Posted:  Sept 14, 2013...

Everything felt so right in the world with all of us practically parading over to tailgate. Even
though we did it last Friday night, today had a better feel about it since it was in familiar
territory. Walking over, my head was going back and forth to see all the places where I was just 3
months ago. Regardless of what happens in my life this place will have a special place in me. 

Once we arrived I called Scott and tried my best to tell him where we were while Kris called Myles to
do the same. It was nice seeing Kris’s parents again and I knew how much they enjoyed treating us
over the past four years. They had bought quite a lot of food since we didn’t know exactly how many
would join us on this hot sunny Saturday afternoon. 

Once Kris finished, he headed to the cooler in the back of Colt’s truck to signal the beginning of
things. The surprise was Kris handing one to his Dad while I just took water on this warm day. 

It took a while before Scott came walking up alone. He was dressed in a sleeveless tee, sunglasses
and shorts. 

“Where have you been?” Colt asked.

“You should see the traffic out there. Trevor dropped me off at the closest place there was,” Scott
replied before grabbing a cold one.

“Is he not coming?” I asked.

“I don’t think so. He’s not really into the games like we were,” Scott replied.

“Bro, anyone else coming? I know you’ve been talking,” Kris asked, sitting in the back of Colt’s

Scott smiled, “Maybe a few more, but I’m not really sure. I do know Jordy isn’t in town so we can
count him out.” He walked away and said hi to Sergio and Dillon.

“As well as Bruce’s stupid ass,” Aaron added.

“What about Grady?” Colt asked.

“I’ve not talked to him in weeks,” Aaron replied.

While Scott was talking with Sergio, I saw him on his phone, talking with his hands more than usual. 

“Look who’s coming,” Corey said to me.

I looked around until Corey pointed. There was no mistaking Garrett. He was walking with Brennan and
another guy. “Is that Bryson?” I asked.

“I think it is. I can tell by how short he is,” Corey replied.

The three, along with a girl, came walking up. Bryson was a guy of many disguises as we had found
out, with today being no exception. His hair was really short with a partial goatee and shades along
with looking great. 

“I’ll be damned it’s Bryson showing his sorry ass again,” Colt said.

“Where?” Kris asked and started looking around.

“Ah come on Kris,” Bryson said, lifting his shades. “Have I changed that much?”

“Oh, I wasn’t looking in the right place,” Kris laughed and patted Bryson on the shoulder. “Bro,
you’re looking good.”

“You are too,” Bryson said. “So how’s everyone doing? Man, it’s always great to be back.”

“We’re doing great,” Corey said. “Matt didn’t recognize you at first.”

Bryson laughed, “Well, I’ve cleaned up my act a little and finally got on the right track.”

“I’ll say,” Colt said. “Want a cold one?”

“I still drink a little but the rest of that shit is gone. So yeah, I’ll have one with my old
buddies,” Bryson replied, with Brennan and Garrett standing behind being silent.

I walked over with Corey and started talking to Garrett and Brennan.

“Matt, we were just talking about you the other day. I said I first came out to you on our freshman
trip. Then Brennan said how he did the same to you on our sophomore trip,” Garrett said.

“I remember,” I said with a smile. “So how are y’all doing?”

“We’re doing great. I still see you haven’t let go of Corey,” Brennan replied.

“More like I haven’t let go of him,” Corey said.

We stood around chatting and found that they had moved not too far from where Corey and I had gone
for our weekend. We explained the situation to them. They knew far too well the trials that come with
being a couple. We found they had grabbed a motel room for the game and were excited to see everyone
again. Brennan said how they enjoyed their DVD Scott and I had made for them and watched it often. 

While we were standing around, I saw Myles come walking up with Juan, Felicia and their little girl,
Britney, all dressed up in school colors. Naturally we were all amazed at how much Britney had grown.
She was so cute with her long curly hair. It gave the girls something to talk about as well as Jenny
becoming part of the action. 

After Juan greeted the rest he made his way to us. He now was a little bigger than he was when I
first met him the first day here on campus.

“She’s so cute,” Corey said about Juan’s little girl.

“Thanks,” Juan said. “She really keeps me busy these days.”

“She’s two, right?” I asked. 

