message from the Author:Bookmark here

Before writing today’s chapter. I received a heart-warming piece of news. I heard that Indian sprinter V Revathi is going to represent India at the Tokyo Olympics. Her parents passed away when she was five years old, and she was raised by her grandmother. She will wear her country’s flag in Tokyo and represent a nation of 1.2 billion people. As a guy who is writing about athletes and their struggles to make it in the field of sports, I am so happy for Revathi and inspired by her struggle to reach where she is. I would like to wish her all the best for the coming Olympics. I dedicate this chapter, and all the previous chapters, to Revathi’s efforts, sacrifice, and eventual success. I would like all my readers to wish this wonderful daughter of India all the best, in their hearts. Bookmark here

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