Tomorrow's BTTS Football Predictions | Betting Tips on 19

Soccer 13 Predictions for Tomorrow, Winning Football Betting Tips

Soccer 13 Predictions for Tomorrow, Winning Football Betting Tips submitted by jacksonchristy to u/jacksonchristy [link] [comments]

Win £50 Straight into your account! How to Enter : 1. Join the Facebook Group Link : https://www.facebook.com/groups/strategybetting/ Name of Group : Betting Tips & Strategy Talk UK Member Count (9.3k) How to win simply Predict the football Scoreline! Winner Announced tomorrow! :D

Win £50 Straight into your account! How to Enter : 1. Join the Facebook Group Link : https://www.facebook.com/groups/strategybetting/ Name of Group : Betting Tips & Strategy Talk UK Member Count (9.3k) How to win simply Predict the football Scoreline! Winner Announced tomorrow! :D submitted by Chris_Dun to u/Chris_Dun [link] [comments]

Will the Green Bay Packers win OVER/UNDER 9 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Matt LaFleur’s first season as Green Bay’s head coach has to be considered a success. He led the team to a 13-3 record, which secured the NFC North title.

The Packers held off the Seahawks to a 28-23 home win in the first round of the playoffs, but were ousted by the Niners in a brutal 37-20 thumping (a game in which the Packers dugged themselves into an early 27-0 hole).

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Aaron Rodgers will be entering his 16th NFL season. He had another excellent year with a 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio and over 4,000 passing yards. He finished as the 7th-best QB in the league according to PFF ratings.

At 36 years old, he is likely to have a few good years left. After all, Drew Brees and Tom Brady posted nice statistics in their late thirties.

Rodgers has been very durable throughout his career, but he’s not invincible either. Tim Boyle was the backup plan last year, and the team needed to upgrade the position while starting to think about the post-Rodgers era.

Still, drafting Jordan Love was the most questionable and talked-about pick in this year’s draft. People expected the Packers to go with a veteran backup QB. Rodgers has mentioned several times he wants to play in his forties; he can still offer a good five years of solid play in the frozen tundra.

Love has possesses great size, throws with velocity and he’s very mobile. The main knock on him is the decision-making and inconsistency.

As a sophomore, he threw 32 TD passes versus 6 interceptions. He regressed a lot last year by posting a mediocre 20:17 TD:INT mark. Granted, his surrounding cast was very weak and he had to go through a coaching change.

Love can throw from many different arm angles; he reminds people of Patrick Mahomes in this regard. He can throw a fastball or a soft touch pass.

Quick note: he almost quit football when he was 14 years old after his dad committed suicide. However, he knew his dad would want him to keep playing, so he did just that.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Aaron Jones is a top running back in this league. Along with Jamaal Williams, they form a lethal duo.

Including the playoffs, Jones ended up scoring 23 touchdowns in 18 games. His 19 regular season scores were the second most in Packers history. His numbers have increased in each of his first three years as a pro. He is also excellent as a pass catcher.

Despite playing in the shadow of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams still finished as the 17th-best RB based on PFF rankings. He does not seem like a lead back, but he’s a perfect change-of-pace guy. Much like Jones, he can do some damage as a receiver as well.

Williams has been a steady performer thus far in his career. He has rushed for 450-550 yards in each of his three seasons, while catching a minimum of 25 balls. He has 15 total TDs over this three-year span.

If you thought GM Brian Gutekunst made a strange move by drafting QB Jordan Love in the first round, he doubled down with another head scratcher in the 2nd round when he took A.J. Dillon.

Message to Mr. Gutekunst: Aaron Rodgers needed pass catchers, not a third running back! I really don’t get this pick either. I’m not saying Dillon won’t be good in the NFL; only time will tell. However, it clearly wasn’t a position of need for the Packers.

Dillon is a power back who rarely breaks off huge runs. He racked up big numbers in three seasons in Boston College. He’s unlikely to become a three-down starter, especially since he’s not a good pass catcher. He will likely be used sporadically as a rookie.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Davante Adams is one of the best at his position. He had a streak of three straight seasons with at least 10 TD receptions snapped last year, but he still caught 83 passes for 997 yards in 12 games (he missed four games because of a toe injury).

Outside of Adams, all pass catchers appeared lost on the field. None of them developed a good chemistry with Rodgers.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a huge disappointment last year. He showed promise as a rookie with over 500 receiving yards. Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic: after Week #7, MVS did not get more than 19 receiving yards in any meeting. That’s awful.

One of the guys benefiting from Valdes-Scantling’s poor play was Jake Kumerow. He got more playing time than expected, but still only caught 12 passes. He is closing in on 30 years of age and is limited as an athlete, so he’s not a long-term answer for sure.

Allen Lazard was also thrown into action far more than expected. He finished second in terms of receiving yards for Green Bay, but let’s face the reality: the undrafted guy remains more of a #3 or #4 WR for any team.

Geronimo Allison was another bust last year. His top performance over the last 12 games (including the playoffs) was a meager 33 receiving yards. He left for another NFC North team, the Detroit Lions.

In other words, the #2 role is wide open. The team hopes newly acquired Devin Funchess can step into that role. The former second rounder had his best season in 2017 with the Panthers with a 63-840-8 stat line. He signed with the Colts last year, but played just one game before breaking a collarbone. He will be 26 years old this season and provides an interesting prospect for the Packers.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

We’re not done talking about 2019 busts. Jimmy Graham was one of them. He clearly looks washed. He received the lowest grades of his 10-year career, and deservedly so. The Packers released him and he signed a few days later with the Bears (a horrible mind-boggling two-year, $16 million contract).

Marcedes Lewis received surprisingly good marks from PFF. If you look into the numbers, the good grade occurred mainly because of efficient run and pass blocking. He’s not much of a pass catcher and he will be 36 years old when the season begins.

Robert Tonyan will also be in the mix, but the guy that has the best chance to break out as a receiver in 2020 only caught three passes last year (all in the playoffs): Jace Sternberger. Taken in the third round of the 2019 draft, Sternberger was a threat at Texas A&M in college. He missed most of the regular season because of injuries, but the door is wide open with Graham’s departure.

We might also see third-round rookie Josiah Deguara. He has a great motor and plays extremely hard. He’s undersized as a tight end, though.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

The Packers had a pretty solid offensive line in 2019. All five starters managed to play at least 84% of the offensive snaps. And they all finished above-average according to PFF ratings!

The bad news, however, is the Bryan Bulaga left for the Chargers. Despite turning over 30 years old, he still played at a high level.

The Packers decided to replace him by signing Rick Wagner, formerly of the Lions. Wagner’s PFF grades from 2016 to 2018 were as follows: 74.0, 75.2 and 71.4. Last year, his play deteriorated a lot and he was tagged with a 59.0 grade. He finished as the #61 tackle among 81 guys.

I like the fact that the team is returning four out of five guys, but replacing Bulaga with Wagner has to be viewed as a downgrade.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

The Packers offense finished in the middle of the pack in points scored per game. Barring major injuries, I expect about the same production in 2020.

The QB and RB situations remain the same.

Adding Funchess is not a huge move, but it won’t hurt. The team clearly needs someone to step up opposite of Davante Adams. At tight end, losing Jimmy Graham means close to nothing since he was so ineffective. Sternberger might bring a nice contribution, but we can hardly expect him to be a game-breaker.

Finally, the OL will take a dip with the loss of Bulaga. I don’t believe Rick Wagner can do better than him.

All in all, I view the additions/departures as a slight negative for Green Bay, but having so many starters returning to the lineup for a second straight season is always a good thing in the NFL. For these reasons, I expect a similar output as 2019 from this unit.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

Kenny Clark had a fantastic season! He is one of the best interior rushers in the NFL. He recorded six sacks for the second straight year, and PFF ranked him as the 13th-best interior linemen out of 114 qualifiers.

The same nice comments cannot be made about Dean Lowry. He had the worst season of his four-year career as a pro. He did not post a single sack and wasn’t great against the run either.

Reserve Tyler Lancaster is only there to provide some depth. He isn’t particularly good in any aspect of the game.

The team did not make any move regarding this position during the offseason.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

During the last offseason, the Packers acquired two Smiths: Za’Darius and Preston. They burst onto the scene and got 13.5 and 12 sacks, respectively.

Obviously, both received high marks for their pass rushing abilities, but Preston finished as an average linebacker overall because of mediocre run defense and poor coverage.

Kyler Fackrell was a huge disappointment in 2019. After racking up 10.5 sacks in 2018, he only got one in 2019! He signed a one-year deal with the Giants.

First-round pick Rashan Gary wasn’t necessarily impressive during his rookie season. He played 23% of the snaps, while obtaining two sacks but very pedestrian marks from PFF (an overall 55.8 grade, which is near the bottom among edge defenders).

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Green Bay lost its leader in tackles from the past three years, Blake Martinez. After starting 61 of the last 64 Packers games, Martinez decided to join the New York Giants. He had the second-most tackles in the league last year, but don’t be misled by that number. Martinez still finished slight below-average (52nd out of 89 LBs) because of poor play against the run.

The Packers also lost some depth at the position when B.J. Goodson left for Cleveland.

Green Bay picked up a linebacker from the Browns roster: Christian Kirksey. He was picked in the 3rd round of the 2014 before being involved in all 16 games from his first four seasons in the NFL. However, he has been plagued with injuries over the most recent two years; he played 7 games in 2018 and only 2 games in 2019.

He is also capable of racking up tackles, as shown by his 2016 and 2017 seasons where he obtained 146 and 138. His PFF grades during his first four seasons varied between 61.9 and 69.3. Just to give you a rough idea, a 65.0 rating would have been good for 29th place out of 89 LBs.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Jaire Alexander has done the job as the #1 corner. He has obtained 72.4 and 71.2 marks from PFF during his first two seasons, which is well-above average. He’s so-so defending the run, but his coverage skills are very good.

The number two corner, Kevin King had five interceptions last year after getting just one over his first two years as a pro. He did show some improvement after two rocky years. He finished 2019 as a middle-of-the-pack corner.

Tramon Williams played 74% of the snaps and had a surprisingly good season despite his age. He will be 37 when the 2020 season begins. He is currently a free agent and it remains to be seen if the Packers bring him back or not.

In summary, Alexander and King are both pretty young and could still be improving, but Tramon Williams provided quality play and it’s uncertain if someone else can pick up the slack.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage were the top two guys here.

