~2 years ago~
I ran upstairs as fast as I could.
"Jimmy, Rizzo, guys!" I shouted, as I ran down the hallway towards my brother's bedroom. I was just about there when the door opened and I collided with it.
"Oomph." I said as I fell backwards, but quickly recovered and jumped up.
"Oh, Maddy! I am so sorry. Are you okay?" Rizzo said.
I looked at him strangely then said, "Yeah, why wouldn't I be?" and continued to walk past him into my brother's room.
"Hi Maddy," he said from his bed not even looking up from his book, "What's going on?"
I smiled at this question.
"Oh I don't know," I said, smirking all the while, "though a mysterious white envelope from Minnesota came, and it has my name on it."
Jimmy looked up from his book, "Well… did you get in?"
"I don't know. I haven't opened it yet."
"Well what are you waiting for?"
I ripped open the envelope and quickly read over the letter.
"YES!" I shouted triumphantly.
"Congratulations!" Jimmy said and gave me a hug.
"Yep," Rizzo said from the doorway, "Congrats. I still don't get why you want to go there though. You should go to Boston with us."
"Well," I began, "they have better classes for people who want to be athletic trainers or coaches."
"Plus I might get an apprenticeship with the hockey team there if I get good enough grades."
"Don't let OC hear that."
At this I looked at my feet and started to fidget.
"Well I… I haven't exactly… well told him… I applied… yet."
"What!" Jimmy and Rizzo shouted.
"Oh," Jimmy said with a smirk, "He's going to hate you so much."
I gulped again.
"Well… have you told Silky?" Rizzo asked anxiously.
"No." I replied sarcastically and rolled my eyes, "I would never tell my best friend anything like that."
"Hey," Rizzo said making a pouting face, "I thought I was your best friend."
"You are," I began, "every other week."
We all laughed.
~One Month Later~
"YOU WHAT!?" OC yelled.
"I applied and got into MinnesotaUniversity." I said looking him directly in the eye, "In hope that I could get an apprenticeship as an athletic trainer."
"Traitor," he murmured.
"Am not!" I yelled back at him, "I'll root for you guys at all your games at the U, even if I do get the apprenticeship. And if you really, really want me to, I'll be extremely hard on McClanahan when ever I can."
He grumbled under his breath.
"I'll smack him in the back of the head whenever I get the chance."
He smiled then gave me a big hug.
"I expect to hear about how he reacts to that." He muttered in my ear as he pulled away.
"Well," Silky said standing up from his sitting position on the ground, "I believe that you are leaving tomorrow, and I'm quite positive you have not yet packed."
I nervously laughed and scratched the back of my head.
"I thought so," Silky said, "Come on let's go."
"Well," I said, and shifted my backpack from one shoulder to the other, "I guess this is goodbye."
"Nah," Rizzo said, "You'll see us on the holidays won't you? And at games?"
"Yeah," I said my eye's watering but I refused to tear up.
"See" Silky said, "That means its 'see ya later' not 'goodbye'."
I smiled and hugged each of the boys one by one stopping at Jimmy.
"Take care of Mom," I said, "And Dad and Trish."
"I will," he told me.
I hugged him.
"So," I said stepping back then smiling at the boy's, "See ya later then?"
They voiced their agreement as I stepped through the door into the airport.
I awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. I groggily reached over and picked it up.
"Hello?" I yawned into the receiver.
"Maddy?" came a voice from the other side, "Is that you?"
"Yup," I replied still groggy.
"Good. Hey look it's Herb, I just wanted to know if you were interested in a job."
That woke me up.
"Coach?" I asked, "What kind of job? It's a little early for hockey isn't it?"
"Well that's why I called you. I know you're having a rough time and all, but I was wondering if you'd be interested in being the trainer for the USA hockey team?"
"Of course I would." I practically yelled into the receiver. Mom had wanted Jimmy on the team and with her being… gone… I'd decided well hey she'd want me there with the team too.
"Good," he said, "The tryouts are next week in Colorado Springs, do you think you could head out there by yourself or will you need a ride."
"Um," I said, wincing at the fact that my car was in the shop for various reasons, "A ride would be nice."
"Okay then. Goodbye."
I smiled and pressed the end button. I quickly dialed a number and waited as the other phone rang.
"Hello?" came a voice I knew almost anywhere.
"Rizzo?" I asked, "What are you doing at the house?"
"Maddy?" he replied, "I'm here because… well… Jim's not taking it very well."
"Oh," I said slightly shocked. Jimmy had always been the strong one in the family.
"Can I talk to him?" I asked recovering from my moment.
"Of course, one minute."
I heard a bit of shuffling and a voice that sounded an awful lot like Jimmy's saying, "Go away."
"What?" I finally heard from the other end.
