Disclaimer: I don't own the Mighty Ducks I'm just borrowing them for this story.
AN 8-9-2012: A couple of months ago I got an anon review asking for this story to be continued. As it was left on with the intention of finishing it, I'm coming back to do just that. As my writing has gotten better over the years though, before adding to the story I will be going through each chapter, editing it, and then reposting so if any of the old readers are anxious for new chapters please be patient.
Glancing around the school auditorium my gaze fell on the people gathered in the first ten rows. I knew why most of them were here. It all had to do with one issue - me. Unfortunately I didn't see any friendly faces in the crowd. No one from District Five was among those gathered - none of the players or their parents. Not even the coach had bothered to show up. In fact Coach Bombay was the only coach in the league not present.
On the stage, the members of the Pee Wee Hockey League Council sat at a table. This preseason meeting was held every year and it was always open to anyone who wanted to come but never before had it been held in the school auditorium. It had never been necessary because very few people, if any, ever showed up for it. I guess there had never been a good enough reason before. Everyone had just assumed the League knew best. After last season though there were plenty of people who wanted their say on what would be decided this afternoon.
"And now onto the last topic of our agenda this afternoon - the district lines," Mr. Peabody, head of the council, said. "It is the leagues proposal to leave the district lines how they are," he said continuing. "Last season ended up being quite a thrilling and competitive season as we would like this season to be."
I was so happy. I'd get to stay a Duck. I wouldn't have to go back to being a Hawk. I wouldn't have to go back to skating under Coach Reilly.
"Is there anyone here who would like to address this issue?" Mr. Peabody asked. I stifled a groan as out of the corner of my eye I saw my Dad's hand go into the air. I was so wishing he would just go along with whatever the council had decided but I just couldn't be that lucky.
"I still think we should've gone guys," I said, standing up from lacing my roller blades. School started in a couple of days and my friends and I were taking advantage of our last few days of vacation to hang out. We had decided to play a game of roller hockey today.
"Why? It's not like we could've said anything. They only listen to the adults anyways," Karp said. He had lost some weight since last season and grown a few inches so he wasn't fat anymore.
"We could've been there for support," I said. I knew Adam was going. His dad was making him and if Mr. Banks had anything to do with it then Adam would not be skating with District Five this season.
"Who cares," Peter said. He hadn't grown at all. He was still as short as he had always been. "Come on Bombay isn't even going and he's the coach."
I shook my head. There was gap between some of us this year. I could feel it already and the season hadn't even started. Peter, Karp, Tammy and Tommy had seemed to form their own little clique. It wasn't all their fault though. Those of us who had been a part of Team USA were all closer ourselves, especially with Adam. Plus, we couldn't help but feel like there was something missing. Julie, Portman, Dwayne, Russ, Ken and Luis were all playing for their respective clubs this year. I couldn't help but feel like we were missing part of the team. However, at least we had each other. I couldn't imagine being the lone member of Team USA on another team as they all were going to be this year..
"Coach just feels like he shouldn't get involved in this decision. He feels like he's caused enough trouble with his protest last season," Fulton said defending Coach Bombay before I had a chance to.
"Come on guys, let's just play," Jesse said. "I have to help my brother pack to go back to Mom's house it a little bit." Jesse was standing out in center court, the puck on the court in front of him. It had originally been Jesse's idea not to go to the meeting this afternoon. It wasn't that he didn't like Adam but I think Jesse just didn't like the idea of not being able to do anything about the situation. I had to admit I didn't like the idea myself. Adam was a part of this team now. I didn't want to lose him to the Hawks.
I think that was the reason I had been avoiding Adam all summer after our camping trip. I had a feeling that the league would redraw the lines. That Adam would be a Hawk again and I would lose my best friend. I figured by avoiding Adam now it wouldn't be as hard when the hockey season started and I was skating against him. Still Adam was our friend. We should be at that hearing.
"Come on, Charlie," I heard Connie call. I looked up to find that my friends had all formed up on the court. Goldberg and Karp were in front of the goals and the others were in their positions. I took the other empty spot at center court and took the face off with Jesse. Before long I was immersed in the game and had completely forgotten about the League meeting.
I had told everyone that I wasn't going to go to the League meeting. That I didn't want to be involved in any way on what was going to be decided this afternoon because I felt I had already meddled enough. Last season I had pointed out the oversight with Adam Banks for completely selfish reasons. I had wanted to hurt Reilly. I knew Banks was his star player and I knew Banks could help the Ducks. I had wanted to win. I never took into consideration what would be best for Adam.
Now that I had gotten to know Adam Banks, I only wanted what was best for him. I didn't want to lose him as a player both because he was our star player and because I liked the atmosphere that he added to the team. Adam was focused. He wanted to do his best every time he took the ice, though sometimes I thought that was more to please his father than himself. And he was good but he wasn't a hotshot like some kids with talent. He recognized hockey as the team sport that it was and respected that. Adam had never hogged the puck while on the ice and was always ready to offer advice and help to teammates when needed. The kid had the talent to go all the way as long as the adults in his life didn't completely ruin his love for the game.
The last thing I wanted was to be the person who did that.
But I couldn't stay away. I slipped quietly into the back of the auditorium five minutes after the meeting had started. I had stayed in the back row and just listened. I wanted to know what was going on but I didn't want anyone to know that I was here.
As I watched the discussion about the district lines unfold I took little comfort in the fact that none of the adults seemed to be taking into consideration what would be best for Adam. His father was purely looking out for his own interests. He still couldn't accept Adam being a Duck. Being part of a team that consisted of lower income families. Families that he saw as beneath him. The other parents of the Hawks and Reilly himself simply just didn't want Adam back on the team. He was a traitor in their eyes. Parents and Coaches from the other teams were simply against any one person or small group of people having that much say over the league. They were angry that Philip Banks would even think that he could single handedly say which team his son belonged on.
I watched the argument proceed. It had long since ceased being a discussion. Mr. Peabody was trying desperately to regain control but was having little success. Philip Banks and Mr. McGill were currently yelling across the front of the auditorium at each other, everyone else seemingly forgotten.
My eyes drifted from the screaming Mr. Banks to the small figure sitting silently in the seat next to him. I had seen his face brighten when Mr. Peabody had said the league was leaving the district lines as they were. Now he had sank down into his seat with a lost look on his face.
My heart went out to him. How could I have done this to him. I wanted to speak up. To say something on Adam's behalf but I had already meddled enough. I couldn't live with myself if I made things worse, so I simply kept my mouth shut.
Fifteen minutes later Mr. Peabody had finally gotten things under control. The league members had a quick whispered conversation and then announced that they had changed their minds. The district lines would be redrawn. Adam Banks would be a Hawk again.
Philip Banks was smiling smugly. Once again he had won. He had gotten his way. Looking at him, I realized that I had once been just like that; back before the Ducks came into my life.
My eyes drifted over to where the Hawks and their parents were sitting. None of them looked happy about the decision. In the front row, Reilly looked to be the unhappiest of them all. I knew he wasn't going to make things easy on Adam.
I quietly got up and left the auditorium. I just hoped things would get better from this point and not go from bad to worse.