Along with Za’Darius and Preston Smith, the Adrian Amos was another excellent signing by the Packers during the 2019 offseason. Amos had been a reliable guy in Chicago for four seasons, and he continued to excel in the frozen tundra.

After being selected as the #21 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Darnell Savage did show some flashes as a rookie last year. He finished as the #47 safety among 87 qualifiers, which is very satisfying for a rookie. He earned nice marks in coverage (77.4), but horrible ones against the run (37.7).

Will Redmond will be back as the number three safety. He’s not starter material for sure.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

Most of the starters are returning in 2020. That’s the good news.

The team lost their leader in tackles, Blake Martinez, as well as pass rusher Kyler Fackrell and CB Tramon Williams.

The only acquisition worth of note is Christian Kirksey. Him not having played very much during the last two seasons brings some question marks.

The Packers defense struggled against the run last year, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2020. Green Bay still finished 9th in points allowed, which was a very acceptable result.

Unfortunately, a decrease in effectiveness is expected and I predict this unit will end 2020 as a middle-of-pack defense (12th – 19th in points allowed).

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Green Bay Packers are expected to win 9 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results (excluding the simulated years where the Pack won exactly 9 games, since in those cases your bet would have tied):

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 9 WINS 51.4% bwin +115 +10.5%
UNDER 9 WINS 48.6% Heritage Sports +100 -2.8%
Tip: Bet OVER 9 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +10.5%
Rank: 25th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -106

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Packers’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -6 vs ATL, -10 vs CAR, -4.5 vs CHI, -6.5 vs DET, -11.5 vs JAX, -3 vs MIN, -2.5 vs PHI, -3.5 vs TEN.
ROAD: 0 @ CHI, -2 @ DET, 0 @ HOU, +2.5 @ IND, +3 @ MIN, +5.5 @ NO, +6.5 @ SF, +2.5 @ TB.

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 24th-highest in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Did you like this write-up? If so, comment below! I'd like to know YOUR opinion on what to expect from the Packers' 2020 season!

Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

2020 Rookie Ranking Capstone

Author’s Note: I just wrote 3500 words of gibberish. I’m washed boys. I’ll bold some of the highlights; but don’t punish yourself too much or expect a ton out of it. Reads more like a recap into decision making without a ton of time taken to walk through the individual pieces of that process.
TLDR;

2020 Rookie Process to Date:


Small side note, I have stepped down as Moderator. When I get passionate about something—well, I tend to go overboard...take a brief look at my post history. Either way summer is fast approaching, and it is just a good time to reprioritize things in life.
Big note. This is not a traditional ranking of players. If that is your expectation, this will not be your cup of tea. This is my cathartic debrief and recap from my rookie draft season; I’ll throw out a few trains of thoughts on a few players, hopefully some interesting nuggets that’ll help people, but I understand if most are displeased.


Foreword

Another year in the books of discussing and allowing data & historical precedence to carry us through the months. Mentally I am already onto 2021 and will probably put out a “Notes on” soon. But for now, let us work through my final rankings of the 2020 class. Things obviously change, more data is pouring out of teams, the off-season will be unique due to COVID-19 and more information will come as our takes metastasize to our brain.
This post is going to bring most people far less utility. Just the way I’ve written it, for that I am sorry. But I wanted to dig at my mindset while I was drafting less every potential hypothetical that we twist ourselves into knots over with these exercises.
In order to deliver my usual posts it requires more nuance than I am willing to produce currently. Some may think, “why bother?” Well, my rookie drafts are done for the season and I thought it would be nice to have a conversation, and hopefully pull people into a broader conversation. Please bear with me, while I used data to assign tiers, much of the decisions making done within the tiers was done on feelings that emerged from digesting that data.

Quarterback Rankings

I have Burrow and Tua far closer than most people, they are tiered for me. Especially when there is a major discrepancy in draft value required to secure them, I will prioritize taking Tua.
There is a good argument for Justin Herbert in the conversation, but I have never been high on his tools, and collegiate production. Love enters the conversation as the true definition of a “dynasty investment.”
I would be willing to roster a few other guys; Hurts, Fromm, Eason, Gordon but I would not consider them any sooner than the third or fourth round of rookie drafts.
  1. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals [-]
  2. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins [-]
  3. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers [-]
  4. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers [-]

Running Back Rankings

Look at the last 20 years of bell-cow running backs with successful rushing QBs and almost all of them average 100+ scrimmage yards/game. Dobbins will be ranked higher than Taylor by the consensus sooner rather than later.
Taylor is still a safe talent on a very good running team with limited competition (sorry Mack & Hines); but I’m not certain how anyone right now can ignore CEH or Dobbins. Below I’ll rank them in the order that’ll piss off the most people, but I would take the guy you can get for the best value in your draft. Today that might be Dobbins, tomorrow it might be Taylor.
If you’re picking at 1, it’s a tough choice. Kansas City and Baltimore are well run programs. CEH collegiate profile was incomplete, only one year of stud production, but does that mean anything in Kansas City? Dobbins was special at Ohio State, but does that lack of preparation in year 2 seep back in now that he’s in the NFL? Is Taylor more concerned with owning Toppers’ Pizza locations in Madison WI than playing football? We all find our reasons to take our guys.
Cam Akers and D’Andre Swift will share a tier, again take the guy you believe in or the guy you can get for the best value.
Everyone else ranked is in a grab bag tier, grab them where-ever is most prudent, I’ve assigned rough values based on where I’ve seen them go and where I start considering taking them. Anyone not listed is considered a round 3/round 4 guy that I’m not concerning myself with. I may love the Anthony McFarland fit/pick but I am not going to waste more words on it.
Rank change [-] speaks to the change of tiering in this case, not a change in position rank.
  1. JK Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens [+1]
  2. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts [-]
  3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs [+1]
  4. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams [+1]
  5. D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions [-]
  6. AJ Dillon. Green Bay Packers [mid to late Round 2 of your rookie draft]
  7. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers [mid to late Round 2]
  8. Antonio Gibson, Washington Redskins [Round 2/3 turn]
  9. Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers [Round 3]



Popcorn time!

Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys [-]
  2. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings [-]
  3. Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles [+2]
  4. Laviska Shenault, Jacksonville Jaguars [+6]
  5. Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders [-2]
  6. Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts [+1]
  7. Denzel Mims, New York Jets [-1]
  8. Devin Duvernay, Baltimore Ravens [UR]
  9. Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams [UR]

Am I missing a few guys? Absolutely I am. These are the guys, for the most part that I am targeting. In theory, Jerry Jeudy is my 2nd ranked wide receiver; Henry Ruggs is my 5th ranked receiver. When it comes down to molding a draft board; where I’m seeing Jeudy go I NEED one of my top 3 RBs; hell I’ll move up 1 or 2 spots to make sure it happens. Beyond that I am in the strong lean Akers > Jeudy camp.
To further highlight this, I do like Jeudy. But in this moment..I want, CEH-Dobbins-Taylor-Akers, Burrow-Tua, and CeeDee over him. That means the earliest I am drafting Jeudy is 8 and the board has to fall that way. I'd have to be the Dallas Cowboys to have a pick in that range and also have the board fall that way. I'm just not getting Jeudy.
I want Akers-Swift-Tua-Reagor-Jefferson where Ruggs commonly comes off the board. You should absolutely be considering Aiyuk when he slips into the second, or Claypool anywhere from the mid second on. You’ll figure that out—you’ll have your preferences. I have mine.




So here is the crux of all of this, three, real, live drafts and the results for them.


THEORY TO REALITY (LIVE DRAFT RESULTS)


Teams are color-coated (no color alignment between drafts, bright red in Draft A is not the guy that is bright red in Draft C); my selections, the player’s name is highlighted in orange. Two of the drafts went to 4 rounds, a third to 6; at the time of this screen capture Draft C had just gotten through the third round.

Draft A

A freshly booted devy superflex league, TE premium, PP1D, draconian QB scoring (+6 touchdowns, -4 turnovers), QB/SF/1RB/1W1TE/5FLEX, 10 teams. Going into it the startup, I went stud-only early and then poured capital into Devy and Rookie picks. My baseline roster of note was Wentz-Wilson-Saquon-Nuk. Devy picks yielded Pickens, Garrett Wilson, Najee Harris.
At 1.05, the pick was always CeeDee Lamb. My flair is Lamb Brigade, I’ve been on Lamb since before the season. The Cowboys’ having Lamb as their 6th rated player, and Jerry requesting that he wears Irvin and Dez’s #88 only solidifies it for me. This is dynasty. Cooper is on a team friendly deal after the 2021 season, Gallup is due for resigning after 2021, I trust Lamb to hit his markers (500+ yards year 1, better year 2). My expectation is a Marvin Harrison-Reggie Wayne or Andre Johnson-DeAndre Hopkins type come up. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t give JK Dobbins a thought—but it was CeeDee ForMe. Let’s be clear, Dobbins is the safer play here. I just have a favorite.
Reading through this I want to further clarify this pick. It was a numbers game for me. I have Lamb >> Jeudy whereas I have Dobbins only > Akers. By counting the picks I liked my chances of getting Akers at 8. Didn't work out that way.
At 1.08, I was originally hoping I might get my first share of Akers. That wasn’t to be and this particularly decision point wasn’t difficult either. I counted out the players I liked, Jefferson, Swift, Reagor, Tua; and asked myself who was going to be there at 2.01. Least likely to be there was Tua because of superflex and positional scarcity. There are absolutely some worlds I take one of the other 3; but not this one.
At 2.01, best of the rest. Reagor was the easy choice for me. Let’s be clear here I am a huge fan of Reagor, had him as my WR2 coming into the 2019 season. Do not get caught expecting him to be a year 1 dynamo. Nothing would surprise me, in the same vein Ertz/Goedert will get there 200 targets and I suspect Alshon and DeSean will be in the gameplan to some degree (over under around 200 targets if healthy). Cap restraints make me reluctant to believe either player gets shipped before the season. There is room to consider Ruggs here instead of Reagor.
At 2.03, this was my first Laviska share. It was perplexing to be honest. If you’ve read any of my work to this point—I think you’re surprised I have two shares of Laviska. Part of it was the post-draft interviews, Jacksonville talking about ‘Viska getting a good medical eval and that they believe his surgeries with good rehabilitation habits have corrected all of his nagging issues; probably a pipedream. There is an air of upside to this guy that I can’t shrug off, he has sink in his routes that are second to none in this class. When I looked around at Mims, Aiyuk, Love, Pittman, Hamler, Higgins, I simply do not feel the same about their profiles. Let’s highlight that, “I did not feel the same.” Toss in Fournette on his way out, myself being a bit of a Jay Gruden-stan, and Jacksonville and Viska hooking up that night to discuss their plans for him. I can’t shake the upside. This is a high-risk pick—but I LOVE this value in the early to mid-second. Even if he is a stud, I promise you I will joke until the end of the time that I expect him to be on my IR at any moment.
At 2.10, my boy, Bryan Edwards. It’s been a long time. Two years of work and we finally made it. My first share of Bryan Edwards. I am led to believe that he was going to put up a great combine at 6-3, 215; he immediately slots in as their iso-X; and Mayock sang so many praises I had to catch my breath. This draft has been all heart for me and the statistical profiles of every one of these guys have my back. I was uneasy with letting Dillon go here. I frantically tried to trade up for him before and after the Edwards pick. Just such a good value for Dillon. I later found out that the 3.02 was insta-drafting either Edwards or Dillon so I was screwed either way and in my heart of hearts I’m glad I have Edwards.
The one problem with this draft, no immediate starters to fill into those FLEX spots for this draft. I was so busy chasing my guys that I am criminally thin at RB on this roster (although I would have gone Akers at 8 to remedy this in the moment—probably not the best choice in hindsight); thankfully I had a good late draft, while people were scooping up third and fourth round rookie picks I was grab DeSean Jackson’s, Marvin Jones types that by week 4 or 5 of the coming season I should be more comfortable with my lineup.

