Saturday, April 20, 2013

The tragedy of Jerry Andrews

The tragedy of Jerry Andrews

November 22, 2027

Weekly Report Posted: November 18, 2012 09:04

As Tatsuya Kaname's Mitakihara Magi prepare to close out the season with a bowl game, offensive line coach Daru Hashida contemplates a photo of him and former backup center Jerry Andrews.

"Jerry was a kid with a tough past," Hashida recalled from his office at Hakurei Centre. "He lived in one of the tougher parts of La Mirada, California, and was the only son of a gambolier and a prostitute. He was forced to live with his stepmother, a kindly old woman, when he was eight, as well as his younger sister Naomi, who is currently a student here.

"Jerry really wanted to play football, but he just didn't have the skills set to really shine on any team. The only school that bothered to recruit Jerry was us. USC didn't want him, UCLA didn't want him, no major or mid-major program wanted him, and none of the JCs called him because they felt he wasn't good enough.

"When he signed with us, he felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. And of all the people that went to the weight room, Jerry worked the hardest. You could see him pumping irons, running laps, working on his stats...he wanted to impress us.

"But he never got a lot of playing time because he was playing behind Seymour [Butts] and Blake [Wright]. We told him to be patient and keep working at it. He never ran away from the program because he had nowhere else to go.

"This summer, during training camp, we had to build our roster with the best team possible. That meant we had to shuffle a lot of players around. Unfortunately, that meant we had to cut Jerry, and he was in his junior year. He was 60 credits away from graduating. This was a very tough decision for us because he wanted to continue his career, but this was a business decision.

"When Jerry saw the news, he was in tears. He was outraged and felt like he was stabbed in the back by us. I told him, 'We are going to still honor your scholarship so you can finish your degree.' He said, 'Fuck you, Daru! You and your stupid no-transfer rule is the stuff that tyrannical cunts are made of! I wanted to finish my career on the sidelines! You folks are a bunch of backstabbing pieces of shit! I don't have anywhere else to go! And you're taking this all away from me! This university can go to hell! I hate Canada, I hate Mitakihara, and I hate all of you! FUCK!' He threw his helmet against the wall, threw his shoulder pads on the ground and stormed out, kicking a trash bin. The campus had to calm him down and take him away."

"I didn't think that this decision we made was going to destroy him completely. We told him he will be able to finish his education and we would honor his scholarship, but he never believed us. He thought we were a bunch of selfish liars.

"Then I heard the news: Jerry Andrews jumped off one of the city's bridges in broad daylight and died instantly upon hitting the water. I couldn't sleep for days, and everybody on campus was in tears. When I heard this news, I could only break down. Rikka Takanashi, our receivers coach, was there to console me, but I was inconsolable.

"We don't like cutting players, but we can be allowed so many, and we do remind them that their scholarship will still be honored. This was a special case. I didn't want to cut Jerry, but this was a team decision that I didn't have any power over. Tatsuya [Kaname] was the one that cut Jerry from the roster. I told him before he posted the final roster on the wall, 'Are you nuts? He's a senior! This is not going to set well with him. He simply told me, 'this is a business and we have to make business decisions for the good of our team.'

"I still have nightmares thinking about Jerry's reaction to the cut and the suicide that happened a few days later. He just wanted to play football. With no degree and no hope, he is now six feet under in Southern California. He was the first Magi football player to commit suicide after being cut.

The Jerry Andrews Most Improved Player is given to the player who has improved during offseason training and is named after the late center.

"In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to cut anyone from any team," said Hashida, still contemplating the photo on his table. "But life goes on, and the impact Jerry Andrews left of this time is something that cannot be taken away from the Magi football team. And that's all I have to say."

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