FURY:A Rio Games Romance(5)By: Alison Ryan
“How can I promise that if I don’t know what it’s about, kiddo?” Chuck asked as he folded up the last of the beach chairs.
She pouted and batted her eyelashes until he relented.
“Okay, okay, not mad, now the suspense is killing me. Say what you need to say,” Chuck couldn’t even begin to guess what she was about to tell him.
Logan took a deep breath.
“When I get to college I want to focus on one sport. And even though I love it, and I know you want to see me play in the College World Series, it’s not softball,” Logan’s voice dropped to a whisper as she spoke the last three words.
Chuck looked deep into his daughter’s eyes, then reached over and gave her hand a squeeze. “I know. I’ll never understand it, but I’ll always be your biggest fan. I know that deep down you’re a soccer player.”
Logan felt her eyes grow wet with tears. She knew she was breaking her father’s heart, but he wasn’t about to let it ruin either their trip or her future. “Daddy, how did you know?”
“I’ve known for years. I struggled at first, but I’ve always known it would be soccer for you. You get so much more excited for soccer than softball or basketball. And just the way you play. You play with… a fury. It’s not hard to tell that it’s your true passion. Whatever you do, just know how proud your mother and I are of you.”
Logan could hardly believe it. “Thank you. I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time but I never knew how. But it’s time I get serious about narrowing down my list of colleges. And Mr. Barton deserves a break,” she replied.
Poor old Mr. Barton had been the Lowery mailman since before Logan was born, and he’d suffered under the weight of her recruiting letters.
“I’ll miss watching you hit home runs,” Chuck Lowery’s voice trailed off as seagulls squawked nearby.
“Oh, I think I’ve got a few more in me, Daddy. You’re not getting rid of me so soon. We have another state title to win together. But is watching me score goals really so bad?”
He shook his head. “Your momma and I worked so hard to get you here, kiddo. How could I ever be anything but grateful for whatever you get to choose to do with your beautiful life? I love you, Logan.”
With that, the father and daughter stood and embraced.
Breaking the hug and stretching her arms above her head, Logan looked her father in the eye. “Race me to the water, old man. I’ll give you a head start.”
“I’ve never lost a footrace to a soccer player, and I don’t plan to start today!” Chuck exclaimed.
With that, father and daughter bolted toward the ocean, hitting the waves together and laughing as he pulled her under.
Logan’s senior year began with her leading Montgomery High to its first state championship in soccer, and although she couldn’t duplicate the feat as captain of an inexperienced basketball team, her final season playing softball was a fairytale ending to her high school career. The team lost only two games and stampeded to a third state crown, cementing a legacy for father and daughter.
Chuck announced his retirement from coaching the Monday after they won the state championship.
As for Logan, she’d picked Xavier University, just down the road in Cincinnati, as her college destination. More high-profile schools had sought her signature, but she liked the smaller campus, the proximity to home, and the coaching staff, headed by a retired Dutch professional player named Kyle Hiddink.
Soccer and school were the order of the day for Logan Lowery, and her success on the field was starting to draw the notice of people in high places.
Logan was at her peak. A college athlete, an Olympic hopeful, and a young, vivacious girl with the world at her feet if she wanted it.
No one would have guessed the obstacle that would soon stop them all in their tracks.
“Help is on the way. Keep pressure on it. Your friend is lucky. His leg is in a lot better shape than his board.”
Jack O’Connor didn’t feel lucky. He and his best friend, Wyatt Sullivan, had only been in Fiji for a few hours and had barely arrived on Malolo Island when the attack occurred. Wyatt caught the first big wave and had a good opening run, but as Jack paddled out to get in position, something bumped his board, a bump that seemed more curious than hostile. Jack couldn’t see anything, but by the time he heard a female voice behind him scream “Shark!” it was already too late.