Draft B

A newly acquired league that might be a little softcore for my tastes. I constantly have to remind myself that it’s only 4PT passing TD, 1QB and fairly small starting lineups for 12 teams (QB/2RB/2W1TE/2FLEX). The roster is pretty shallow for my tastes, but I do like the starting lineup, the most notable assets include Wentz-Elliott-Adams-Odell-Andrews.
At 2.06, the board was already light. There were guys there we can convince ourselves of, but I was pretty much down to Edwards-Dillon-Tua-Burrow. The ground swell in the league suggested that a QB was likely going to be there at 2.12, even if I was just stashing Love for the next half decade; who cares it’s 2.12. Knowing that most of the league was aware of my online presence, I decided to go Edwards. Looking back at the move, I probably should have gone with the upside presented in AJ Dillon’s profile—but you’re trying to make the best out of a crap sandwich at this point in the draft, regardless of what anyone is trying to pump you full of.
At 2.08, I lucked out and Dillon was there, easy insta-draft.
At 2.12, I probably played myself. It’s 1QB, I don’t expect to have to start Tua year one, I have a general affinity for him—and let’s be honest; do you really want to bet significant money on who will have a better career? As you can tell—at this point I went full “screw it.” Will I come to regret the pick? Probably. Will it undermine my team in this league—in 1QB, 4pt passing TD, nah.
At 3.10, I traded for this pick. Honestly, I had 3 concurrent rookie drafts running and I was patently sick of them. Waay too many people were running most of their 8 hour clocks and I was tired of waiting. I traded 2, 2020 4ths (became Quez Watkins and James Proche) and a 2021 4th to get up to 3.10 and end my draft. What if I told you the Saints traded not 1, not 2, but 4 picks to move up to get Trautman, and then after that came out and said that he was a top 40 rated player on their board. What if then, after that I told you their only tight end of note is 33 years old. Hi, one Adam Trautman please.

Draft C

This is the coup de grace. This is my Mona Lisa, so much went right, I don’t even know how to react. This league is superflex, ppr, 1QB/1SF/2RB/3W1TE/2FLEX/1DST, 12 teams, 6pt passing touchdowns.
Tua went 1.01 because the 1.01-owner’s team (newly adopted orphan) is legitimately bad, full rebuild, he’s aiming Lawrence next year. He has Tua-Burrow evenly ranked, his hope is that Tua gets redshirted this year and does his team no good.
The owner that selected both CEH and Jonathan Taylor considered Burrow over Taylor but is pretty solid at QB. The 2/3 owner tried literally everything to get 4/5 to acquire CeeDee. At one point he was offering Evans straight up. No dice. He had quite the run of attempts to trade, and they were clear overpays by most people’s standards, no one wanted to budge; he did it all throughout the first and second rounds.
We all assumed Burrow at 4, it’s the only reason an overpay won’t work, right? BOOM, Jeudy. At this point I don’t know what to do with my hands. The #5 owner was planning Dobbins 100% of the way and never expected Burrow to be right there. He’s trying everything to get out of the #5 pick and turn it into gold. The 2/3 owner is throwing everything and the kitchen sink at him—not good enough. I’m sweating bullets for my Lamb share..and finally the #5 relents and takes Burrow.
Examples like this, is why I tell people not to just draft a guy and assume they'll get a kings-ransom elsewhere. Sure 1-3 teams in that superflex league might be interested, but in the moment, at likely his cheapest price no one expressed interest in Burrow. Don't expect that to change suddenly over night. To further that example, If Ruggs some how falls to you at 2.06 and you don't like him, don't suddenly expect that'll you'll be able to turn him for a profit later--the league, or at least the people on the board and active on that day are telling you they really aren't that interested.
At 1.06, I take Lamb. The Draft A and C were running pretty close to one another so when I was on the clock (many shared owners between A & C) in A, I was waiting for my pick in C so that I could ensure I didn’t get sniped for Lamb. Reasons above described why I’m all in on Lamb—past post history just furthers it. Why listen to me when you can listen to the mountains of pundits.
At 1.07, this was the beauty. This was the death blow, I can’t believe I got Dobbins here. Just a stupid bit of luck that the 1.01 owner is getting cute (who knows it may work), the 1.04 owner was glued to Jeudy, and the 1.05 owner felt he couldn’t pass on Burrow.
I attempt to make plays for Reagor and Akers as they fell, no dice anywhere.
At 2.04, at this point I had my first share of Viska in Draft A, this being Draft C; I just followed through on my convictions. I did consider Aiyuk but felt no loyalty to that pick. Taking perceived upside.
At 2.08, again I went heart. In this draft I was quite afraid there were 2 people that would snipe me on Edwards just to mess with me. We are a pretty good bunch and atleast 1 of them is fully aware of my interest in Edwards, the other 1 should have had an inkling after we facetimed through day 1 and day 2. Both picked between 2.04 and 3.04 so I wasn’t going to take the risk. Part of me wishes I would have taken Dillon and risked Edwards for 3.04, but it is what it is.
I did put out offers to try to get Dillon, in hindsight I could have gotten something done at 2.10 if I was a little more forthcoming and persistent, so that kind of sucks.
At 3.04, the original plan was Gibson with the way the board was falling. Didn’t happen that way. I had already taken Trautman in Draft A and was well aware of the boons assigned to his profile, 3.04 was my last pick of note in this draft so while closing my eyes to the availability of Moss-Kelley-Hamler; I see the upside and might regret it again—fatigue of the process and a need in that league for TE drove me back to Trautman.

RECAP

How did I come to my decisions? A lot of it was based on profile and statistical modeling. Even the best prospects by any modeled outcome have a 50-50 chance of succeeding. Most of your top prospects in any given year it’s about 20%. Try to make good value decisions, try to value more complete profiles, consider all of the intel out there on prospects but at the end of the day; who am I? Who am I to say CeeDee is going to succeed and do it big? I’m not, and I won’t; I just believe based on every piece of data out there that I like my odds of the coin flipping what I call. Same goes with Dobbins, Taylor, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. They just scream “I have a role and I’m going to give you fantasy points.”
We aren’t honest enough with ourselves when we draft these guys. I can speak glowingly of each and everyone one of my guys—hell I can speak negatively about the guys I drafted (Hi Laviska) but none of that matters, what matters is what the board looks like when it is your turn to draft, what it will look like after you draft, and whether any of it matters.

Tips to Help You with Your Upcoming Draft

  1. Go watch post-draft coach/GM interviews. They are fluff, they’ll say things that you’ll wrongly assign value to; there is a good argument that I’ve done that above. But some of them are going to tease to you just how highly they valued a guy (Diontae Johnson, round 1, Bruce Arians miffed that the Steelers sniped him), like Trautman, like Lamb. Will it eventually make these guys more successful? Nah, but it may just tell us how much rope a prospect has..
  2. Statistical models aren’t the end all be all—but dismissing them entirely is foolhardy at best, they are built to give you better odds. Problem is people like to make all their decisions on those odds. Does it matter if a model assigns a 22% probability to player A and a 19% probability of success to player B? Generally no, models based on football data do not have that level of viability. As a rule of thumb say a range of predicted success is 1% to 50%. I would consider the margins probably about 10 percentage points, so generally buckets guys between 40-50, 30-40, etc etc. But if one guy is 41% and another guy is 39% I'd say the decision point is muddled and unclear, but if one guys is 41% and the other guy is 29%, then I'd consider it; even then it's roughly 2:5 and 1:3 odds, are they really all that discernible in practice?
  3. Understand a players role, watch for yourself, and listen to others. I’d say my evaluation process is about 30% defining for myself, 20% listening to others, 30% statistical models, and 10% bias developed from learning about the player as a person, 10% hype baby.
  4. Nothing is the end all be all. I think I’ve highlighted that at every turn. We are going to pin ourselves to X means they’ll be successful. It could be a key/a tell at a player's potential, it likely is not.
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[Boarding School Blues] - Chapter 27: Checkmate

[Cover] [Chapter 1] [Table Of Contents][Book 2: Boarding School Beginnings] [Patreon] [Discord]
Rules for playing Weddas
1) Each player draws a letter. The player whose letter is the closest to A goes first. Play continues clockwise.
2) Each player draws 7 tiles.
3) The first player spells a word on the table.
4) Players take turns building off that word.
5) The player with the most points at the end wins.

Scoring
Each letter is work one point. If a player makes multiple words on a single turn, each word is counted separately.
Clear rack bonus = extra 10 points
New board = 20 point penalty

NOTE: Playing more than one game a day can be dangerous to your health!

