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|Andrew arrived home with Carrie to find Mr. Malcolm waiting for him.
“Hello again,” Andrew said. “How are you doing?”
“I’m fine,” replied Mr. Malcolm. “I see your parents are home. Shall we go inside now?”
“Sure,” replied Andrew. “Would you like to join us Carrie?”
“That’s okay,” said Carrie,” this is your moment. You can tell me about it all later.”
“Okay,” agreed Andrew. “Let’s go inside then, Mr. Malcolm and I will introduce you to my parents.”
Mr. Malcolm followed Andrew inside as Carrie walked the few blocks home.
“Hello Andrew,” said Susan, coming out of the living room. “Who is this man?”
“My name is Mr. Malcolm, and I am the football coach for the University of Miami.”
“Pleased to meet you,” said Susan, shaking his hand. “Sam, come in here and meet Mr. Malcolm!”
“I’m very glad to meet you,” said Sam, coming into the front hall and shaking Mr. Malcolm’s hand.
“Thank you,” said Mr. Malcolm. “Well, shall we get down to business?”
“Yes, let’s go into the living room,” agreed Sam. He led the way into the elegantly furnished room and said, “Just pick a seat anywhere.”
Once everyone was seated, Mr. Malcolm opened up his briefcase and took out a few forms. He set them on the table and unfolded them so that everyone could get a good look.
“This first form details the strength tests I will have to put Andrew through to ensure he is in proper shape to play for us,” he said. “Read it carefully Andrew.”
“You want me to lift the bench with the whole team on it?” he asked in shock.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you can do it,” Mr. Malcolm assured him. “You will also have to lift a car by the way, and score touchdowns with defenders dragging behind you. The last test is standard for offensive linemen, the position I am looking for you to fill. A few of our offensive linemen are entering their senior year, and we need a replacement.”
“Interesting choice of words,” said Andrew. “You want me to replace a few men?”
“Judging by your car-lifting, you have the strength of 10 ordinary men,” Mr. Malcolm said. “So you should have no trouble. Now, lets move on to scheduling the tests themselves. There will be two sets, one here and one in Miami, during your spring break. So what time would be good for the one here?”
“How about on a Saturday when we are all off?” suggested Susan. “Then the whole family can witness Andrew’s feats of strength.”
“Good idea,” suggested Mr. Malcolm. “In fact, if we schedule it early Saturday morning, then I can give you a tour of the Miami campus personally. Then you can meet some of the players you will be playing with next fall. We will pay for the roundtrip flight of course; consider it a recruiting visit.”
“Well, I guess we have some packing to do,” said Sam, after getting agreement from the other family members. “I will make sure to let my boss know I will be away for the weekend.”
“Then it’s settled,” said Mr. Malcolm, standing up. “So, how is 9 am on the O.D. football field sound to everyone?”
“It sounds great,” agreed Susan. “Would you like to stay for dinner?”
“Certainly, I’d be glad to,” agreed Mr. Malcolm. “I just need to call Miami and arrange everything. Do you have a private room I can use?”
“The den is just down the hall,” said Sam, pointing towards the back of the house.
“Thank you,” said Mr. Malcolm. He packed everything in his briefcase and said, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Once he was gone, Susan wrapped Andrew in a big hug.
“We’re so proud of you son!” she exclaimed. “Way to go!”
“Yes, very well done,” said Sam, slapping Andrew on the back. “Make us proud son.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t let you down,” replied Andrew.
“That will be a problem if you lift any of us up again,” grinned Sam.
“Now I know where Andrew got his sense of humour from,” laughed Susan. “You two are a riot! Well, I’ll go get dinner started.”
During dinner, Mr. Malcolm filled everyone in on what to expect at the University of Miami.
After dinner, Andrew showed him his weight room. Mr. Malcolm was very impressed at the quality of the equipment, and the sheer number of weights that Andrew could lift. Andrew showed off a bit, bench-pressing 2000 pounds while Mr. Malcolm videotaped him.
“This will give your future team-mates a better idea of just how strong you are,” he explained to Andrew.
After the evening news, everyone went to bed. Andrew did a few bicep curls with one hand, with his 200 pound barbells and grinned quietly to himself as he imagined his future as a football star. Then he was able to relax enough to go to sleep.
The next day, the entire Pearson family met Mr. Malcolm on the O. D. football field at 9 am. Steve and Carrie and their parents were also there. Andrew bench-pressed his car first, and then shoulder-pressed it a few times to reach his limit. Then the rest of the team arrived, so he was able to perform the next part of the test, namely dragging a few team members down the field for a touchdown. Then Mr. Malcolm had the entire team sit on the raised team bench.
“Okay, Andrew, here comes the real challenge,” Mr. Malcolm said. “Lift the entire bench with the 10 guys on it and bring them over to me.” He jogged over to the far goalpost and stood there. “Come on!” he yelled out, “bring it right over here!”
Andrew backed up against the concrete wall until he was right under the bench. Then he took a deep breath, and letting it out slowly, hoisted it onto his shoulders. Then he started walking towards Mr. Malcolm, step by step. Mr. Malcolm’s eyes got wider as Andrew approached.
“How should I set it down with everyone on it?” Andrew asked, breathing heavily. “There is no concrete wall this time.”
“Just squat down like you did with the car and then set it on the ground,” suggested Mr. Malcolm. Andrew did that, and everyone got off the bench. “Very well done,” said Mr. Malcolm, writing down Andrew’s accomplishments on his clipboard. “Very well done indeed.”
“I got the whole thing on tape,” said Sam, turning off his video camera. “It was quite amazing to see everything in person this time.”
“Yes I agree. Now, since I have already tested a few of the other players, by watching them during the game last night, we will have a few more seats to fill on the plane. Congratulations, Ralph and Connor.”
“Thank you very much, Mr. Malcolm!” they said.
“Please, call me Alan,” Mr. Malcolm said. “And thank you for showing your quick thinking during the game, coming up with distractions that allowed you to win handily.”
“And that goes for you too,” Alan said, turning to Andrew, who was breathing heavily. “You go get changed now, and then we’ll all go down to Toronto and catch the flight to Miami. You are all packed?”
“Yes,” replied everyone.
“Good,” said Mr. Malcolm. “Then let’s go.”
He headed for his car, with everyone following him. Andrew, Ralph and Connor were congratulated by the rest of the players. Most of them were also going to other American football schools on scholarships, so they were not jealous. Steve, for example, was going to Florida State.
Once everyone got into their cars, they all headed home to pack
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