“Yeah, she is. It’s hard to believe that, huh?” Juan said with Britney coming to grab his leg and
Felicia trailing her.

“She’s a Daddy’s girl,” Brennan said.

“No, she’s a Momma’s girl and may be a little shy around all these people,” Juan said.

We greeted Felicia and said how great it was to have them. Myles came over and spoke only to say he
couldn’t stay very long. He was going to join up with some old teammates but did want to say hi even
though he and Ted were with us last week.

After a few complaints we were ready to grab some food. We had regular sandwiches but plenty of other
things to go along with them so no one would go hungry. The trick was finding a spot to stand or sit
with all of us gathered. 

As usual, my camera was in my pocket. With everyone gathered around I started taking pictures while
we ate. 

“Naturally, Matt would be taking our picture,” Shawn said.

“Hey, I think you enjoyed them in the end,” Scott said.

“I did, but I knew Matt would be on the ball,” Shawn said.

I did manage to eat but enjoyed taking various pictures of everyone. It would be fun to compare them
to the other tailgate parties we had enjoyed in the past. 

While we were talking as a group, Juan said that he and Felicia had moved into a house and out of
their apartment. “Y’all will soon see that with a kid an apartment is just too small,” Juan added.

“Who’ll be the next one to be a Daddy?” Shawn asked.

Fingers pointed at Kris and Colt. “Hey, I hope not,” Kris said.

“We hope not too,” Walt laughed.

“Things have worked out for you,” Bryson stated with his girl, Allison, by his side.

“They have, but I too wonder who will be next,” Juan added.

“Bros, I’m sorta surprised one of us ain’t a Daddy yet if you know what I mean,” Kris said. 

“There are four that won’t be,” Aaron said and looked at me, Corey, Brennan and Garrett.

“It’s not for the lacking of trying,” Brennan joked. 

We finished up eating with still a few hours before the game. Colt brought out a football and began
throwing it around with some of the others. I stood back and watched all the people walk by clad in
the school’s colors and full of cheer after the first win last week. My hope was maybe to recognize a
face or two. 

Corey on the other hand had seen a lot of familiar faces and had a few say hi in passing. When I
asked who they were he’d laugh and say he didn’t have a clue. As time passed, shirts started coming
off, especially those throwing around the football. Generally no one had become huge but some, like
Colt and Shawn, were getting lots of body hair.

Corey did walk away and began talking to a guy and girl. He finally waved me over.

I walked over and laughed seeing it was Michael, Corey’s first roommate and his wife Brianna. Michael
looked like he’d put on weight since I last saw him, which may have been Corey’s 21st birthday.

“Corey, I’m really glad I ran into you,” Michael said after I greeted them.

“He was actually looking for you,” Brianna said.

“I’m glad you found us,” Corey said.

“I’ve got big news. We’re going to be parents,” Michael said with a big smile. “We found out about
two weeks ago.”

“Congratulations,” Corey said and leaned over to Michael. “I see you did lose your virginity.”

Michael laughed, “I did that before we were married.”

“Congratulations. When are you due?” I asked.

“February,” Brianna replied. “I got pregnant right after our honeymoon.”

“Atta boy, Michael,” Corey said. 

“It was a shocker but I’m really happy,” Michael said. “I see everyone is here. Kris and Colt haven’t
changed a bit, but then again neither have you or Matt. I’m glad to see you still together.”

We stood around and did enjoy visiting with them before they went back to where they were doing the
same as us. Corey told everyone about Michael and the big news. 

“Hey, there’s Coach Kris,” I heard a voice say. I turned to see four high school guys standing there

“Hey Jackson, what’s up?” Kris asked with his shirt off.

“Nothing Coach, we just came to the game,” Jackson said.

“Everyone, these are four of my players,” Kris proudly announced once he walked over to them.

“So he wasn’t fucking with us,” Shawn joked.

“Nope. Jackson, do you remember me saying something about all my college friends?” Kris asked the
dark haired cute boy.

“Yeah, you were pissed about not going to the first game,” Jackson laughed.

“All these people were and still are my college friends. They mean a ton to me,” Kris said. “I’m glad
you hollered at me.”

“Tell us dudes. Is Kris a cool guy at school?” Colt asked.