Melinda walked up the interior MAC stairs towards the table in the corner of the loft, where she found Walter sitting with a green velvet drawstring bag on the table in front of him. She said nothing as she slid into the booth across from him.
“You said like Parents’ Weekend,” he reminded her. “I talked to Pat. He’s gonna join us. You want a snack before we start?”
Melinda was not particularly hungry, but the grilled food smelled so good, she could not help herself. She had received her fries and milkshake and returned to her seat when Pat finally arrived. He slid into the booth beside her, flashing that winning smile.
“What’s up, third formers? Why the summons?”
“Melinda said you wanted to hang out,” Walter explained, not completely able to mask the bitterness in his voice. “So this is us hanging out. In public. You want a snack before we start?”
Pat considered his brother a moment, then looked at Melinda and pointed towards her fries. “Can I have some?”
“That depends. Do you have his appetite?” She pointed a fry at Walter with a flirtacious smile.
Pat laughed and Walter smiled.
“I’ll get my own.” Pat slid out of the booth.
Walter turned to his brother. “Hey, can you get me some, too?”
“Maybe.” Melinda could tell by Pat’s smile that meant yeas.
“Melinda?” asked a voice from the opposite end of the loft. Melinda looked towards the staircase, recognizing a girl from her Latin class walking towards her. As she approached, the girl saw Walter sitting in the booth as well. “Oh, hey Walter.”
“Hi, Zayne. How’s it going?”
“Not great.” Zayne sighed as she plopped herself down next to Melinda. “I didn’t do so well on our pop quiz Saturday. How’d you do?” she asked Melinda
Melinda shrugged. “I dunno yet. I just took it today. It didn’t feel too bad.”
“I was wondering if maybe we could study together. Maybe you could help me understand what’s going on. I always think I understand it, and then I don’t seem to do well on the tests.”
Melinda hesitated. “Well, I study with Walter. He helps me understand it. You could join us?”
“Maybe tonight?”
“Oh, I have orchestra tonight.”
“I could still help you,” Walter offered. “I study in the library, up on the second floor.” He shrugged. “If you bring your homework, I can help you with it.”
“Oh, thanks!” Zayne stood as Pat approached the table carrying two containers of fries. Zayne headed into the line, although Melinda saw her glance back as Pat sat beside Melinda, passing Walter one of the cartons. Pat nodded in Zayne’s direction.
“Friend?”
“Walter’s gonna help her in Latin,” Melinda said.
“She’s cute.” Pat smiled, causing Melinda to feel a mild pang of jealousy and Walter to start turning red. Pat winked at Melinda. “You’re cuter.”
“Stop that. Now,” Walter insisted. “No flirting during Weddas.”
“Sorry.” Pat sounded anything but. “Couldn’t help it.”
Melinda said nothing as she plopped another French fry into her mouth. Walter passed out the tile holders, placing the extra ones on the side, then passed the bag around for everyone to select one tile.
“Q,” said Walter.
“K,” announced Pat. He turned to Melinda. “I guess you’re going first.”
She reached into the bag. “X.” She held up her tile for the boys to see.
“I stand corrected.”
Everyone returned their tiles to the bag. Pat shook it a few times before taking out his letters, then waited for everyone else to select their letters before placing frown on the table.

Melinda enjoyed playing with the boys, and most of the game felt as it had during Parents’ Weekend. However, subtle differences reminded Melinda that much had happened in the past two weeks. Every so often, one of the boys would get overly excited and their loud voices would have the other people at the MAC Attack glancing in their direction. And Melinda did not think she was imagining Pat brushing his arm against hers on the table a couple of times. Each time, Melinda felt a tingling sensation that extended from her arm to her belly.
When everyone had used all their tiles, Melinda could not make any new words with any of her remaining letters, but Walter and Pat were able to completely clear their racks.
“So,” Walter announced, “I won with one hundred and twenty points. Pat, you had a hundred and Melinda, you had sixty. That’s not bad.”
Pat put his arm around Melinda and leaned closer to her. “Lemme see your tiles.” He pulled her rack between them. “You could have gotten a bunch more words. See, if you put this here,” he picked up a tile and placed it in a corner formed by the intersection of two words, “you get these three words and…eighteen points.”
Melinda shook her head. “I know all those words, too. I just didn’t see it.”
Pat picked up another tile and placed it at the end of a word. “You could have played this, too.”
Melinda shrugged. “Maybe I’ll do better next time.”
Walter glanced at his watch. “Wanna play again?”
“No,” Melinda declared adamantly. “I like this game, but only once a day. More than that, I’ll go nuts!”
Pat laughed as he removed his arm and started helping Walter place all the tiles into the bag. “So, whaddaya say? Should we do this again tomorrow?” He was looking at Melinda, but she looked to Walter.
“Yeah, I guess so.” Walter shrugged.

The following afternoon, Melinda was the first to notice Pat walking towards the lunch table. Beside her, Sarah and Larry had been involved one of their private conversations, and Walter had his back towards the servery and did not see his brother approaching.
Pat plopped himself in one of the several seats between Melinda and Walter, slightly closer to Melinda, she noticed, and turned to his brother. “So, how was your date last night?”
Melinda was not sure if it was Pat’s presence or the word “date” that caught Sarah’s attention.
“Date? Who had a date?” She looked around, then pointed to Melinda. “You had orchestra. I know. I was there.”
Walter started turning red as Melinda giggled an explanation. “You know Zayne? I forgot her last name.”
Sarah looked towards the ceiling as she recalled the information on their classmate. “It starts with a K. Its unpronounceable. She’s on the…third floor? I think so. Single, I think.” She looked back towards Walter. “You had a date last night?”
Walter seemed to have recovered. “Kryszak,” he said. “I asked her last night. And, no, we did not have a date, which you very well know.” He glared at Pat.
Melinda continued her explanation. “Anyway, Zayne came up to me yesterday asking for help in Latin. I told her Walter helps me and invited her to study with us. When I told her I had rehearsal last night, she still wanted to study with Walter.”
“You didn’t tell me this.” Larry sounded pained as he looked at his friend.
“Um, when exactly was I supposed to tell you? You didn’t show up to dinner last night and when I was looking for you during break, Andy said you were with Sarah.”
“You could have said something this morning.”
“Honestly, I forgot by this morning. Zayne and I studied Latin together. I also helped her with her algebra a little. Then, we just worked quietly for a while. I did mention how you and I do the assignments in advance –”
“What?” Pat turned to Melinda. “You do extra homework?”
Melinda closed her eyes and sighed. “No. I just do it early. So, today is Tuesday. All the homework I was supposed to do tonight, I did it last night. So, today, I could better understand what my teachers are saying. Or participate in class discussions a little better. Tonight, I’ll do the assignments for tomorrow night. Except art. I just draw whatever Mr. Rockwell assigns in class; we don’t have a syllabus there.” Melinda turned her attention back to Walter. “So, is she going to study with us?”
“Not every night. But, she said she might like to join us once in a while. Especially before next week’s quiz.”
“Did you know about this extra homework thing?” Larry asked Sarah.
“Why is this a big deal?” Melinda could feel her face growing warm.
“Yeah. She told me about it a long time ago. She got the idea from…” Sarah trailed off.
Larry and Pat both looked around the table, until Larry voiced what they both were thinking. “Who? She got the idea from who?”
“Whom,” Pat corrected automatically.
“An arrogant narcissist who shall remain nameless,” Walter answered.
Larry thought for a moment. “Nope. Clueless.”
“The first guy she dated,” Sarah whispered.
Larry called Mike an unflattering name that had everyone at the table smiling.
“I feel out of the loop,” Pat said. “But, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, so I’ll just have Walter tell me later.” His smile made it hard for Melinda to know if he was serious.
“Hey, anyone wanna go to the coffee shop this afternoon?” Sarah suggested.
“I usually go there Wednesdays after school to kill time before CCD,” Melinda explained. “I don't think I want to go two days in a row.”
“We could go to Checkmate,” suggested Pat. When he was met with four blank stares he asked, “You guys haven’t discovered Checkmate yet? Okay. We’re going there this afternoon. Everyone bring five bucks and meet me behind Stanton at three”
“What are you getting us into?” Larry asked warily.
Pat merely smiled. “You’ll love it.”

