F*ck High School These past four years were a joke. But here's some parts that didn't suck:

Trip to Arkansas

We both exhaled with relief when we reached the top of the ladder and stepped out onto the platform. We were at the highest point we could find in that area. We didn't know if it was legal but we were already there and wanted to see the sunrise. The air felt fresh and new; a gentle breeze caressed my skin. I seated myself on the cold, metal platform. My friend sat down beside me and we watched as ribbons of golden sunlight spilled into the forest. The pine trees were a black silhouette against the brilliant gold sky. The dew drops, adorning the forest, seemed to glow with their own golden radiance.

We didn't say a word. We just sat there, enjoying the view. Sure, we had seen a sunrise before in pictures and maybe on the highway in the morning. But to see it here, to see it in this foreign place, with your friend by your side, it was something else.

I was already in love with the sky, especially sunsets. Sunsets ended my days with happiness and love. But the sunrise, it started my day with happiness and love. It was beautiful. All I wanted to do from that point was to travel and see the world. Every sunrise and sunset was different in different places and I wanted to see them all.

Prom

We looked at each other and shook our heads in disgust. We knew prom was definitely more of a couple’s dance, but we really didn’t want to watch everyone else make out the entire bus ride. After all, we weren’t a couple and didn’t really want to be.

He was my best friend. There was something about us that just clicked. He was unlike anyone I had ever met before. We both knew we were just friends and that’s all we ever wanted to be. It was simply platonic.

He was a senior that year. I knew he hated school dances and the whole dancing thing in general. He had only been to homecoming his freshman year and decided he would never go to another one again. But I needed a date to prom. It took a lot of convincing but eventually he decided to come along with me.

At the museum we went to check out the mirror maze since everyone was talking about how great it was. As soon as the doors to the maze opened up, he grabbed my hand and dragged me in. He looked like a little kid again, trying to drag his mom inside a store to see his favorite toy. He had this stupid little grin on his face and his eyes sparkled full of amazement.

For the first time that night, I really looked at him. I looked at his suit and how classy it was. He was unsure about the bowtie but the store lady said it fit him. She was right; it fit him perfectly. I looked at his thick brown hair that was out of his face. Usually it looked like he had just been in the middle of a hurricane, but not that night. His smile lit up in that maze and seeing it made me so happy to be there with him.

Later on that night, I caught him staring. It was the same way I had looked at him earlier. I laughed at him and told him to stop staring at me. But instead of looking away, he took my hand and pulled me towards him. He said to me, “Just so you know, you look beautiful tonight. Thank you for convincing me to come with you, you’ve made my senior prom something to remember. Thank you for coming into my life, you have no idea how special you are to me.”

Now that might not be the sweetest thing you’ve heard from someone. But for me, and for him to say that, it was something else. He was never good with words and to say something that deep to someone in person, was unheard of. It wasn’t a confession of love, it was about how much we valued each other in our friendship. We didn’t want to lose each other. He wrapped me up in his arms and said, “Thank you for being my best friend.”

We weren’t a love story, we just loved each other as friends. He taught me so many things these past few years. He taught me to not care what people think and to be myself. He showed me what it was like to have a real best friend.

New Orleans

The faint lingering lilac sky was fading into the shadow. As if it was a routine, the shimmering sparkles of stars brilliantly silhouetted into the darkness. A trembling gush of wind inaudibly drifted across the skyline. As the tiresome day sluggishly came to an end, there came the time to unwind the tenseness and rigidness of our fragile bones. The blinding city lights gradually subsided ever so subtly, filling the shadow-emitted sky with a pleasant silence.

New Orleans had never looked so beautiful. It was known for its drinking and partying, but there was so much more to it. There was the way the lights danced across the water. The way the music played so faintly in the background. The way the soft breeze cooled my skin after the hot summer day. It was better than I ever could have imagined. It made me realize that everything had so much more to it.

Best Tourney

The "babaganoosh" was out to get us that night, according to my friend. The "babaganoosh" was my friend's way of saying the babaduke's name. The babaduke was a demon or something in a horror movie and it freaked them out. My friend couldn't remember what the demonic creature's name was so she came up with her own name for it. It's now one of our many inside jokes. We all got so much closer that night. We may have not been completely sober, but it was definitely a night we'd remember.

11:00pm: The parents all finally leave the second floor and go to their rooms. Finally. Our meeting place was the second floor. Bathrooms were in both corners of that floor. No staff members really walked along that floor. There were no bedrooms on that floor. We wouldn't be disturbing anyone.

12:00am: We had a few drinks. Everything was good. We were just talking about hockey, ranting about people, laughing about stupid things, the usual.

1:00am: We may have had a few more drinks. Everything was funny to us at that point. It may have been the sleep deprivation or the alcohol. Who knows? All we knew is that we were young and having fun.

