Student Teacher Relations
Sam's body was humming, he was out of breath, sore, tired and near exhaustion; yet he had never felt so exhilarated, so alive. He was loving every second of it. In the background he could hear the screaming and the ceremonial chanting, he blocked it out once more to the back of his mind and tried to focus on the task at hand. The weight was heavy on his shoulders, baring down on him from all sides, young eager faces looking at him with desperate hope. Sam sighed and took a deep breath letting the pressure roll off him in waves. He felt calm, ready. Sam looked up saw the target and took aim, he raised his arms above his head and let it fly. There was a moment when he thought he would miss and panic shot through him, before the ball righted itself on the path and fell through the hoop making the familiar sound it made as it fell through the net.
The crowd erupted with screams and Sam's team mates practically jumped him in excitement. Sam had made the shot, during the overtime and had won his team the game. It was over and Sam let himself be influenced by the ecstatic joy of those around him and joined in with the crazy jumping and celebration of those in his team and the crowd of Maple Bay College. The cheerleaders took the court and began their victory dance. Sam looked for her among them, and saw the secret proud smile his girl Jess, gave him, he beamed at her before his coach called them over for the well does etc, before sending them all off to the showers for the ritualistic male victory bonding with towl snapping and the usual shit dumping. The team all hung around until everyone was ready, a kind of tradition, to leave the hall together so that they would make a grand entrance at the victory party.
It had been a particularly difficult game. Sam pondered as he shrugged on his jersey. One of their key players, Max, had taken a hard fall a couple of games back and badly re-injured his leg, so they had to play without him. Sam hoisted his bag up onto his shoulder and joined in on the jibes and taunting with his team mates. After twenty or so minutes Sam stood and walked out the door, leading his team out onto the court to the exit. It was already dark and the hall was empty, the guys were loud and rowdy behind him, but sill he felt a chill run up his spine, a feeling that something wasn't quite right.
'Holy fuck,' he heard someone say.
Sam looked behind him and saw a look of horror on his team mate's face. He looked in the direction toward the source of the fear and saw it. Max, noose around his neck, dangling lifelessly from the basketball hoop.
'Oh shit,' Sam breathed out and reached for his cell.
The school was restless after the suicide, the hall was locked up for a week and games were cancelled. Students were given the day to attend the funeral. The entire team showed up. Sam just stuck around long enough to give condolences and then went home. Sam ducked into the kitchen and sunk onto a stool by the black marble bench and let out a sigh. He removed his tie and plunked it on the bench beside him. Sam McQueen had a pretty damn good life going for him, and unlike most teenagers his age was damn appreciative of it. He had caring and devoted parents, two tolerable siblings (a fifteen year old sister and ten year old brother), he lived in more than adequate accommodations with his father being a surgeon and his mother a nurse. They had a pool, air conditioning, a big tv and he had his own car. Life at home was pretty sweet. School was pretty much cake as well. He got a scholarship to Maple Bay College, a prestigious private school without financial help from his father, whom never fails to boast about it at work social gatherings knowing the fortunes the other surgeons have to pay to get their own kids into such schools like Maple Bay.
Sam was also the captain of the basketball team which helped the other students overlook the geek factor and make him automatically cool. Sam was popular, he had lots of friends some of which he was pretty damn close to. Sam was doing equally as well in the love department, approaching his first year anniversary with girlfriend, good student and cheerleader Jessica Moore. Who saw him for who he was and not just his reputation. He had a 4.0 grade average and the future was definitely looking good for him. He'd finish school and head off to Stanford to become a surgeon like his Dad. He'd probably marry Jess too and see how things went on from there. So hell yeah Sam was appreciative, and mostly because no one would ever think of Sam as the kind to have inner turmoil.
Sam sighed and dug his hand in his hair, mostly Sam loved his life because he did not have to deal with that part of himself he knew was there. It had arisen a few years ago, it was inevitable he would find out with the showers and the swimming training and such. He realised his attraction for his own sex, he was bisexual which disturbed him for about a year, before he started dating Jessica, who was such fun and so beautiful that he began to really care for her. He was in a relationship with someone he cared about and was attracted to who felt the same way in return. So he didn't really even need to think about his sexuality anymore. What was the point when he was already seeing someone. Still Sam found himself relating to Max, because they both had secrets that no one else knew, that they would never have been able to tell anyone else. If Sam's team mates ever found out, or his family…Sam refused to think about it.
Sam's mother Ellen pushed open the swinging door and looked up surprised at Sam sitting over at the bench looking more than a little miserable.
'Sam honey what are you doing here?' she asked.
'Took off after the funeral, didn't feel like hanging around,' Sam explained.
'Oh honey that's perfectly fine,'
'Yeah, I guess. You're all dressed up, heading somewhere?' Sam asked.