“So, where is your boyfriend taking us?” Sarah asked Melinda as they stood behind Stanton with Walter and Larry.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Melinda said at the same time Walter was saying, “He’s not her boyfriend.”
“Is this some sort of upper former prank against third formers?” Larry asked suspiciously.
“Wow, way to be paranoid,” Pat said from behind them. Although they were all wearing parkas, hats, and gloves to ward against the November chill, Pat had also draped a scarf around his mouth and was wearing large sunglasses, making him nearly unrecognizable. He pointed to his roommate beside him. “Has everyone met Frank? Frank, that’s Walter’s friend Larry and Melinda’s roommate Sarah. This is Pete. Call him Frank. Okay. Let’s go.”
Pat started along the path towards the main road that led into town, and everyone followed in silence for a while. “So, what exactly is this place?” Walter asked as he caught up to his brother.
“Not telling. I wanna surprise you. Frank and I used to go here all the time.”
“Spence is going to be so excited to see you,” Frank said to Pat. “I stopped in to say hi back in September and he was really bummed you were gone for the term.”
The wind started blowing in their direction, slowing their progress and making it difficult to walk. It seemed like a long time before they reached the center of town, with the coffee shop across the street. Instead of crossing either of the streets, however, Pat turned left and continued about half a block before holding open a door.
Melinda followed her friends into the establishment towards a counter a few feet in front of them. In the display case, she could see some movie-theater snacks. There was a half-wall on her right, over which she could see a spattering of tables. There were round tables and angular tables. There were tall tables and short tables. There were booths and chairs. There was even a kids-size table with brightly colored chairs. The room was lined with floor to ceiling bookcases, with other bookcases of various heights positioned around the room separating the tables.
On every shelf were piles of board games, most of which had titles she didn’t recognize. Was it her imagination or were some not even in English? They seemed to be arranged in some order, since the stack closest to Melinda appeared to be world-domination-type games.
There were only three other people in the establishment. Two elderly gentlemen were playing chess at a table by the window with the board imprinted upon it. They did not appear to notice the arrival of Melinda and her friends.
The middle-aged man sitting behind the counter did, however. He stood up and took off the reading glasses that had been sitting on the tip of his nose. He placed an open paperback book on the seat beneath him and rubbed his eyes much like a sleepy child might.
“Do my eyes deceive me,” he said as he put down his hands and smiled wide. “Or has Pat Evans finally returned to Checkmate?”
“Hey Spencer,” Pat greeted him with a complicated handshake.
“When did you get back?”
“A little over two weeks ago. And, before you ask, I had a lot of work to catch up on, so I haven’t had time to come visit. But, here I am. And, I brought you new customers.”
Pat gestured behind him. “This is my brother, Walter. And, those are his friends: Melinda, Sarah, and Larry. This is Spencer. He owns the place.”
“What is this place?” Walter asked reverently. He had the look of a young child walking into a large toy store for the first time.
“It’s a game café. You can stay and play as many games as you want all afternoon. You just have to be careful not to break any of the games.”
“I’ve collected games from all different countries,” Spencer explained. “You tell me what you want to play, and we’ll find something like it.”
“I’ve already got a game in mind for now,” Pat said. “Okay, now everyone pay up. I don’t have enough cash to cover everyone.”
Everyone passed their five dollars to Pat, who handed the money to Spencer, then Pat gestured to a large table in the back corner that could seat the six of them. “Go sit over there. I’m gonna get the game.”
Pat wandered towards a bookshelf near the front of the room and frowned. He shouted across the café, “Spence! You reorganized!”
“No, I didn’t!” Spencer shouted in reply. “What’re you looking for?”
“Pictowar!”
“It’s over there!”
“No, it’s not!”
“I can’t concentrate!” shouted one of the older gentlemen near Pat.
The other older man sighed. “Spence, you reorganized back in May. It’s in the family game section, two bookcases to your left.”
“Thanks, Rick,” Pat replied.
Pat retrieved the game and brought it to their table, sitting beside Melinda.
“Pat, how often do you come here that you know the other customers’ names?” she asked.
He opened the box. “Huh? Oh, that’s Rick. He’s Spencer’s father. The other guy is John, his brother. Spencer lets them play for free. They’re here every day. He kinda built this place for them.”
Pat took out a bunch of whiteboard markers and explained the rules. His team would use one whiteboard while Frank’s would use the other. When no one had any questions, Pat divided the teams. He took a piece of paper and split it four ways, writing P on two pieces and F on the other. He crumpled all four pieces into balls and placed them in his ski cap. After shaking the cap, he held it out to Melinda. She took one and passed the hat to Sarah, who passed it to Larry, then to Walter. Melinda and Sarah both ended up on Pat’s team and Larry and Walter were with Frank.
Frank and Pat both went first. Frank flipped the first card, swore under his breath, and showed the card to Pat. Pat grimaced and flipped the sand hourglass timer.
“Go!” He grabbed a marker and raced to his board.
Melinda looked at the circle he drew and the stick figure on top of it. He had drawn x’s for eyes. Was the man dead? Sarah was yelling random words.
“Circle. Man. Dead. Sleeping. Kick.”
“How’d you get kick?” Melinda asked.
Sarah pointed to the other board, where Frank had drawn a boot. There was a stick figure in a boat. Now, Frank was drawing a swimming pool with another stick figure in a blindfold. Meanwhile, Pat was drawing more stick figures.
“Marco Polo!” Melinda shouted.
“Yes!” Pat gave her a high five. “We get a point. Okay. Who’s next?”
Melinda and Walter both drew next, and Melinda was glad she had been drawing so many fruit bowls in art class when she saw the word was “Banana split.”
It did not take long for Sarah to guess her picture. Melinda was able to guess “Three Blind Mice” from Larry’s picture instead of Sarah’s.
“We’re awesome!” Pat declared. “We need a team name.”
Frank grumbled testily. “No team names! Just draw. Come on, guys. We need to earn some points!”

They played until Frank’s team won, twenty-one to fifteen. “Okay. What’s next?” Frank asked as he started putting the markers and cards back into the box.
Walter immediately got up and began looking around the room at the various games. Everyone else did the same. Pat followed Melinda to the puzzle games section and stood silently beside her as they examined the games.
“Have you ever played Mancala?” Pat asked after a few moments.
Melinda shook her head. “No.”
“Come on. I’ll show you.” He pulled a thin blue tin off the shelf then grabbed her hand, leading her to a small table for two. They sat opposite each other and he pulled a wooden rectangle slightly larger than an egg carton out of the tin. He flipped it open along the shorter edge and Melinda saw an oval depression on each end of the board, reminding her of the end zone on a football field. Between the two ovals were smaller ovals arranged in pairs. There were brightly colored glass stones in some of the holes.
Pat reorganized all the stones until there were four in each small hole and the larger ovals were empty. He then explained the directions.
“Can we play a practice round?”
“Of course.” Pat’s smile nearly made Melinda forget she was about to compete against him.
The game did not take very long and Melinda figured out the rules fairly quickly. After several rounds, Melinda finally beat Pat, twenty-nine to nineteen.
“Yay! I won!” Melinda considered Pat’s smile a moment. “Wait, you let me win, didn’t you?”
“I promise. I didn’t. We can play again if you don’t believe me.”
“Nah. Let’s play something else.”
“Oh. I have a great idea. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
Melinda watched Pat stroll over to the counter to ask Spencer for something. Spencer pointed to a bookshelf beside him, where Pat removed some paper and grabbed two colored pencils before returning to the table.
“Dots and boxes!” Pat showed Melinda a page covered with a large grid of dots.
“I’ve played this before.”
It took them a while to play the game, and Melinda had a tendency to build three sides of a box and leave the fourth for Pat to score a point. Pat had a tendency to find connections where he could build multiple boxes in one turn. As a result, he beat her sixty-four to thirty-five. They played three more rounds, with Melinda getting slightly higher scores each time, but never actually beating him.
“What next?” Pat asked after the final round.
Melinda checked the time on her phone. “I think we should be heading back for dinner. Why is Sarah texting me?”
Melinda clicked on her text messages icon as she looked around the café, realizing she didn’t see any of her friends. “We all decided to grab some hot cocoa at the coffee shop,” she read aloud. “See you at dinner.”
“I never noticed them leave.”
“We should be getting back.”
“Okay.”
After they bundled themselves against the cold, Pat once again did the complicated handshake with Spencer before putting on his gloves. Then he busily wrapped the scarf around his face while they walked back towards the center of town.
Melinda raised her eyebrows. “You know, it’s not that windy. You probably don’t need the scarf.”
“You realize it’s not for the wind, right?”
“Why else would you wear it? I can never wear scarves. I always feel like they’re strangling me, no matter how loose they are.”
Pat looked at Melinda for a moment and laughed as he put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. “You’re adorable. I’m sorry. That was just the randomest comment. I have to wear the scarf in town. I don’t like being recognized.”
It took Melinda almost half a block to understand what Pat was saying. “Is that why you always wear the hat and sunglasses to church?”
Pat nodded. “When I was a third former, I tried just going into town a few times. And I was bombarded by people wanting my autograph or photos. Sometimes, I don’t mind. But, it happened every time I went into town. By Thanksgiving, I was pretty sick of it. Mom suggested the sunglasses and scarf. I told her that it was ridiculous and would never work, but it did. So now, I always hide myself when I go into town.”
“I didn’t think it bothered you. I mean, you’re not worried about it at school.”
“I was when I was a third former. I wanted to be normal, and that’s really hard sometimes. I guess it helped that Meghan was already here, and people had stopped bothering her. I hung around with her a lot when I was a third-former.”
“You miss her being here?”
“I thought I wouldn’t, because Walter’s here now. But, he’s been such a…I can’t say the word I want to say.”
“Blockhead?”
“I like that one. He’s been such a blockhead about the whole thing, it’s made me miss Meghan more. That’s one of the reasons I invited her this weekend. Another was just to annoy Walter.”
Melinda giggled. “I talked to him the other night. I think he’s trying.”
Pat shrugged but made no further comment on the subject. Instead, he pulled her a little closer. “So, feel like telling me about the guy who made you do extra homework?”
Melinda sighed. “I dated this guy a couple of months ago. In one of our conversations, he mentioned doing homework a day early so he could understand the teacher. I thought it was a good idea and decided to do it in all my classes. Walter wanted to keep studying with me, so he did it too. That’s pretty much the whole story.”
“No, it’s not. My brother really seemed to dislike him.”
“Well, Walter didn’t think much of him before we started hanging out, but then he got really mad after the bet. So did Larry.”
“What bet?”
“He made a bet with some of his friends that he could kiss me. And he didn’t see anything wrong with doing that. So, I broke up with him. He was a horrible kisser, anyway. And, why am I telling you all this?”
“It’s the scarf. It makes people want to share their innermost secrets.”
Melinda laughed and pulled down the scarf. “Then, maybe you shouldn’t wear it.”
Pat smiled at her as they approached the rear entrance of the dining hall. “I had fun with you today.” He reached for the door.
“Oh, I’m not going in yet.”
“Why not?”
“I have to get my books. I always get my books first. Then, I can go straight to the library after dinner.”
“That is so…studious,” Pat frowned.
Melinda shrugged. “I’ve got my routines. It feels weird if I don’t go to the dining hall without my bag.”
Pat continued walking with her to the dorms. As they crossed the street, Melinda said, “I had fun with you today, too.”
Pat took her hand and led her to a bench behind the humanities building, where they sat facing each other.
“Do you think, maybe you and I could hang out again? Just the two of us?”
Melinda sighed in exasperation. “Pat, it’s still weird.”
He touched her cheek with the back of his hand. “I know. I mean, you do extra homework. How weird is that?”
She pushed against his chest gently and spoke softly. “Don’t get me wrong. I like spending time with you.”
Pat smiled and pulled her close. She rested her forehead against his. Part of her wondered if he would kiss her. Instead, he sat up suddenly.
“Do you know the story of Daphne and Apollo?”
Melinda thought for a moment before replying. “I remember reading the name, but I don’t remember the story.”
Pat put his arm around Melinda and drew her near. She rested her head on his chest and he placed his on her head, his arms wrapped around her as he reminded her of the myth.
“Apollo was madly in love with Daphne, but she didn’t feel the same way. She was constantly running away from him, but he continued to chase her.”
“Am I your Daphne? Wait, you’re not in love with me, are you?” Melinda tried to sit up.
Pat held her close as he gave a small chuckle. “No, I’m not saying that. I don’t know what I am. Smitten, I guess.”
“Does the story have a happy ending?”
“Um…Let’s just say I hope things turn out better for us.” He caressed her cheek one more time and whispered in her ear. “I should let you go.” He made no motions to do so.
“Pat, I just need more time to figure this out. Whatever this is.”
“I’m not trying to rush you. I’m just reminding you that it’s still here.” He kissed her gently on the forehead before rising and returning to the dining hall. Melinda watched him leave, remaining on the bench until her heart began beating normally again before returning to her room.

