Saturday, March 04, 2006


note: this was written a few hours after the event, while being awake for more than 24 hours. Some names could possibly be incorrect, same with spellings of those names (even if they aren't the right names in the first place). Also, this is probably rife with simple grammatical and spelling errors. Please try and overlook those facts (or, in this case, misnamed and terribly worded "facts") and see an account as I experienced it. Thank you.

About three months ago I was roped in by Mr. Kovacs, my old sophmore/senior English teacher, to help out at the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Soccer Marathon, held at my old high school. It just so happened that it was being run by my girlfriend, Haley. Because I was seeing her--and beacause I feared Kovacs--I accepted. It was to come the day my Spring Break started, leading to lots of fun with sleep deprivation. Earlier today (Friday, the day of the marathon) I bought a four-pack of Mountain Dew's AMP energy drink to keep me awake.

The Marathon was sort of a disaster to start with. First, a giant snow and ice storm came on the day before hand, moving that night's girl's state game at my high school (the same sight as the marathon) to Friday night. That pushed the Marathon to 9:00 PM, which peeved the faculty and was a difficult time management game with the 7th and 8th graders who had to leave at Midnight. Second, the sound system was on the fritz, prompting me to bring my own. Third, the food would be a bit colder than normal. And for me, fourth was the fact that Haley and I are going through some issues presently, and we got to see each other for about 10 hours straight.

The good news is that the time worked out well, we got the food a bit later (although there wasn't enough) and the sound system worked, leaving me to unpack the stuff later on Saturday. Haley and I sat next to each other and acted like lawyers trying to reach a settlement - we never came to a conclusion. Kovacs interrupted at one point and asked me to go by the freezing cold door to make sure no kids left early and unsupervised. I pulled out my "How NOT To Write A Script" book, which elicited many questions as to what I was reading. I only got about 10 pages in, but I know the wonders of columns.

Sometime as I read and tried to ignore my hated 50 Cent blasting from the gym, it got eerily quiet. I was sitting in a way where I was just off to the side of the doors that lead into the main gym, so when I stood up to see what happened, it was a bit shocking. I heard something about a seizure and a kid named Porter, who I knew only as the kid that sort of resembled Napoleon Dynamite. I never met the kid, but I knew right away something was up with him. At one point, about 5-10 minutes before, he walked over to my guard post and watched me read. I was more than ready to explain the title to him, but he walked away. Now, as I peered in, I saw a body slightly shaking on the hardword court with Mr. Kovacs crouching over him, with his head nestled on a sweatshirt.

As soon as I went inside, I looked to my right to see Jamie Sacco balling into Dan Wyda...Woulda....Dan's arms. I just started to run. I can't explain it, I don't even know why, but I just ran inside as the people were quietly shooed into the stands. After running toward the middle of the court, barely ducking under the volleyball net, I see another teacher there to help all night, Mr. B. He says that he just called 911 as I was about to say I was going to. Instead, I pivoted, ran back to my post, quickly rushed on my jacket, propped the doors open, and ran to the street outside. Almost immediately a cop car showed up. I flagged it down (as if he wouldn't know where he was going), and the officer got out. I told him where the kid was, middle of the court, just in front of the bleachers. He started asking me questions like, "did he hit his head?" and "is he still conscious?" to which I only mumbled an answer of "I don't know, I don't know, I just came to get you, he's inside, he's right there." A second car came, and I waited for him to walk past me. I don't know why.

I then ran past the eerily silent bleachers, under the volleyball net set up across half court, and into the coaches room across the gym and out of the hall to find Haley, her mom Mrs. Brewer, and a girl named Gaby frantically rifling through tons of papers, trying to find his information so that (we?) they could call his parents and inform them. I know at some point I ran back out of the gym, probably to inform Mr. Kovacs that we were looking for the info as he stayed helping the boy, as he did the whole time. I heard something about him being blue, but getting lighter. I started to run back towards the coaches room when I felt my right shoe completely untie and become really lose. Taking the shoe in my right hand mid-run, I threw it at the wall. You can ask me a thousand times, it was the first, and most effective, though that came to mind.

The women above were still seaching through the multitudes of papers when I hopped in to do the same, sans my right shoe. We couldn't find his sheet, and realizing that she might have left it at home, Haley raced (and I mean raced) back to her house and found it. The only problem was that the sheet didn't have her phone number. I dialed in a 411 with the address Haley gave me over the phone, now enscribed in green Sharpie on the top of my left hand. 411 couldn't give me a number based soley off the address. I threw in Porter's (I don't even know if that's his name, honestly) last name, but no match came up with the name and address.

