This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.
SCRUM An original screenplay By Jason Gagne 03-15-04 FADE IN: EXT. OLD RECREATION FIELD- NICHOLS COLLEGE - DAY Early autumn. Raw, overcast afternoon. Rural Massachusetts. We are in the middle of the brutal action of a RUGBY SCRUM. MUDDY HANDS scrape at the white ball. CLEATS dig and kick into the ground and bloody shins. PUNCHES are thrown as the players vie for position. Blue and green striped, collared shirts tear in the chaos. Suddenly, the ball emerges from the pile and is tossed to.. BILLY, 22, a short, stocky, senior player. He moves up the field, bleeding from the mouth. He's immediately attacked by two other PLAYERS trying to drag him down. Before he goes down, he sets the ball on the ground and drives over it. One of his teammates, BERTO, 20, latin, black hair tied back, picks up the ball and continues the advance. He is hit. Hands claw at his face as he drives forward. As he's going down, he pitches the ball to... JACK TRUMBULL, 17, our hero. A tough, wiry kid. Jack catches the ball and takes off with amazing speed down the sideline toward the goal line. Three HUGE OPPONENTS chase him down. One of them catches him yards before the goal. Jack bears the weight and keeps moving when another hits, knocking him forward. He stretches out for the goal and falls, slamming the ball and his face hard into the ground. Score. He doesn't move, eyes closed. BOOTS, 21, built, shaved head, tough, and TERRY, 22, captain of the team and a monstrous teddy-bear, roll off him. Finally, Jack picks his head up out of the mud and smiles, his mouthguard, covered with dirt and grass. Terry offers his hand to Jack who takes it and stands to his feet, his eye already starting to swell. TERRY Nice try, Jack. JACK Thanks. LIAM (os) Alright, bring it in! On the sideline, we see the coach, LIAM DALTON, 40. He's an imposing figure. Past a mild beer gut we can see he was once an athlete. He speaks with a Welsh accent. The men come off the field like they just finished a battle. Exhausted, sweaty and bleeding, they sit on the ground around Liam. Billy is still coming across the field. LIAM (CONT'D) Alright, we've got the first tournament of the season coming on tomorrow. There'll be few good squads there so we gotta be up for it. I think we got a real shot this year, fellas. Billy comes strolling up. BILLY What was that? Time for shots? BOOTS That's what I'm talkin' about. The guys laugh. Liam is disheartened but tries to hide it with a smile, he knows these guys are just here for a good time. LIAM Alright, good practice, guys. I'll see you tomorrow. Go have fun. They all get up and start to gather up their gear. BILLY (to all) Hey, it's freshman night over at the Grape. BOOTS Yeah, it is. Jack goes to Liam as he stuffs the balls into the bag. JACK Hey, Coach? LIAM Jack, you know I can't. JACK It's just..I know I can score on those guys. I went to camp with half of ‘em this summer.. LIAM I wish I could, I really do. And God knows we could use you, but you're in high school. You can practice with us, but if they catch you playin' in a game, we could be disqualified. He sees the disappointed look. LIAM (CONT'D) Oh, I almost forgot. He reaches into his bag and pulls out an envelope and hands it to Jack. LIAM (CONT'D) I called my sister, a teacher in Dublin. Helped me write it. I never wrote a recommendation letter before. You can double check the spelling if you want. JACK I'm not supposed to read it. LIAM I won't tell. JACK I trust you. LIAM I mentioned I'm from Wales. Thought it might help. JACK I need all the help I can get. Thanks a lot coach. He pauses. JACK (CONT'D) Is it as good as it seems? Liam smiles. LIAM Over there? Better. They're the best in the world. They breathe it. He breathes in deep through his nose. LIAM (CONT'D) Day's like this remind me of it. Steppin' out on that field after a good rain and you can smell the shite coming off the pasture, that's rugby. Nothin' like it in the world. Jack smiles. That's what he thought. JACK Well, I'll see you in the morning. He turns to leave. LIAM Hey Jack. Sorry about tomorrow. JACK It's alright, Coach, I understand. Liam watches as Jack slings his backpack over his back, picks up his ball and gets on his bike and rides off. EXT. WEBSTER, MASSACHUSETTS - DUSK It's starting to get dark as Jack rides along