[Table Of Contents] [Chapter 28]
Follow follow Patrick McGregor's story in Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity - Chapter 5: Nutcracker (Part 2)
A Note From the Author
What are some of your favorite board games?
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I'mma head out

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Boarding School Blues - Chapter 11: Checkmate

[Cover] [Chapter 1] [Table Of Contents][Book 2: Boarding School Beginnings] [Patreon] [Discord]
Rules for playing Weddas
1) Each player draws a letter. The player whose letter is the closest to A goes first. Play continues clockwise.
2) Each player draws 7 tiles.
3) The first player spells a word on the table.
4) Players take turns building off that word.
5) The player with the most points at the end wins.

Scoring
Each letter is work one point. If a player makes multiple words on a single turn, each word is counted separately.
Clear rack bonus = extra 10 points
New board = 20 point penalty

NOTE: Playing more than one game a day can be dangerous to your health!

Melinda walked up the interior MAC stairs towards the table in the corner of the loft, where she found Walter sitting with a green velvet drawstring bag on the table in front of him. She said nothing as she slid into the booth across from him.
“You said like Parents’ Weekend,” he reminded her. “I talked to Pat. He’s gonna join us. You want a snack before we start?”
Melinda was not particularly hungry, but the grilled food smelled so good, she could not help herself. She had received her fries and milkshake and returned to her seat when Pat finally arrived. He slid into the booth beside her, flashing that winning smile.
“What’s up, third formers? Why the summons?”
“Melinda said you wanted to hang out,” Walter explained, not completely able to mask the bitterness in his voice. “So this is us hanging out. In public. You want a snack before we start?”
Pat considered his brother a moment, then looked at Melinda and pointed towards her fries. “Can I have some?”
“That depends. Do you have his appetite?” She pointed a fry at Walter with a flirtacious smile.
Pat laughed and Walter smiled.
“I’ll get my own.” Pat slid out of the booth.
Walter turned to his brother. “Hey, can you get me some, too?”
“Maybe.” Melinda could tell by Pat’s smile that meant yeas.
“Melinda?” asked a voice from the opposite end of the loft. Melinda looked towards the staircase, recognizing a girl from her Latin class walking towards her. As she approached, the girl saw Walter sitting in the booth as well. “Oh, hey Walter.”
“Hi, Zayne. How’s it going?”
“Not great.” Zayne sighed as she plopped herself down next to Melinda. “I didn’t do so well on our pop quiz Saturday. How’d you do?” she asked Melinda
Melinda shrugged. “I dunno yet. I just took it today. It didn’t feel too bad.”
“I was wondering if maybe we could study together. Maybe you could help me understand what’s going on. I always think I understand it, and then I don’t seem to do well on the tests.”
Melinda hesitated. “Well, I study with Walter. He helps me understand it. You could join us?”
“Maybe tonight?”
“Oh, I have orchestra tonight.”
“I could still help you,” Walter offered. “I study in the library, up on the second floor.” He shrugged. “If you bring your homework, I can help you with it.”
“Oh, thanks!” Zayne stood as Pat approached the table carrying two containers of fries. Zayne headed into the line, although Melinda saw her glance back as Pat sat beside Melinda, passing Walter one of the cartons. Pat nodded in Zayne’s direction.
“Friend?”
“Walter’s gonna help her in Latin,” Melinda said.
“She’s cute.” Pat smiled, causing Melinda to feel a mild pang of jealousy and Walter to start turning red. Pat winked at Melinda. “You’re cuter.”
“Stop that. Now,” Walter insisted. “No flirting during Weddas.”
“Sorry.” Pat sounded anything but. “Couldn’t help it.”
Melinda said nothing as she plopped another French fry into her mouth. Walter passed out the tile holders, placing the extra ones on the side, then passed the bag around for everyone to select one tile.
“Q,” said Walter.
“K,” announced Pat. He turned to Melinda. “I guess you’re going first.”
She reached into the bag. “X.” She held up her tile for the boys to see.
“I stand corrected.”
Everyone returned their tiles to the bag. Pat shook it a few times before taking out his letters, then waited for everyone else to select their letters before placing frown on the table.

Melinda enjoyed playing with the boys, and most of the game felt as it had during Parents’ Weekend. However, subtle differences reminded Melinda that much had happened in the past two weeks. Every so often, one of the boys would get overly excited and their loud voices would have the other people at the MAC Attack glancing in their direction. And Melinda did not think she was imagining Pat brushing his arm against hers on the table a couple of times. Each time, Melinda felt a tingling sensation that extended from her arm to her belly.
When everyone had used all their tiles, Melinda could not make any new words with any of her remaining letters, but Walter and Pat were able to completely clear their racks.
“So,” Walter announced, “I won with one hundred and twenty points. Pat, you had a hundred and Melinda, you had sixty. That’s not bad.”
Pat put his arm around Melinda and leaned closer to her. “Lemme see your tiles.” He pulled her rack between them. “You could have gotten a bunch more words. See, if you put this here,” he picked up a tile and placed it in a corner formed by the intersection of two words, “you get these three words and…eighteen points.”
Melinda shook her head. “I know all those words, too. I just didn’t see it.”
Pat picked up another tile and placed it at the end of a word. “You could have played this, too.”
Melinda shrugged. “Maybe I’ll do better next time.”
Walter glanced at his watch. “Wanna play again?”
“No,” Melinda declared adamantly. “I like this game, but only once a day. More than that, I’ll go nuts!”
Pat laughed as he removed his arm and started helping Walter place all the tiles into the bag. “So, whaddaya say? Should we do this again tomorrow?” He was looking at Melinda, but she looked to Walter.
“Yeah, I guess so.” Walter shrugged.

The following afternoon, Melinda was the first to notice Pat walking towards the lunch table. Beside her, Sarah and Larry had been involved one of their private conversations, and Walter had his back towards the servery and did not see his brother approaching.
Pat plopped himself in one of the several seats between Melinda and Walter, slightly closer to Melinda, she noticed, and turned to his brother. “So, how was your date last night?”
Melinda was not sure if it was Pat’s presence or the word “date” that caught Sarah’s attention.
“Date? Who had a date?” She looked around, then pointed to Melinda. “You had orchestra. I know. I was there.”
Walter started turning red as Melinda giggled an explanation. “You know Zayne? I forgot her last name.”
Sarah looked towards the ceiling as she recalled the information on their classmate. “It starts with a K. Its unpronounceable. She’s on the…third floor? I think so. Single, I think.” She looked back towards Walter. “You had a date last night?”
Walter seemed to have recovered. “Kryszak,” he said. “I asked her last night. And, no, we did not have a date, which you very well know.” He glared at Pat.
Melinda continued her explanation. “Anyway, Zayne came up to me yesterday asking for help in Latin. I told her Walter helps me and invited her to study with us. When I told her I had rehearsal last night, she still wanted to study with Walter.”
“You didn’t tell me this.” Larry sounded pained as he looked at his friend.
“Um, when exactly was I supposed to tell you? You didn’t show up to dinner last night and when I was looking for you during break, Andy said you were with Sarah.”
“You could have said something this morning.”
“Honestly, I forgot by this morning. Zayne and I studied Latin together. I also helped her with her algebra a little. Then, we just worked quietly for a while. I did mention how you and I do the assignments in advance –”
“What?” Pat turned to Melinda. “You do extra homework?”
Melinda closed her eyes and sighed. “No. I just do it early. So, today is Tuesday. All the homework I was supposed to do tonight, I did it last night. So, today, I could better understand what my teachers are saying. Or participate in class discussions a little better. Tonight, I’ll do the assignments for tomorrow night. Except art. I just draw whatever Mr. Rockwell assigns in class; we don’t have a syllabus there.” Melinda turned her attention back to Walter. “So, is she going to study with us?”
“Not every night. But, she said she might like to join us once in a while. Especially before next week’s quiz.”
“Did you know about this extra homework thing?” Larry asked Sarah.
“Why is this a big deal?” Melinda could feel her face growing warm.
“Yeah. She told me about it a long time ago. She got the idea from…” Sarah trailed off.
Larry and Pat both looked around the table, until Larry voiced what they both were thinking. “Who? She got the idea from who?”
“Whom,” Pat corrected automatically.
“An arrogant narcissist who shall remain nameless,” Walter answered.
Larry thought for a moment. “Nope. Clueless.”
“The first guy she dated,” Sarah whispered.
Larry called Mike an unflattering name that had everyone at the table smiling.
“I feel out of the loop,” Pat said. “But, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, so I’ll just have Walter tell me later.” His smile made it hard for Melinda to know if he was serious.
“Hey, anyone wanna go to the coffee shop this afternoon?” Sarah suggested.
“I usually go there Wednesdays after school to kill time before CCD,” Melinda explained. “I don't think I want to go two days in a row.”
“We could go to Checkmate,” suggested Pat. When he was met with four blank stares he asked, “You guys haven’t discovered Checkmate yet? Okay. We’re going there this afternoon. Everyone bring five bucks and meet me behind Stanton at three”
“What are you getting us into?” Larry asked warily.
Pat merely smiled. “You’ll love it.”