“He is and ain’t a dick like some of the coaches are,” one of the others replied. “We all like Coach
Kris and think he’s crazy.”

“Coach, we’ll see ya Monday,” Jackson said.

“You will. Enjoy the game,” Kris said.

“I see you are,” one of them said. I did think enough to take a picture of them with Kris before they
walked away.

If Kris wasn’t excited already he was now for sure after seeing four of his players. Walt walked over
and patted Kris’s big shoulder. “Here I thought all that money was going for you to get bigger and
party. Seeing and hearing that right there made my day, son,” Walt said. “I hope that drives home the
point you have to be a responsible man now.”

“It does,” Kris said.

“It was weird though hearing them call him Coach Kris,” Aaron said.

“Kris, you could see they really like you or else they would have just hello,” I stated. 

We stood around, talked and drank a little, with no one getting out of control. Last year, a few
times things got crazy with some having a few too many before the game. 

We began pitching in and helping clean things up before making our way to the stadium. Colt still had
connections and scored more than enough tickets for all of us. They were in the same section but not
all together.  

While walking over to the stadium we passed the general location where I heard my name called four
years ago. I’d give anything to hear my name again called out by my Dad. Even though we weren’t that
close until the end, I missed him. It did remind to stop by the cemetery on our way out of town. 

We entered the stadium, but through the general entrance rather than going to enter with the
students. The foyer was packed despite hearing the opposition wasn’t that good. It showed great
support for the team. 

After grabbing some popcorn and a drink we walked up the ramp to find our seats. We were three
sections over from the student section. We grabbed our seats with Kris, Colt, Melissa and Faith on
our row. Garrett, Brennan, Bryson and his girl were directly behind us.

“Great seats, Colt,” Brennan said. “But it is weird not sitting in the student section and smelling
alcohol when you walked up the stairs.”

“Bros, I’d love to go over and sit there but this drives home the point we’ve graduated more than
anything has lately,” Kris stated.

“Imagine how your Dad feels,” Garrett said.

“Yeah, his son has graduated,” Corey said.

“I know. He must feel really old now,” Kris laughed. “Bros, I can just see us in twenty years meeting
together for the games.”

“It is a good reason for us to get back together,” Colt said.

Once the game began I couldn’t help but notice how in control Kris was. He was sitting quietly,
watching the game with unusual intensity. I had to ask, “Are you okay?”

“I’m good. I’m studying the defenses,” Kris replied. “I’m doing everything I can to help our team.”

“Makes sense,” I said. 

He started pointing out different things on defense. It was beyond my level of football knowledge. It
was great to see Kris taking such a devoted interest and trying to learn things while watching the
team. After a few series, we agreed how different it was not seeing our friends on the field and
would be really different seeing Ted and Luke in a pro uniform. Ted wasn’t going to start but we
heard he would get to play while Luke did make the team as a third string QB. 

Just before half time, I got a call from Reese. He wanted to meet up in the foyer during the break. I
headed down with Corey and finally located Reese and Latham. We greeted them.

“Weird not seeing Ted out there, huh?” Corey asked.

“Very weird, but I’ll see him tomorrow night,” Reese replied with a big smile. “You are coming to the
game, right?”

“We are,” I replied. “Not sure how many we’ll make this year though.”

“Is Ted getting pumped?” Corey asked.

“I think he’s ready to see what it’s all about,” Reese replied.

“How are things working out for you two?” I asked, knowing Reese had some fears.

“So far so good,” Latham said. “You two know how it is.”

“We do, but we waited to live together alone,” Corey stated.

“It’s working just fine for us. I know you will always have somewhere to stay, but if you ever need a
place you are always welcome to stay with us,” Reese said.

“I appreciate that, but… Kris and Colt would be disappointed if we didn’t stay with them,” I said.

“I know. I was just saying,” Reese said.

We stood around talking with them while everyone walked past us. Just before the second half began we
went back to our seats to watch the game that so far was a blowout and not real exciting. 

With five minutes left in the game we decided we’d enjoyed enough of the blowout. We exited the
stadium, as did most of the others, to begin our trek back to the apartments.  