"Excuse me," I scoffed, "Is that any way to greet your sister?"
"Hi, Maddy," he said, "What's up?"
"Well," I said slowly trying (and failing) to hold in my excitement, "Brooks is coaching a very special team and wants me to be the trainer."
"Okay." Jimmy said obviously confused.
"Do you know what team?"
"Um, your obvious excitement tells me it's not the U's team… so, no, not really."
"Team USA, that's what team."
"Really?" he said.
"Good for you."
"Well are you guys going to try out or what?"
"Yeah I guess."
"Good." I said, "And by the way don't tell any of the boys about this. I want to surprise them next week in Colorado."
"Okay, I won't."
"You're welcome. Bye."
"Maddy?" Herb said breaking the silence that had been our car ride to Colorado, "Could I ask you a favor."
"I need you to, uh, befriend, the entire team get to know them, can you do that."
"Well, I'm going to be coaching a little differently than I did at the U and I won't be able to get to know them. So if you could get to know them and take care of any issues, that would be amazing. If there are any big problems send them to me."
"You got it Herb."
"Thanks so much."
"Don't mention it."
"Maddy Craig, I'm the team's trainer. Coach Brooks wanted me to help with registration." The lady looked up then handed me an ID on a lanyard.
"You'll need that. Why don't you go around back."
When I finally got back to the desk the lady handed me a clipboard with a bunch of names and a stamp.
"When a player comes up ask for their name give them their number than stamp their file. Okay?"
I nodded then headed up to the desk.
"Name?" I asked.
I did exactly what the lady had said and it went on like that for a long time until.
"Name?" I asked for what seemed like the thousandth time.
"Dave Silk, jeez I thought you knew that Maddy. You can't not know the name of someone you've known basically your entire life."
I looked up.
"Silky! You made it!"
"Of course I did silly. Did you think I'd miss out on this?"
"No! Wow Silky, you look so different? Did you cut your hair?"
"Nope! So what are you doing here? When I saw you I just about had a heart attack."
"Well, Brooks made me the trainer."
"Really? That's aweso-"
He was cut off by an angry cough from behind him.
"Oh sorry Maddy, don't want to get you in trouble."
"Nah it's okay Silk, my fault really. Anyway… your tryout number is 42." I said giving his file a stamp.
"Ooo giving me your favorite number now are ya?"
"Maybe." I replied which was soon followed by yet another impatient cough.
"I am so sorry," Silk said again.
"It's okay," I said shaking my head before gesturing for him to move on, "Oh and don't tell anyone I'm here it's supposed to be as surprise."
"Sure thing Mad. See ya."
By the time I finished I hadn't seen any of the other Boston boys, they must have gone to one of the other desks.
So when the last boy went by my desk I gathered my bag and headed to the box that the coach was waiting for me in.
As I was about to walk in I noticed a man leaving.
"Excuse me miss," the man said apologetically, "but I'm going to have to ask you to leave; this is a private tryout."
"Actually," I said giving him a quizzical look, "I have to talk to Coach Brooks, I'm the team's trainer."
"Oh," he said, "I'm sorry. I'm Craig Patrick, the assistant coach."
"I see. I'm Madeline Craig but you can call me Maddy."
We shook hands.
"So look, I've got to go talk to Herb, but, I'll see you later."
I pushed open the door and walked in.
"Ah," Herb said, "Maddy come take a look at this and tell me what you think."
I walked over and he handed me a piece of paper. I quickly read it over.
"Is this the team? I thought we'd be here for a week?"
"Yes that is the team. And I'm sorry but you thought wrong."
I laughed a little.
"Hey!" I said as I read over the list again, "My brother's on here."
"And who might that be?" Herb asked.
"Huh," he said, "I never knew that."
"How could you not?"
He shrugged, "Well, Maddy do you mind taking these tests down to the ice. Craig is probably announcing the team by now?"
"Sure thing coach." I said grabbing the tests and walking out the door.
"… Eruzione. The rest of you, thanks for coming down." Was the first thing that I heard when I entered the rink before I heard a bunch of congratulatory whispers.
"Here coach," I said as I put the box of tests down by Craig, "These are tests for the-"
"WHAT THE HELL! MADDY IS THAT YOU?" a very familiar voice cut me off.
"boys," I finished then turned to see OC and Rizzo scowling at my brother and Silky who were laughing their asses off.
"Why yes," I said loudly to get there attention, "Yes it's me."
"What the hell are you doing here?" OC asked a big grin on his face.
"Oh I don't know, could you remind me why I went to Minnesota in the first place."
"NO WAY!" Rizzo practically screamed, "CONGRATS. Wait, is that why you called home the other night?"
"Why didn't you tell me? I answered the phone not that lazy ass you call a brother. And why did you tell Silky? It was my week to be your best friend."