“So, where is your boyfriend taking us?” Sarah asked Melinda as they stood behind Stanton with Walter and Larry.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Melinda said at the same time Walter was saying, “He’s not her boyfriend.”
“Is this some sort of upper former prank against third formers?” Larry asked suspiciously.
“Wow, way to be paranoid,” Pat said from behind them. Although they were all wearing parkas, hats, and gloves to ward against the November chill, Pat had also draped a scarf around his mouth and was wearing large sunglasses, making him nearly unrecognizable. He pointed to his roommate beside him. “Has everyone met Frank? Frank, that’s Walter’s friend Larry and Melinda’s roommate Sarah. This is Pete. Call him Frank. Okay. Let’s go.”
Pat started along the path towards the main road that led into town, and everyone followed in silence for a while. “So, what exactly is this place?” Walter asked as he caught up to his brother.
“Not telling. I wanna surprise you. Frank and I used to go here all the time.”
“Spence is going to be so excited to see you,” Frank said to Pat. “I stopped in to say hi back in September and he was really bummed you were gone for the term.”
The wind started blowing in their direction, slowing their progress and making it difficult to walk. It seemed like a long time before they reached the center of town, with the coffee shop across the street. Instead of crossing either of the streets, however, Pat turned left and continued about half a block before holding open a door.
Melinda followed her friends into the establishment towards a counter a few feet in front of them. In the display case, she could see some movie-theater snacks. There was a half-wall on her right, over which she could see a spattering of tables. There were round tables and angular tables. There were tall tables and short tables. There were booths and chairs. There was even a kids-size table with brightly colored chairs. The room was lined with floor to ceiling bookcases, with other bookcases of various heights positioned around the room separating the tables.
On every shelf were piles of board games, most of which had titles she didn’t recognize. Was it her imagination or were some not even in English? They seemed to be arranged in some order, since the stack closest to Melinda appeared to be world-domination-type games.
There were only three other people in the establishment. Two elderly gentlemen were playing chess at a table by the window with the board imprinted upon it. They did not appear to notice the arrival of Melinda and her friends.
The middle-aged man sitting behind the counter did, however. He stood up and took off the reading glasses that had been sitting on the tip of his nose. He placed an open paperback book on the seat beneath him and rubbed his eyes much like a sleepy child might.
“Do my eyes deceive me,” he said as he put down his hands and smiled wide. “Or has Pat Evans finally returned to Checkmate?”
“Hey Spencer,” Pat greeted him with a complicated handshake.
“When did you get back?”
“A little over two weeks ago. And, before you ask, I had a lot of work to catch up on, so I haven’t had time to come visit. But, here I am. And, I brought you new customers.”
Pat gestured behind him. “This is my brother, Walter. And, those are his friends: Melinda, Sarah, and Larry. This is Spencer. He owns the place.”
“What is this place?” Walter asked reverently. He had the look of a young child walking into a large toy store for the first time.
“It’s a game café. You can stay and play as many games as you want all afternoon. You just have to be careful not to break any of the games.”
“I’ve collected games from all different countries,” Spencer explained. “You tell me what you want to play, and we’ll find something like it.”
“I’ve already got a game in mind for now,” Pat said. “Okay, now everyone pay up. I don’t have enough cash to cover everyone.”
Everyone passed their five dollars to Pat, who handed the money to Spencer, then Pat gestured to a large table in the back corner that could seat the six of them. “Go sit over there. I’m gonna get the game.”
Pat wandered towards a bookshelf near the front of the room and frowned. He shouted across the café, “Spence! You reorganized!”
“No, I didn’t!” Spencer shouted in reply. “What’re you looking for?”
“Pictowar!”
“It’s over there!”
“No, it’s not!”
“I can’t concentrate!” shouted one of the older gentlemen near Pat.
The other older man sighed. “Spence, you reorganized back in May. It’s in the family game section, two bookcases to your left.”
“Thanks, Rick,” Pat replied.
Pat retrieved the game and brought it to their table, sitting beside Melinda.
“Pat, how often do you come here that you know the other customers’ names?” she asked.
He opened the box. “Huh? Oh, that’s Rick. He’s Spencer’s father. The other guy is John, his brother. Spencer lets them play for free. They’re here every day. He kinda built this place for them.”
Pat took out a bunch of whiteboard markers and explained the rules. His team would use one whiteboard while Frank’s would use the other. When no one had any questions, Pat divided the teams. He took a piece of paper and split it four ways, writing P on two pieces and F on the other. He crumpled all four pieces into balls and placed them in his ski cap. After shaking the cap, he held it out to Melinda. She took one and passed the hat to Sarah, who passed it to Larry, then to Walter. Melinda and Sarah both ended up on Pat’s team and Larry and Walter were with Frank.
Frank and Pat both went first. Frank flipped the first card, swore under his breath, and showed the card to Pat. Pat grimaced and flipped the sand hourglass timer.
“Go!” He grabbed a marker and raced to his board.
Melinda looked at the circle he drew and the stick figure on top of it. He had drawn x’s for eyes. Was the man dead? Sarah was yelling random words.
“Circle. Man. Dead. Sleeping. Kick.”
“How’d you get kick?” Melinda asked.
Sarah pointed to the other board, where Frank had drawn a boot. There was a stick figure in a boat. Now, Frank was drawing a swimming pool with another stick figure in a blindfold. Meanwhile, Pat was drawing more stick figures.
“Marco Polo!” Melinda shouted.
“Yes!” Pat gave her a high five. “We get a point. Okay. Who’s next?”
Melinda and Walter both drew next, and Melinda was glad she had been drawing so many fruit bowls in art class when she saw the word was “Banana split.”
It did not take long for Sarah to guess her picture. Melinda was able to guess “Three Blind Mice” from Larry’s picture instead of Sarah’s.
“We’re awesome!” Pat declared. “We need a team name.”
Frank grumbled testily. “No team names! Just draw. Come on, guys. We need to earn some points!”

They played until Frank’s team won, twenty-one to fifteen. “Okay. What’s next?” Frank asked as he started putting the markers and cards back into the box.
Walter immediately got up and began looking around the room at the various games. Everyone else did the same. Pat followed Melinda to the puzzle games section and stood silently beside her as they examined the games.
“Have you ever played Mancala?” Pat asked after a few moments.
Melinda shook her head. “No.”
“Come on. I’ll show you.” He pulled a thin blue tin off the shelf then grabbed her hand, leading her to a small table for two. They sat opposite each other and he pulled a wooden rectangle slightly larger than an egg carton out of the tin. He flipped it open along the shorter edge and Melinda saw an oval depression on each end of the board, reminding her of the end zone on a football field. Between the two ovals were smaller ovals arranged in pairs. There were brightly colored glass stones in some of the holes.
Pat reorganized all the stones until there were four in each small hole and the larger ovals were empty. He then explained the directions.
“Can we play a practice round?”
“Of course.” Pat’s smile nearly made Melinda forget she was about to compete against him.
The game did not take very long and Melinda figured out the rules fairly quickly. After several rounds, Melinda finally beat Pat, twenty-nine to nineteen.
“Yay! I won!” Melinda considered Pat’s smile a moment. “Wait, you let me win, didn’t you?”
“I promise. I didn’t. We can play again if you don’t believe me.”
“Nah. Let’s play something else.”
“Oh. I have a great idea. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
Melinda watched Pat stroll over to the counter to ask Spencer for something. Spencer pointed to a bookshelf beside him, where Pat removed some paper and grabbed two colored pencils before returning to the table.
“Dots and boxes!” Pat showed Melinda a page covered with a large grid of dots.
“I’ve played this before.”
It took them a while to play the game, and Melinda had a tendency to build three sides of a box and leave the fourth for Pat to score a point. Pat had a tendency to find connections where he could build multiple boxes in one turn. As a result, he beat her sixty-four to thirty-five. They played three more rounds, with Melinda getting slightly higher scores each time, but never actually beating him.
“What next?” Pat asked after the final round.
Melinda checked the time on her phone. “I think we should be heading back for dinner. Why is Sarah texting me?”
Melinda clicked on her text messages icon as she looked around the café, realizing she didn’t see any of her friends. “We all decided to grab some hot cocoa at the coffee shop,” she read aloud. “See you at dinner.”
“I never noticed them leave.”
“We should be getting back.”
“Okay.”
After they bundled themselves against the cold, Pat once again did the complicated handshake with Spencer before putting on his gloves. Then he busily wrapped the scarf around his face while they walked back towards the center of town.
Melinda raised her eyebrows. “You know, it’s not that windy. You probably don’t need the scarf.”
“You realize it’s not for the wind, right?”
“Why else would you wear it? I can never wear scarves. I always feel like they’re strangling me, no matter how loose they are.”
Pat looked at Melinda for a moment and laughed as he put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. “You’re adorable. I’m sorry. That was just the randomest comment. I have to wear the scarf in town. I don’t like being recognized.”
It took Melinda almost half a block to understand what Pat was saying. “Is that why you always wear the hat and sunglasses to church?”
Pat nodded. “When I was a third former, I tried just going into town a few times. And I was bombarded by people wanting my autograph or photos. Sometimes, I don’t mind. But, it happened every time I went into town. By Thanksgiving, I was pretty sick of it. Mom suggested the sunglasses and scarf. I told her that it was ridiculous and would never work, but it did. So now, I always hide myself when I go into town.”
“I didn’t think it bothered you. I mean, you’re not worried about it at school.”
“I was when I was a third former. I wanted to be normal, and that’s really hard sometimes. I guess it helped that Meghan was already here, and people had stopped bothering her. I hung around with her a lot when I was a third-former.”
“You miss her being here?”
“I thought I wouldn’t, because Walter’s here now. But, he’s been such a…I can’t say the word I want to say.”
“Blockhead?”
“I like that one. He’s been such a blockhead about the whole thing, it’s made me miss Meghan more. That’s one of the reasons I invited her this weekend. Another was just to annoy Walter.”
Melinda giggled. “I talked to him the other night. I think he’s trying.”
Pat shrugged but made no further comment on the subject. Instead, he pulled her a little closer. “So, feel like telling me about the guy who made you do extra homework?”
Melinda sighed. “I dated this guy a couple of months ago. In one of our conversations, he mentioned doing homework a day early so he could understand the teacher. I thought it was a good idea and decided to do it in all my classes. Walter wanted to keep studying with me, so he did it too. That’s pretty much the whole story.”
“No, it’s not. My brother really seemed to dislike him.”
“Well, Walter didn’t think much of him before we started hanging out, but then he got really mad after the bet. So did Larry.”
“What bet?”
“He made a bet with some of his friends that he could kiss me. And he didn’t see anything wrong with doing that. So, I broke up with him. He was a horrible kisser, anyway. And, why am I telling you all this?”
“It’s the scarf. It makes people want to share their innermost secrets.”
Melinda laughed and pulled down the scarf. “Then, maybe you shouldn’t wear it.”
Pat smiled at her as they approached the rear entrance of the dining hall. “I had fun with you today.” He reached for the door.
“Oh, I’m not going in yet.”
“Why not?”
“I have to get my books. I always get my books first. Then, I can go straight to the library after dinner.”
“That is so…studious,” Pat frowned.
Melinda shrugged. “I’ve got my routines. It feels weird if I don’t go to the dining hall without my bag.”
Pat continued walking with her to the dorms. As they crossed the street, Melinda said, “I had fun with you today, too.”
Pat took her hand and led her to a bench behind the humanities building, where they sat facing each other.
“Do you think, maybe you and I could hang out again? Just the two of us?”
Melinda sighed in exasperation. “Pat, it’s still weird.”
He touched her cheek with the back of his hand. “I know. I mean, you do extra homework. How weird is that?”
She pushed against his chest gently and spoke softly. “Don’t get me wrong. I like spending time with you.”
Pat smiled and pulled her close. She rested her forehead against his. Part of her wondered if he would kiss her. Instead, he sat up suddenly.
“Do you know the story of Daphne and Apollo?”
Melinda thought for a moment before replying. “I remember reading the name, but I don’t remember the story.”
Pat put his arm around Melinda and drew her near. She rested her head on his chest and he placed his on her head, his arms wrapped around her as he reminded her of the myth.
“Apollo was madly in love with Daphne, but she didn’t feel the same way. She was constantly running away from him, but he continued to chase her.”
“Am I your Daphne? Wait, you’re not in love with me, are you?” Melinda tried to sit up.
Pat held her close as he gave a small chuckle. “No, I’m not saying that. I don’t know what I am. Smitten, I guess.”
“Does the story have a happy ending?”
“Um…Let’s just say I hope things turn out better for us.” He caressed her cheek one more time and whispered in her ear. “I should let you go.” He made no motions to do so.
“Pat, I just need more time to figure this out. Whatever this is.”
“I’m not trying to rush you. I’m just reminding you that it’s still here.” He kissed her gently on the forehead before rising and returning to the dining hall. Melinda watched him leave, remaining on the bench until her heart began beating normally again before returning to her room.
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[Table Of Contents] [Chapter 12 coming July 17]
Follow follow Patrick McGregor's story in Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity - Chapter 5: Nutcracker (Part 2)
A Note From the Author
What are some of your favorite board games?
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Rumor Mill