We made it back just before 11 and took a minute to freshen up and use the bathroom. Our plan was to
re-join everyone by the pool. Juan and his family had left us, leaving the game with their little
girl sound asleep on Juan’s shoulder. 

We went with a lot of residents to the pool area to celebrate the victory and be together as long as
we could while we had the chance. Everyone in our party agreed how hard it would be in the future to
have us gathered like this at one time. Our next big opportunity to come for a home game would
probably be in the middle of October. We did get to see Jess as well as he came and joined us for a
little while. We got to hear all about our old place and how he was doing at his new job. 

While we were sitting around, Chase and his friends came walking up. Chase seemingly was sober, while
Tabor and Deer weren’t and had enjoyed the game and tailgating. 

“Chase, this is unlike you,” Colt said.

“Funny, bro, I let them have their fun since they were good to me over the summer,” Chase said in his
tee and shorts with a stubbly beard going.

“Yeah, we had to take care of his fucking ass so much,” Tabor said and leaned on Corey.

“Good for you, Chase,” Colt said. 

“I guess, but I see the shit I put them through,” Chase said.

“Revenge is a bitch,” Deer said.

“Y’all be careful,” Colt said before they walked away.

“Colt, do you think he’s learned anything?” Kris asked.

“Maybe, but he still needs to learn to cover his shit up,” Colt laughed.

“You know sometimes becoming a Dad makes you grow up,” Scott said. “Look at Juan.”

“I only wish things would end up like that for him,” Colt stated.

Eventually, we began saying goodbye to our friends. It was nice to see them again and be around them.
About one, Kris, Melissa, Shawn, Aaron, Colt, Faith, Corey and I decided to call it a night. The long
day had taken its toll on us and left us very tired. Before going in Kris’s apartment, we said
goodbye to Colt and his group since Corey and I had plans to leave early and spend some time with
Corey’s mom. 

After our long goodbyes, we went inside with Kris and Melissa. “Bro, I hate that you’re leaving early
tomorrow…” Kris said.

“You should understand. You did the same thing to us,” Corey stated.

“I do. Corey said earlier that he hadn’t seen his mom since he graduated so y’all need to do that,”
Kris said. “Bros, Melissa and I are gonna leave it with ya. My ass is worn out.”

“Ours too,” I said. “You do know we won’t leave before seeing you tomorrow.”

“You better not,” Kris said.

Corey and I unfolded the bed and stripped down to lay together. We enjoyed kissing but sex wasn’t in
the cards for tonight. 

I woke on Sunday morning and turned to see Corey was awake as well. I moved and gave him a sweet

“I’m worried about today,” Corey said.

“I understand,” I said. “You just don’t ever know.”

“I know I should be more involved with Mom and shit but it’s so hard now, especially with us living
so far away. Matt, I do worry about her.”

“That’s natural. She’s your mother,” I said.

We got up, dressed, undid the bed and put the bed back for next time. Kris came out in his shorts. He
did offer cereal to us which we took to eat before starting our day. 

“Bros, I’m glad you’re leaving early today so it’ll give me time to recover,” Kris stated.

“Thanks Kris,” Corey said.

“I mean it. I’ll need to regroup,” Kris said. 

“I will too,” I said. “By now you’d think we could handle us being apart.”

“I just look forward to the day when we do live close together,” Kris stated. “Things are working out
great for all of us… well, all but Colt that is, but he’ll find his niche.”

“I hope he does,” I said. “The three of us really enjoy our jobs.”

“I love mine…” Kris said.

“We all knew you would and would be perfect for it,” Corey stated.

We stayed as long as we could and got to see Colt before we left. Goodbyes with these guys were tough
as always but we held up. We started out towards Corey’s hometown. I saw a dollar store and went in
there to grab some plastic flowers to spruce up Dad’s grave.

It was always an odd feeling inside driving up to the cemetery, and even odder walking back to his
grave. Corey was the perfect boyfriend and took my hand while we walked back to locate Dad’s grave. I
found his grave and tombstone but was taken aback seeing a nice arrangement on top.

“Matt, do you think Gloria did it?” Corey asked.

“I have no idea but it is very nice,” I replied with the same idea. “I still wonder what happened to

“Me too,” Corey said.