I smiled at the inside joke, "It was a surprise and I didn't tell Silky he was just fortunate enough to be in my registration line."
"You call that being fortunate?" a voice I immediately knew to be Rob McClanahan.
He was seated lower than the other players just next to the railing.
I smirked, "You want to know something Mac?" then motioned him to lean in like I was telling him a secret.
He leaned in and turned his head to give me better accesses to his ear. I leaned up as far as I could and… smacked the back of his head.
"Ow! What was that for?" he said as OC laughed and Rizzo looked at me disapprovingly, "I didn't even make a single comment about that torture you call training this time."
That caused Jack to laugh louder.
Suddenly Herb's voice came from the back, "Take a good look gentlemen," he said, gesturing to the last few guys to leave that hadn't made the team, then started walking down the stairs, "'Cause they're the ones getting off easy. I'm gonna put a few of you on reserve in case somebody gets injured or their game goes to hell. The final roster will have twenty names on it in seven months, so that means more of you are going home. You give me ninety-nine percent, you'll make my job very, very easy. I'll be your coach. I won't be your friend. If you need one of those, take it up with Doc, Coach Patrick, or Maddy here." By this time he had reached the end of the stairs. He took one last look around then walked all the way out.
"All right, gentlemen. Congratulations to all of you." Craig began, "That's it for today. On your way out, pick up one of these." He then held up one of the tests, "You have a little bit of homework… before you celebrate."
There were a couple of laughs.
The boys stood and continued to congratulate each other before walking down to grab their test.
"Hey Mads" Silky said walking up and grabbing a test from the box beside me, he leaned over and gave me a hug then quickly stepped away.
"Hey Maddy," OC said picking me up and twirling me around before letting go and stepping back.
"Mad Dog!" Rizzo yelled before tackling me with a bear hug.
"Uh I'm sorta chocking here" I coughed out.
"Sorry," Rizzo said before stepping away so my brother could give me a hug, before leaving.
"Hey guys." I said after watching Jimmy walk off, "How's it been?"
"It's been good," Silky said.
"It was alright," Rizzo replied.
"Never do that again." Jack ordered.
"Do…what… again?" I asked him.
"I'm sick of Italian food." He said causing Rizzo to scowl.
"No one will help me scare little kids during Halloween."
"And I have to deal with these guys all the time."
"And do I need to make a list?" he asked impatiently.
"Why, yes. Yes you do."
OC rolled his eyes.
"So, Maddy," Rizzo began in a voice that told me he was about to ask me something, and if I didn't do what he wanted he'd force me to anyway, "Would you come to the bar with us tonight?"
"Sure." I shrugged, thinking it might be nice to catch up with what had been going on at home and with the boys.
"Okay, we've got to go to the hotel so we'll see you later."
"Bye," I said.
I stood there for a little while and thought; I hadn't seen OC or Silky in two years, except for at games, I'd seen Rizzo at home on one of those very few occasions and at the funeral, but other than that, I realized how much I'd missed having them around.
"What was that about?" a voice pulled me out of my reverie.
I looked up and saw Mac.
"What was what about, Mac?" I asked utterly confused.
"Do you like, know them, or something?"
"Well yeah. I grew up in Boston, you know."
"That explains so much."
"Pfft, like what?"
"Like how you always cheered for them." He remarked.
"And you care why?"
"Because you're the trainer for Minnesota, and everyone knows that Minnesota and Boston don't mix… at all… ever."
I rolled my eyes.
"So how did you meet them?"
"Well, I met Jimmy when I was very, very young. He was such a cute little 2 year old."
Mac looked confused.
"He's my brother, Rob."
"Oh. What about the others do I need to fight for my beautiful wife."
I cringed when he called me his wife, it was a joke that the boys at the U used whenever Mac and I started bickering, "Don't let OC hear that he'll think you're being serious and then he'll hate me for three reasons."
"And what would those be?"
"a) Leaving Boston to become Minnesota U's athletic hockey trainer, b) Getting married and not inviting him, and c) Getting married to you."
"Why would he care about that?" he asked legitimately confused.
"'76", I sighed.
"Anyway, I met Rizzo in um… well I guess I don't know when I met him, he was our neighbor growing up, anyway, I met Silky in junior high, and as for OC I met him at one of Jimmy's peewee hockey practices."
"Ah… I see," he said then suddenly his eyes lit up, "Hey do you want to go to the bar with me and some of the other guys later tonight."
I laughed, "I was already planning to Rizzo beat you to the invite."
"So I do have competition then."
I lightly punched him in the arm, "Don't be so stupid…there is no competition Rizzo would win hands down." He pouted, "Look I'm gonna hit the ice before the Zam comes on. So I'll see you later?"
He smiled and shook his head before walking away.