Atticus, the best javelin thrower for his high school’s team, had brought home the State trophy every year so far, starting with his freshman year. He was a senior now and his team was headed for Kalamazoo, where the finals would be held, in the glorious stadium of Western MI University. The US Olympic scouts would be in the stands today. If Atticus did what he expected to do today, he had a real chance at Olympic team recruitment.
Atticus and his teammates were off the chain on the bus ride to K’zoo. There was jumping over seats, wrestling matches in the aisle, and lizard crawl races. Johnny Crowder had even snuck his girlfriend on board and they were making out in the back seat.
Assistant Coaches Smith and Jones weren’t worried about the team’s exuberance. Working off a little excess adrenalin was a good thing – until a loud SNAP, followed by a scream was heard. It was Atticus. His finger got caught in the bracket of one of the bus seats just as Sam Potter jumped onto his back. The weight instantly broke Atticus’ finger with a compound fracture. The middle bone of his right index finger was protruding from the skin.
The bus detoured to the closest medi-center as Coach Jones was on his phone with Atticus’ parents, who weren’t far behind them on the road. The bus dropped Atticus and the coach at the medi-center and continued to the stadium. The doctor said the finger needed surgery and a temporary pin. Coach asked if there was any way Atticus could compete today, and the doctor said no way. He gave Atticus an envelope of 6 pain pills and a prescription for more and sent them on their way with instructions to follow up with the local surgeon. Atticus devoured a couple of the pills on the way out.
Atticus, his parents, and Coach walked outside and got in the car. Everyone in the car wanted Atticus to have his chance at the Olympics. Everyone looked at everyone else. Not a word was spoken. They headed toward the stadium.
They caught Head Coach O’Leary up on the situation. O’Leary nodded and Atticus, his father, and the Assistant Coaches headed for the locker room. Thick splints sandwiched the damaged finger and medical tape was wrapped at least a dozen times around that and looped the wrist securely.
When it was his turn to throw, Atticus got into the zone. The pain was gone as he made his graceful and well practiced approach. Just as he let go of the javelin he waffled, and the javelin headed straight for stands. Thank goodness there was plenty of time for the people near there to get out of the way.
Coaches O’Leary, Smith, and Jones were put on unpaid administrative leave and Atticus’ parents were investigated by Child Protective Services. Atticus underwent emergency surgery and made a full recovery. He went to college on an athletic scholarship and currently practices sports medicine.