Kovacs by then had left the kid to the police and was in the war room trying to figure out a way to get the phone number. Gaby suggested a list for track kids in which there were a slew of emergency numbers for him. After finding a custodian or someone with a key into that office, the sheet had 3 lines crossing out the numbers. Mrs. Brewer and Kovacs dialed them all, and found that they were all to other people. Haley arrived back at the school with the sheet and the women's signature, with a different last name. We 411ed that name and adress and finally got a number.

During this whole time, I was walking back and forth between the coaches room and center court relaying information (can't find a number, found a number, not the right number, found a number, it works, his Dad's on the phone). Each time I came back there was a new member or group to the set standing around the body on the floor. First it was the EMTs with a stretcher, then another cop, then another one. Once the police were alerted that we had the boy's father on the phone, one officer went in to talk with him about medical history, etc. while the EMTs started to load Porter onto a stretcher. Once again I ran to prop open the doors which I ironically was guarded to protect to help the crew out as they wheeled him away into the ambulance. They sort of slightly ran into the metal folding chair that I used to protect the confinement of the kids inside the gym. After the stretcher pulled into the ambulance, I frantically moved the folding chair out of the way and moved a big wooden box-like structure that was used to sit on no more than two inches away from the door. I was doing my part, and it was abolutely worthless, yet it made perfect sense. I stood in the cold, without my jacket, watching the ambulance leave, and holding the doors open for the two police officers left.

Just afterwards, I came back in to see the gym full of life again, with kids moving around and grabbing their Dukin' Donuts drinks while others started playing volleyball. I sat on the side after asking Haley if she was alright, needed a hug, what have you. She said she was fine and moved past me. I grabbed a seat on the first row of bleachers by the coaches room, and my (mostly Haley's) friend Mel sat next to me; close enough for comfort, but far enough way for distance. She started saying how she wanted to work with challenged kids, even knowing what to do in this sort of situation, but she froze. She lamented how after all of that training, she just couldn't handle it, and stood there, but shoved a sweatshirt under him so that he wouldn't keep banging his head on the floor.

I wrapped my arm around her and sort of hugged her while caressing her left arm as she sort of teared up. Then, to my right, I see the sisters Sacco sit down, first Sammy, a freshman, then Jamie, a sophomore. Sammy was distraught, and was talking to Haley while I was trying to comfort Mel. Once Jamie sat down in a terrible state, Haley moved over to her as I started talking to Sammy while another of Haley's friends, Cassie, took up with Mel. Sammy was upset because she saw him fall down, didn't think anything of it, and walked away. She heard someone say that he was having a seizure behind him, and she stood there, motionless, before either calling for or getting Kovacs.

Afterwards, I was congratulated in an odd way, saying that I did a good job during the little crisis. All I did was run back and forth and throw my shoe needlessly at the wall. I was questioned about why I did that almost as much as "what is the name of the book?" The truth is, everyone came together and helped, big or small. Mel saved head injuries by getting a sweatshirt as a pillow, Sammy got Kovacs, Haley and Mrs. Brewer regulated phone numbers, while Mr. B kept everything calm after making the initial 911 call. Everything was like clock work. Not bad for a group of people who never were in this sort of situation.

After I started to talking to people, I realized that I was shaking something fierce. I never gave it a thought to process all of the information. As I was told by a few people, he very well could have died. A lot of people in the bleachers had no idea that he was slowly coming back to reality, even complaining about his shirt when he was loaded into the ambulance as Mr. Kovacs rode along. I was a nervous wreck afterwards, just when the gravity of the situation hit me, and more so the importance of the work of the people around me (I either ran or walked - I didn't do shit really). Out of the coaches room comes Haley, looking a little weary. She climbs up the bleachers, lays down, and rests her head on my lap, giving me more comfort than I think she got herself.

To sum it up? It's amazing what capable people can do - even when they think they are doing nothing, but are actually saving lives.

(For the record, the boy's fine. His dad came to pick up his stuff. I was in charge of the pillows, and I just hoped he didn't drool.)


Anonymous said...

so... is a good holy shit accurate for this entry?
what time did this all happen at? i left at like 245.


Anonymous said...

manton..yeah that night was definitely a test of somesort but it was handled really well. i was wondering why you threw your shoe at the wall (making you "that guy") but now i guess i know...good thinking lol..