'Just been actually,' Ellen unwrapped the patterned scarf from around her neck and ran her hands down her expensive cream suit.
'Meeting at your school, discussing what should be done to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Obviously the school counsellor is as useful as tits on a bull,' she divulged and leant against the bench.
'Sure the guy's like fifty, how are we supposed to open up to someone who couldn't possibly understand us,' Sam defended.
'Why do you think he did it?' Ellen asked.
Sam looked up at her confused.
'From another teenager's perspective,' she pointed out.
'It was a lot of things I think. Max's dad always put a lot of pressure on him with basketball and he wasn't exactly a straight A student. He was counting on the college scouts at our upcoming games and the doctor told him after his injury he might have needed an eight month recovery. I think he just couldn't handle it all,' Sam shrugged.
Ellen nodded, went to the fridge and pulled out two cold ones, offering one out to her son.
'Mum…it's not even midday and I'm under age,' Sam chuckled.
'Screw it, it's tradition to toast to the dead and damn dishonourable to do so with apple juice, so…,' Ellen plonked it on the bench and Sam gave another chuckle as he accepted the beer.
'To Max Miller, may his troubles be worth the sacrifice,' Ellen raised the beer and took a long drink, Sam saluted his own before doing the same.
'Do you think…' Ellen broke off 'Do you think that something might have stopped him? That anything could have helped?'
'I don't know…maybe,' Sam shrugged.
'Like what? A better counsellor?' she asked.
'No, he would never have gone to a counsellor,' Sam reasoned 'Just the way we are, just wouldn't be able to relate to them,'
'Because of the classification of a "counsellor"?' Ellen asked.
'But obviously he needed to talk to someone with experience, who had knowledge of what other options Max could have had, someone he could be at ease with,' Ellen thought aloud.
'Yeah a magical person of wisdom and empathy,' Sam snorted.
'You're alright , aren't you Sam?' Ellen asked.
'You're happy? You don't have any problems or issues? A little thing that could, like with Max combined with other stuff…' Ellen tried.
Sam looked carefully at his mother, she had always been straight forward with him, able to talk to him about anything without being overbearing or condescending. Sam realized he wouldn't feel right if the patronized her now.
'I have some…small issues, like every other teenager,' Sam broke off thinking about that nagging secret buried at the back of his mind 'But I am happy. They're not a real issue for me, not now,'
'Are you sure? You know you can talk to me?'
'I know and there's no problem really, I'm fine.'
The Principal of Maple Bay College sat behind his oak desk, head in hand, starring at the worthless list of recommendations given to him by the PTA. It had been a long time since a suicide at this school and it was a blow that it could happen whilst he was principal and what was worse was that he had no idea how it could have been prevented. The intercom buzzed and the secretary's voice sounded through the machine.
'A Mrs McQueen is here to see you sir,' she spoke.
'Send her in Kate.'
A few moments later a middle aged, blonde still with traces of beauty from her youth entered his office.
'Ellen, good to see you,'
'You too Jim,'
'So then, what brings you here?' Jim asked.
'The Miller boy,'
'I had a feeling,'
'I was speaking to Sam earlier and I'm concerned,'
'You and every other parent,' Jim sighed.
'I also have a proposal,'
'Yes well, are you going to invite me to sit down or am I just to stand in the doorway till Kate comes?' Ellen asked.
'Oh yes, Sorry quite slipped my mind have a seat Ellen,' Jim blushed.
'Why thank you Jim,'
'So the proposal?'
'I was speaking to Sam earlier-,'
'Yes he is, he's always been honest with me always and like most I thought that if he ever had a problem he would talk to me about it. So, worried about the recent incident I asked him if he was troubled by anything,' she explained.
'And he claimed everything was smiles and sunshine?'
'No he admitted that he had problems but he wouldn't tell me what they were, even a boy like Sam closes himself off,'
'So I have a proposal.'
The coach sent around a message during classes, a summons for a special meeting, for the basketballers on the court after school. Sam and his co captain and somewhat of a best friend Andy, headed straight there after physics.
'Dude, fifty bucks says that it's gonna be one of those "we're here to help you mushy heart to heart teen help chats" to help our poor troubled minds,' Andy turned and began to walk backwards.
'You're on,' Sam laughed 'I just can't see coach trying to connect with his feelings Hell I bet the man becomes physically sick when confronted with any kind of intimacy,'
The boys reached the outdoors and began to cross the autumn leave covered grounds toward Samuel Colt Hall.
'I hope you're right man, no way could I seriously sit down with the old man and talk about that kind of shit,' Andy shuddered.
'Hey Andy, why is it you think…why didn't Max talk to someone?' Sam asked.
'Dunno, dude always did keep to himself though. Guy's Dad was an ass too, one hell of a mean drunk. Nearly killed some guy in a bar brawl couple years back, cost him a fortune in court,' Andy divulged.
