He already knew what was going to happen as soon as he entered the office. It was the office itself that gave away the game. He’d been in plenty of offices since getting signed. There were the various doctor’s offices he waited in before officially “inking the deal,” as his agent repeatedly said. The entire time he was in those series of offices, he wondered about what tiny medical detail could prevent him from getting to that contract. He met with other men in other offices, first for a nonsensical interview where the questions were about everything but the reason why he was in the building. Half a day later, he was free, clutching a map and a three-ring binder.
The other offices were of no consequence to his brain so he didn’t remember much except that they functioned as an office. There were books, papers, drink cups sitting around. A human being regularly used the room for work. This room was empty, two chairs and a desk.
One man told him to go to the office. He didn’t need the map anymore. He knew where everything was. As for the three-ring binder, he had yet to master its contents. The man across from him started talking. He had learned, through something his agent called “media training”, to sit up straight and put on an expression of deep interest. He wasn’t listening. Anything this pale dude in a windbreaker had to say was unimportant. He walked in with the playbook, and he’d walk out without it.
He thought about it, and the thought was such a cliche that he couldn’t even stifle the laugh. “Sure, you so and sos can cut me, but I’m going to catch on with another team, and my first catch in the league, it’s going to be against you sorry so and sos.” The training taught him to not curse, ever.
The man who probably would burst into flames if he ever saw the sun stopped talking. He waited a five count, stood up, accepted the overcompensating handshake from Powder, turned around and left the room, binder on the table.
Three days of practice and he was out on the street. There were about three dozen guys from that minicamp who would stick around but ultimately would never make it. In this franchise’s eyes, he wasn’t even that good. As he walked out into the light, he sincerely wondered if he’d ever hear that crowd cheer for him again. He didn’t care about that so much. What he wanted to do was keep playing ball.