I knelt down and placed the flowers against his tombstone and said a few quiet words to him. I know
it was silly but I felt better after doing it. 

We drove and arrived in Corey’s hometown. The only real change was a nice Walmart just before we
drove to Corey’s mom. We parked in the driveway with everything looking the same as it did the last
time we were there, which was probably two years ago. Corey knocked on the door and waited. His mom
came to the door and grabbed Corey with Larry standing behind.

“My boy did come,” she said hugging him.

“I made it,” Corey said. “You knew we were on our way.”

“She’s been waiting,” Larry said.

His mom gave me a big hug before we stepped in the living room with the smell of food filling the

“I hope you like roast,” Marie said.

“You know I do,” Corey said before we took a seat.

His mom looked really good compared to other times we had seen her. I can’t say the same for Larry
for he looked thin and frail. Naturally, they wanted to hear all about our jobs. Corey told them
about his, with his mom smiling the entire time. I told them a little about mine before we talked
with them about where we were living and what we had been doing.

“Corey, when are you gonna tie the knot?” Larry asked.

“When they legalize it here Matt and I will be waiting,” Corey replied.

“Oh I can’t wait,” Marie said. “I can see just how happy you two are together, but you always have,
even when I didn’t think you were. It ain’t the thing to say around here but I still tell people my
son lives with his boyfriend in the big city and is a college graduate. You should see the looks I

“Nothing has changed around here then,” Corey said. “You really tell ‘em I live with my boyfriend?”

“She does whenever someone asks how you’re doing or where you are,” Larry replied.

“Mom, that makes me very happy,” Corey said.

“Corey, I’m just really proud of you… and Matt, too. You prove that love doesn’t know a gender,”
Marie said.

I smiled, “Thank you very much. Now if we can get others to see that we’ll have it made.”

Once lunch was ready we went to eat at the table. Marie had a roast with potatoes, carrots and fried
okra as well from her garden. The tea she had made really hit the spot as well.

“Corey, I saw Heath yesterday and told him you were coming around today,” Marie said while we were

“How’s he doing?” Corey asked.

“He’s doing okay,” Marie said. “I think he expects you and Matt to at least stop by and say hi.”

“We can do that,” I said with Corey looking at me.

We stayed around as long as we could to give us time to drive to Ted’s game and stop for a brief
moment to see Heath, Corey’s cousin. 

It wasn’t too far down the road until we pulled into Heath’s place. He was out mowing his yard and
quickly stopped what he was doing seeing us drive up. He came over and shook our hands with sweat
running down his face and skinny frame.

“I’ll be damned. You did stop by,” Heath said.

“Mom said she talked to you yesterday,” Corey said.

“I did and was kidding about you stopping by. Corey, you are still one big joker. I bet no one ever
fucks with you,” Heath said.

“You are still one skinny guy too,” Corey said.

“I don’t know how with all the beer I put away,” Heath said. “I knew Matt would still be with you

“I am,” I said. 

“Heath, I really wish we had a lot of time but Matt and I can’t stay but a few minutes,” Corey said.

“I’m thrilled you stopped by,” Heath said.

“How’s Lane doing?” Corey asked about Heath’s best friend.

“Okay whenever I see that sucker. One girl finally married his sorry ass,” Heath replied. 

“How many kids does he have now?” Corey asked.

“At last count, three,” Heath laughed. “He has all three living with him too.”

“I see why you never see him then,” I said.

“Ain’t that the truth? He just had one earlier this summer,” Heath said.

We stood around as long as we could before we had to get on the road to make it for Ted’s game. While
taking the back roads, we declared we’d never try to cram so much into a weekend. The drive did give
us plenty of time to talk and assess all that had gone on during the weekend. 

Corey and I made it to the game after fighting the traffic getting into the game. We were there for
kickoff and did get to see Ted get in for a few plays, including one really nice tackle. However, we
decided to call it a day at halftime despite the urging of Reese to stay longer.

Once back at our apartment, Corey and I were really glad to be back home. We had a lot of fun seeing
everyone and going to the games. The worst part was the next day it was back to work. The best part
was we were living our lives together and doing our very best.


There's their weekend back on campus and the first home game.  I hope you enjoyed catching up with

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