1/5 PM Boz: https://www.secrant.com/rant/display.aspx?sp=87837811&s=2&p=84619102#87837811
Thanks bamabruce
On my end I’ve got a lot less confidence and people saying coin flip now. Some saying bye. This proves Boz > me haha
I said he was prob back so please note my change here, sorry guys. Lookin like I got it wrong. If you’ve been messaging me, you prob know the tone changed. This would explain it. No one I’m talking to knows what will happen. Still think ruggs is gone
Still hearing smith is solid
1/4 pm thanks thepolishwonder for Instagram link and Mack comment. Ruggs is gone.
1/4 getting notes so small upd, still think Tua and Smith back. X still on fence last I heard, supposed to announce yesterday. Wills was on fence. GG to him & jeudy.
Some of y’all pmd me saying ruggs is actually back, but sticking to my guns there
All in, Tua/smith/leatherwood/Moses back
Very not sure on x, personal opinion i reckon he goes. Sticking to old friends comment but no sure who
1/3 8:20 ruggs gone no backing out Cld be wrong but hes gone based on what my buddys sees
E - tends to happen y’all. Family prioritizes cash see this every year w prospects Imho he rly did want to come back recently
1/3 7pm another E - my friend in an NFL FO said Ruggs is going pro. He has direct access to the scouting department. Would be surprised if he pulls back now.
sorry guys, ruggs is gone E- most likely. He got the news about a child on the way and that has forced his hand. While that reasoning only has 1 guy behind it, I know that Ruggs has started the declaration process. Sorry, he was supposed to be rock solid. Kids change stuff. Ask any parent.
I don’t know if this will impact other decisions.
1/3 old friends are the best
1/3 2pm yeah so major defensive staff change not sure on replacement.
Lookin good on x and wills
1/3 11am keep your phones by you. Just to reiterate and make it clear that this is my stance still so y’all don’t think I’m weaseling out/small update:
R: Tua, ruggs. Smith, alex, Moses
L: jeudy, Najee
Maybe: x, wills
I still think Najee could change but he is Peyton barber 2.0. Has to go imo. Peyton pulled his family off of the streets with 5th round money and Najee is lookin like a 2-3 guy.
Lotta smoke around x, I think his IG story yesterday tipped it off for the heroes. But we will see. Lot of my friends are saying he’s back but I’ve honestly not had a hard contact say that.
As I’ve said, Wills was 1 foot out the door but Dickerson and Tua have been grinding at him. I do not know how that will play out but I still think common sense reigns and he goes.
I’m expecting more news late tomorrow when kids start to trickle back to campus.
ALSO e - as I told some of y’all yesterday, staff change rumors are gaining steam around Golding. The big thing was his firing and now legit reporters are starting to throw it out there. Think my guy was good on that one.
1/3 AM so getting conflicting stuff on the potential staff change. Got good news on the commitment front that’s pretty optimistic, but the source is very very close to the matter.
That said, the kids just got home from Alabama yesterday with some going home today. Family can change things so let me gather some today before opening the gates.
Sorry, I thought I’d get a little more reassurance on the first thing.
1/2 11pm something big MIGHT have happened...confirming and will have an update in the morning.
1/2 7pm if anyone is still reading this, looking very good for Tua, ruggs, Smitty and Moses. X and Wills were declaring, but they’re both now leaning towards staying if slightly.
Lewis and Jeudy are gone. Najee has apparently expressed a desire to stay and get his degree given RB shelf life and his projections... but this guy is in Peyton Barber’s position. I think family wins and he leaves.
There are some rumors that Tua has made his mind up, just want to put it out there that Dolphins GM was on the field and talking to Tua. They want him badly and anointed him their savior 2 years ago. If he told Tua he is their 5 choice, that’s $19mm. Will update if I hear more.
1/2 upd Schefter said he’s hearing Tua returns this morning, but said he could make a business decision on the grounds of Miami targeting him at 5. Think the last part is schefter using common sense vs sources, but I’m sure more will come.
Schefter - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nVHkuaseSLQ
TUA LOT of confidence Tua is returning. I think he’s back, official. That’s my bet. I’ve heard it from too many good good sources. Just got it from the only person to call the arik flip. IM READY.
ITS TIME ok y’all. Got some info that I haven’t confirmed but I think the blue balls will kill ya if I sit on it anymore.
Hearing from some real plugged in folks that Tua is BACK! I don’t know when he will announce, but the feeling on the staff is very very good about Tua.
Obviously the Arik thing showed that this stuff is never guaranteed and I HAVE heard Galu was leaning NFL. I’m not ready to add a legit update but happy new year, real proud of our defense turning it around. As McElroy reported, Tua isn’t sure he will be ready for April showcasing and the citrus bowl isn’t what this class came to do.
To that end, I’m also hearing murmurs that some of the guys who were in the no camp are not as firm with Tua shaping up. Everyone is talking about Tua so more on that later.
E8 Kyle Henderson for rivals expects Tua back, nothing from my dudes yet
E7 way less optimistic now, everyone I trust says it’s legit 50/50 and the conversations are still ongoing. Honestly, to me it sounds like the good guys are trying to convince him to stay/make it worth the while. Prying as much as I can.
E6 ya I will update today. Ruggs’ lil bro on campus, smoke all over the place after the game and maybe during
E5 Darnell Washington just said he silently committed to 4 schools at the UA all star game. I said it was 3 but turns out he silenced to Miami as well...fully expected to be at UGA but from the man himself I wasn’t lying to y’all lol
Quote - https://www.si.com/college/recruiting/football/darnell-washington-set-to-commit
E4 - alright so just got some conf on this. Ruggs and leatherwood returning, Smitty 95% returning, Tua has received a policy quote but has not signed it as if this morning, Najee surprisingly 60% coming back, Wills is gone and jeudy is gone. Wills has the door open.
E4.5 - looks like X is leaning towards going but no one is sure on him. Quiet confidence Tua is returning. I’ll say this - the footwork for returning has been done and the footwork for going is done.
E1 - think wills is gone
E2 - trying to keep up with the all American games today so will be updating a bit later on. Need to confirm some stuff before letting loose too
E2.5 - Big Damieon just stonewalled Burch in 1 On 1s. Once he gets his hands on you it’s over. Might need to move inside, but he is probably going to get a 4th star if he keeps up his 1on1 dominance. Zach was not the reason we offered this kid. Early but he is a mean mother fucker out there
So feel free to disregard me as a faker or whatever, I know this will sound nuts. I’ve got some friends connected to the program and I’m hearing all sorts of things. If I’m wrong, I apologize profusely. I’m trying to confirm what I can and will strike out anything that’s wrong. Lottsssss of smoke tonight at the bowl game.
Instead of leaving comments everywhere, I’m just gonna update this.
I really trust the guys saying this stuff.
So far I’ve heard that the 17 recruits are different and there are 5 more surprises for saban on the way. Obviously Moses, but also heard Smitty is confirmed. As I’ve been saying for a couple weeks - ruggs has been heavily leaning towards coming back. Today, Tua snapped a teaser of ruggs returning.
Jeudy - from no way to murky - his relationship with Tua got hurt during the UT game and that his personality was affected when he got knocked out by Bituli. That said, got a cryptic text about him today. I’m skeptical, will update. Possible I misread it, it’s a bit ambiguous as to which receiver it’s mentioning. Technically jeudy, but could be a typo.
Also...not done on the recruiting front. Some Smoke there too.
Wanna caveat again that this is all fluid and a lot of these kids grew up in poverty. Millions of dollars can change things even if you want to wait. Najee for instance comes from absolutely nothing. I know it sounds like a cop out but I just wanna give the RUMORs i hear bc I know y’all love this team as much as I do.
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I am about to post the 3000 most common words in the English lexicon. Wish me luck...

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under undergo understand understanding unfortunately uniform union unique unit United universal universe university unknown unless unlike unlikely until unusual up upon upper urban urge us use used useful user usual usually utility vacation valley valuable value variable variation variety various vary vast vegetable vehicle venture version versus very vessel veteran via victim victory video view viewer village violate violation violence violent virtually virtue virus visible vision visit visitor visual vital voice volume volunteer vote voter vs vulnerable wage wait wake walk wall wander want war warm warn warning wash waste watch water wave way we weak wealth wealthy weapon wear weather wedding week weekend weekly weigh weight welcome welfare well west western wet what whatever wheel when whenever where whereas whether which while whisper white who whole whom whose why wide widely widespread wife wild will willing win wind window wine wing winner winter wipe wire wisdom wise wish with withdraw within without witness woman wonder wonderful wood wooden word work worker working works workshop world worried worry worth would wound wrap write writer writing wrong yard yeah year yell yellow yes yesterday yet yield you young your yours yourself youth zone
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