3:00am: There was something that sounded like a crash and a big thud. Was that thunder? No, it couldn't have been. It wasn't raining outside.

3:10am: There it was again. It sounded more like a crash this time. Oh well.

3:20am: It sounded even louder this time. The lights flickered. We all were a little freaked out. "It's the babaganoosh guys."

3:25am: "Should we go see what's going on?" "Guys, I have to pee, but I don't want to go alone. What if the lights go out?" "Fine we'll come with you but first let's go see if the front desk is open."

3:28am: Oh good, someone's there. "Hi, do you know why the lights flickered like that?" "I don't actually know, this has never happened in the 20 years I've worked here. But they said it should be fine." "Is it safe to use the elevators?" "Honestly, probably not."

3:30am: "Guys, it's fine, let's just go back to the second floor." We started walking up the stairs. There was a loud boom again. "Guys, relax, nothing's going to happen. She said it shouldn't happen again." Then everything in the hotel shut off. All four of us dropped to the ground in fear or shock. We just laid there freaking out. Everything was completely silent. The only thing we could hear was our own heartbeat.

3:31am: The lights came back on. I got up first. I pulled my friend up with me. We found our two other friends huddled together and crying. Meanwhile, my other friend and I were laughing hysterically at what had just happened. "See guys, I told you it was the babaganoosh."

Two of us crying and the other two laughing. Nothing described our friendship so well. That night became our favorite tournament memory so far. We still can't get over it.

Hunter Hayes Concert

My favorite song by him was always "Invisible." I had been waiting all night to hear him sing it. He finished one of his faster songs and told us he was going to slow it down a bit. I started to get excited. This had to be it. There wasn't any other slow song on his albums left to play.

He brought out the piano. It was white with black cursive writing up and down the sides. The overhead lights turned purple and blue. Our light up bracelets turned white. I looked around the stadium. It looked like the night sky full of stars. His fingers danced along the keys and everyone got quiet. He started to play the intro to the song and told us he loved us and he thanked us for coming tonight and that we were all beautiful no matter what. He told us that this song meant a lot to him and he hoped it meant just as much to us. Then he played.

"ohh, but listen for a minute..." He hesitated. He called out to us to sing it for him. He sang, "trust the one..." and let us take it away. We all sang our hearts out. He put the microphone back to his lips about to sing again but stopped. He let us keep going. Everyone waved their bracelets back and forth to the beat of the music. When the song started to speed up again, he joined us in singing again. Hearing us sing his song to him, seemed to put tears in his eyes.

The sound of everyone in the crowd and him singing together was beautiful. It sounded better than his recorded version. It made me feel something deep inside. It made me really listen to the lyrics. It was beautiful.

4th of July

It was the 4th of July, the summer going into Junior Year. We had been together for about six months at that point. I had just gotten back from a trip and we hadn't seen each other for two weeks. I had spent the day with him and his family and we wanted to go see the fireworks.

His parents wanted us to stay as group and stay in the same spot to watch the fireworks. But he wanted to get away from them, as most teenagers do. He had his own special place he wanted to bring me that night. I trusted him so we snuck away and he led me through the town. There were people everywhere you went. I didn't know where he was bringing me but I knew it was important to him because he was so excited about it.

He lead me along the river on the path and stopped at a pathway leading up the hill in the forest. He said, "I promise you'll love it. It's right up there." I took his hand and followed him up the path. I couldn't see much because it was just starting to get much darker. At the top of the hill there were old railroad tracks. I stopped and asked, "Wait, trains don't use these anymore right?" He said, "Of course not, you can see where the tracks end."

Then I saw the bridge where the tracks stopped. I felt a bit nervous because I felt like we were doing something wrong but we were just exploring. He knew I liked adventures and exploring and taking some risks.

He held my hand the entire time while leading me out onto the bridge. I could see the entire town and the lights reflecting off the river and I was in awe. He was right, I did love it. I loved everything about it. I sat down on the edge of the bridge with my feet dangling off the side. The breeze blew my hair back and cooled my skin. It gave me goosebumps. He noticed and wrapped his arms around me.

The fireworks started shortly after we got up there. His arms were still wrapped around me and we laid back and watched as the sky lit up with different colors. We didn't speak, we just laid there watching. Even though the fireworks were loud, it was very peaceful and calming just to be there with him.

Summary

Phil Esposito has never been reluctant to speak his mind. He was very very straight up throughout the entire book. He said everything that came to his mind with very little or no filter. He talks about the end of his third season with the Blackhawks. He told coach Billy Reay and GM Tommy Ivan that they had a great team, maybe even a dynasty, but that the two would mess it up. He did very well during his Chicago days, he had record-setting times with the Bruins, he had an abrupt trade to the Rangers and lots of hard work and heartache behind founding the Tampa Bay Lightning. We all get to see how direct and straight up he is about everything. He doesn't hold back.

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