They reached the hall and pushed open the doors to find the rest of the guys already there. The entire team didn't need to show up just the key players, the one that took the game seriously and kicked ass at it. Six in total.
'It's our great and fearless leader,' Tommy grinned reached out and slapped Sam's hand in greeting. Most of the group was sitting in the stands whilst a few where on the court practising shots. Sam went and stood between them both whilst Andy sat himself beside his twin brother Anson.
'Kinda feels weird, us gathered here without Max huh?' Scott asked.
'Bullshit,' Anson corrected 'We went two practises and a game without Miller, what's fucking weird is that the guy hung himself in this fucking hall on that fucking hoop.'
'Anson!' Andy punched his brother's shoulder 'Jesus Man,'
'What? No use sugar coating the damn thing, it's not like he's around to get offended,'
'Still though,' Andy shook his head 'Show some sympathy dude,'
'Well he didn't when he fucking off'd himself, knowing we'd find him hanging from our own court hoop!' Anson argued.
'Hasn't anyone ever told you not to speak ill of the dead?' Scott asked 'That shit can fuck your karma to hell,'
'Like I give a rats ass,' Anson leant back on the bench.
'You shouldn't talk that way about a guy you knew, that you use to hang out with, it's just wrong man,' Tommy added.
'Why? Max Miller was a freak man,'
'Max Miller was one of us,' Sam spoke up and everyone stopped and looked at him 'He was a part of the team, a Viper and we let him down,'
'How the hell were we suppose to know what sick thoughts were going through his head?' Anson asked.
'It's not that, we shoulda stuck by him when he got injured again and-, I don't know, did something or said something,' Sam sighed.
'There's nothing you could have done man,' Scott spoke up.
'Yeah, even if you had he probably would have thought you were some kind of fag with that touchy feely crap,' Jake spoke as he came over from the court. Sam frowned and dug his hands in his pockets.
'What if it were you?' Sam asked 'Would you have talked to someone?'
'Dunno man, that shit's heavy,' Jake shrugged and sat on the bench behind Tommy.
'Andy?' Sam asked.
'Yean I dunno. I mean sure I'd like to think I would have, you know opened up to someone. Truth is, I wouldn't know how or who to,' Andy ran his fingers through his hair.
The guys all nodded.
'Shit,' Tommy spoke 'Now that's a fucking scary thought,'
The side doors opened and coach came around the corner.
'Boys,' he spoke as he addressed them.
'Hey coach Bobby,' Sam nodded.
'What's going on coach?' Jake asked.
'Principal Murphy came to see me after the school board meeting, said they were bloody clueless about what to do after Max Miller, not that they could do anything. Each has to deal with their own load, can't bring Miller back and ask him about his feelings or whatever. Anyway Murphy suggested I get some help with you boys,'
'Help?' Anson asked.
'Yeah, you know I ain't exactly young anymore and being practical to get a shot at that trophy we're gonna need to be open minded. How my methods are kind of outdated and can't exactly run exercises alongside y'all anymore, so anyway Murphy offered an Assistant Coach,' Bobby drawled.
'Yeah, I know most of the other school teams already have 'em anyway and this guy's got a good reputation. Captain of his team in Alabama, won five championships whilst he was in high school, entered outside school competitions included in them and was pretty damn good. He won't just be assisting in basketball either, he's gonna take over gym for me for a while which is a god damn blessing god knows I've been up to me armpits in work with assignments and exams for all these god damn kids,' Bobby continued.
'Wait, wait coach, are you telling me we already got this guy?' Sam asked.
'Yep, bought and paid for, he's out back in the office if you want to meet him. Nice enough guy I suppose, well anyway you're the team so what do you boys think about this?' Bobby asked.
The team looked to Sam.
'Sounds like a good idea, I guess, like you said he can get us a new perspective a new set of eyes, maybe he could pick up a few flaws we as a team missed from familiarity?'
'True, if the guy really was that good maybe he could reveal some of his own teams success secrets?' Andy added.
'Hell, what else we got to loose,' Jake shrugged.
'Alright then, you boys wait here and I'll go get him,' Bobby turned and walked through the door of the hall to the stairs that lead down to the showers and the coaches office.
'Assistant Coach huh?' Tommy asked.
'Not a bad idea,' Scott offered.
'I think it's about damn time, now we'll be on equal terms with the tigers,' Anson slapped his knee.
'Dude no one cares what you think,' Andy snorted and the guys laughed.
The doors swung open again and the coach walked out with a guy coming out behind him.
'Boys, meet your new assistant coach, Dean Winchester,' The guy stepped out in front and Sam felt his heart spring to life in his chest, he felt like he'd run a couple miles and then some, it was beating so darn fast.
'Oh fuck,' the silent thought echoed in Sam's mind.