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4th & Girl
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4th & Goal: A term used when the offensive team is on its final down and the goal line is the line to reach.
4th & Girl: A story where time is almost up, and the girl of his dreams is just barely out of reach.
Leo Landry, first round draft pick and the New York Mavericks newest starting cornerback, uses grit, concentration, and sheer determination to make his difference on the field.
But the mysterious girl of his dreams might be enough to break his cocky confidence.
Will Leo prevail with a last minute 4th & Girl?
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In my opinion, in football, there isn’t a more badass position than shutdown cornerback.
What makes my position so badass? Well, I have to be agile and quick and have a natural instinct for the game. My footwork has to be on point, and my speed has to be unmatched. I have to cover, read, adjust, and break on the ball. This position, my position, is one of the biggest anchors of pass defense plays.
What does all of that football lingo mean?
It means I’m vital.
It means I’m the guy who will stop a quarterback’s touchdown pass.
I’m the man who won’t let the best wide receivers in the league get their greedy hands on the ball.
Last year, my college record was nearly unheard of. I held opposing QBs to a 47.9 rating when they tried to throw the ball to the man I was covering.
Basically, I was the badass in one of the toughest positions in the league.
And now, as one of the newest first-round draft picks for the New York Mavericks, I’m the guy with everything to prove.
I can either be the big hero, or I can be the guy who loses the fucking game.
My reputation is on the line, my nearly flawless career in college taunting me in the background to live up to it, and if there’s one thing I need to do, it’s focus.
But life’s got other plans.
I should have my mind on my money—and my money on my mind—but the only thing I can seem to think of these days is the mystery girl I met at one of the team’s very first group activities.
Criminally blue eyes.
She’s petite and awkward, and she’s completely fucking up the plan.
But it’s too late to second-guess.
And it’s sure as fuck too late to go back.
Once my mind is fixated on something, there’s no stopping me.
I have my eye on the bombshell prize, and I won’t settle for anything less than victory.
Good thing I’m at my best when the pressure’s on.
My dad would shit himself if he knew I was hanging out with the Mavericks today, I thought to myself as I took in the large logo painted across a wall inside the New York Mavericks’ stadium’s brand-spanking-new medical facility and lab.
Except, gah. He probably wouldn’t.
Yes, Lon Holden—otherwise known as my dear old dad—was one of the Mavericks’ biggest fanboys, but he probably wouldn’t have been too thrilled to find out his daughter’s job of the day included collecting urine from his favorite football players.
Not only was that not every father’s big dream for his little girl, but my father’s dream for me was pretty much the opposite of this.
Truthfully, it was the opposite of everything I did these days.
He wanted me to follow in his footsteps and his father’s footsteps and his grandfather’s footsteps and become an engineer just like the rest of the Holden clan.
The big plan? To eventually take over our family’s engineering consulting firm.
I’d been on board. I’d been dutiful. I’d been everything he wanted me to be until about a year ago.
And then I’d dropped out of college one year away from getting my degree and shot it all up in flames.
One month into my senior year, while I sat inside Advanced Engineering and Professor Serbin prattled on and on about thermodynamics and the ways they were vital to my future profession, I had an epiphany.
An “I can’t fucking do this anymore” kind of lightbulb moment.
It wasn’t out of rebellion, laziness, or modern Hollywood-style dreams of becoming “Insta-famous.” I just couldn’t continue to strive for a degree that bored me senseless, and I couldn’t pretend to be someone I wasn’t.
Twenty-four hours later and I’d officially dropped all of my classes and taken a leave of absence from NYU’s engineering program.
The aftermath wasn’t pretty.
My dad had a meltdown.
My mom calmly tried to talk me out of it, and then, when that didn’t work, had a crying jag in the bathroom with a glass of whiskey and the cigarettes she thought no one knew she hid in there.
And Grandpa Joe had questioned whether or not I’d fallen ill with a mental breakdown.
Fallen ill with a mental breakdown, his words exactly.
Like a mental breakdown was the equivalent of catching the flu.
Not likely, Grandpa Joe.
But I couldn’t be mad at my grandfather’s reaction or his words. It had been the exact kind of response you’d expect to get from a man who had been raised in the “pick yourself up by your bootstraps and get the fuck over it” generation.
I, on the other hand, was a millennial. The generation Grandpa Joe’s generation pretty much despised and predicted would be the end of civilization as we knew it.
I called bullshit to his dramatic take on an entire generation, but even if Judgment Day was near, I refused to spend the rest of my time between now and then dying the slow death of pursuing a career I hated.