the country roads of the small working-class college town. He passes farms, pastures of cows... He rides across a field, 10 year-old kids play touch football, they stop as he rides by and laugh to each other at his uniform... He rides down a dark path... He rides down the main street of the quiet town. He comes to a diner, he sets his bike against the outside of the building and walks into. INT. TEDDY'S DINER - NIGHT It is a small place and you can tell most of the seats are occupied by the same people every night. An old man, MR. ROBERTS sits at the counter, thick glasses and a flannel shirt. Next to him, is his wife, BEVERLY, they look up as Jack comes in. Also at the bar is OFFICER NORRIS, a young, overweight local cop. BEVERLY Jack, don't you wear pads to your football games? JACK Hi, Mrs. Roberts. Um, no we don't wear pads, its rugby. MR. ROBERTS Atta boy, Jack. Don't need no fool pads. We didn't wear no pads. BEVERLY No helmet neither. You see where that got him. MR. ROBERTS A-h-h-h. CINDY (os) Heeey, Jack. CINDY is a 39 year old waitress who was once the homecoming queen and thinks she hasn't changed a bit. She's wrong. She looks at him seductively, snapping her gum. JACK Oh, hey Cindy. My mom around? CINDY (not taking her eyes off him) Sure. SAM! Jack's here. SAMANTHA TRUMBULL,38 comes over carrying two cups of coffee. She's the opposite of Cindy, she has held onto her beauty but is unaware of it. JACK I forgot my keys. Samantha looks heartbroken when she sees him. He's a mess. Cut, dried blood, eye swelling. SAMANTHA (rushing to him) Oh, Jack, what are you doing to yourself? JACK Mom, it's just practice. SAMANTHA (handing him her keys) Here you go, honey. CINDY (flirty) Good to see you Jack. JACK Mom, could you do something here? SAMANTHA Cindy, that's sexual harassment. TEDDY (os) It's sexual embarrassment coming from Cindy. TEDDY, 42, the greasy owner, comes up to the counter. CINDY Shut up, Teddy. TEDDY Why don't you shut up? JACK Hey, Teddy. TEDDY Jackie, what's up Buddy? Kickin' ass and takin' names? JACK Doin' what I can. TEDDY Good to hear it. (to the waitresses) Alright, sewing circle's over. They roll their eyes and go back to work. SAMANTHA I'll see you when I get home, Honey. There's dinner in the oven. JACK Thanks, Mom. See you at home. (to Cindy, mocking) Byyyeee, Cindy. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT He comes to a small, run down house with a screened-in porch. He leaves the bike in the driveway. INT. JACK'S ROOM - NIGHT Jack enters. The room is small. The walls are covered with posters of rugby players. He goes to a bookshelf, looks through a stack of videotapes. He takes one down. INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Jack puts his dinner down on the coffee table. He presses eject on an ancient VCR. He takes out a tape and puts his in. As it goes in, we see the label. CLOSE ON LABEL- Barbarians Vs. New Zealand 1973. He sits on the couch leans forward and presses the play button. We hear the BRITISH VOICE of the ANNOUNCER as he a announces the game. We focus on the television. The play is fast, professional. We can see that's where he wants to be. He's lost in it. We come closer and closer to the grainy image. Close on the reflection in Jack's eyes. He fast forwards it. Play. Action resumes. He quietly ANNOUNCES the game, word for word in sync with the announcer, British accent and all. The play we are watching is among the greatest in rugby history. Each player barely getting the ball off to the next as they move it from their own goal, down the length of the field. The volume and intensity of the crowd rises steadily as the play develops. ANNOUNCER AND JACK Kirkpatrick to Williams... This is great stuff.... Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant! (the announcers voice rises) Oh, that's brilliant! John...Williams, pullin', John Dawes. (higher. Like a horse race announcer) Great Dummy! David, Tom David, The half-way line! (now nearly screaming over the crowd) BRILLIANT BY QUINNELL! Twenty yards from the goal, QUINNELL has the ball and looks as if they are finally going to bring him down when he throws up the ball... It seems to hang there forever when, out of nowhere, streaking down the line comes.... ANNOUNCER AND JACK (CONT'D) THIS IS GARETH EDWARDS! He lays out diving across the goal, slamming the ball to the ground. ANNOUNCER AND JACK (CONT'D) A DRAMATIC START! WHAT A SCORE!! He rewinds it. Play. ANNOUNCER AND JACK (CONT'D) Great Dummy. David, Tom David, the half way line. BRILLIANT BY QUINNELL! THIS IS GARETH EDWARDS! A DRAMATIC START! WHAT A SCORE!! Again. ANNOUNCER AND JACK (CONT'D) BRILLIANT BY QUINNELL! THIS IS GARETH EDWARDS! A DRAMATIC START! WHAT A SCORE!! He sits back, amazed as if it were the first time he saw it. The screen freeze framed on the image of the score. Jack takes out the tape and replaces the other one. As he goes to turn off the TV, the other tape begins to play. He stops. He sits back down, his eyes fixed on the screen. ON THE SCREEN- there is a younger Samantha in a wedding dress and a large, athletic-looking man in a tuxedo, her husband, JACK'S FATHER. It is their wedding reception which is nothing more than a backyard barbecue with friends. A few of the GUESTS have Webster Fire Department formal uniforms on. The camera moves around to three of them, pretty drunk. NARRATOR Do you have anything to say to the newlyweds? FIREFIGHTER #1 Congratulations! FIREFIGHTER #2 (raising his glass) To Samantha, who's known us since she's what.. two? Two of them are laughing. FIREFIGHTER #1 No wonder she married a guy from England. FIREFIGHTER #2 And to our favorite Limey, Devin. And not just because your the best scrum half our club has ever had.... FIREFIGHTER #3 has been silent. FIREFIGHTER #3 You're also our brother. The other two look at him and agree. FIREFIGHTER #2 To Devin and Samantha. The camera zooms in on the newlyweds kissing, lost in each other. ALL THREE To Devin and Samantha. Jack smiles quietly as he watches. His face lit up by the TV. INT. JACK'S ROOM - NIGHT Jack sits in his bed, reading Hamlet. INT. THE ANCIENT MARINER - AFTERNOON The dark bar is quiet, a single bartender, JIM polishes glasses. A few customers sit at the bar and in booths. JIM Usual? LIAM Sure, Jim. Jim goes to a tap that reads Stewarts Root Beer. JIM Y'know a keg of root beer costs more than a keg of Natty Light? LIAM It should. Tastes a hell of a lot better. Jim smiles as he puts down the glass. JIM How'd you guys do last week? LIAM The boys did well. Looks like we got a real shot this year. The Bartender nods. LIAM (CONT'D) Any idea how Brett did? They scrimmaged Springfield tonight. BARTENDER (nodding to the door) Haven't heard but I have a feeling we're about to find out. The door opens with a COMMOTION as two teams enter, they are SPRINGFIELD and AMHERST. Springfield's uniforms are filthy, especially compared to those of the Amherst squad. Leading them is BRETT DODD, the coach of Amherst. He's short, bald and stocky but somehow speaks as if he's head and shoulders above everyone else. BRETT Hey, Jim how ‘bout a keg of Natty Light for the boys. Put it on my tab and I'll have a bourbon. He sees Liam sitting there. BRETT (CONT'D) Hey, Coach. How goes it? I heard you guys came close to beating that Bridgewater squad. LIAM Yeah, guys look pretty good. How'd your boys do? BRETT Shut ‘em out. Too bad, they were supposed to be good, we were hoping for a match. I guess they're still working out the kinks. LIAM Yeah. BRETT We got Harvard next week. They should have a good team. I tell ya, I don't think we can take another season like last year. Shutouts and blowouts aren't fun for anyone after a while. LIAM We'll give you a run. BRETT Oh, yeah? That's right, you said your guys look pretty good. LIAM Yeah, yeah, they are. BRETT Liam, pretty good won't score on us. LIAM Well, I guess I was just being modest. BRETT I'll let you in on a little secret, Coach. This may be my last year, I've been talking to the coaches at the US Eagles. Might be an opening. (Drinks) No, we're going straight through to the New England tourney. Sorry to break it to you Liam, but your guys will be ready to quit by halftime. (beat) Anyway, we'll find out tomorrow. LIAM How's that? BRETT Just got back from the seed meeting. We got you guys in the first round of the tourney. Liam nods. BRETT (CONT'D) I'll give you this, Coach, you are an incurable optimist. LIAM It's terminal. BRETT Hope not. Hate to have that on my conscience. He picks up his drink and walks away. Liam watches him go as Jim comes up. JIM Guy's an asshole, huh. Liam nods. LIAM Good goddamn team though. JIM Yeah. EXT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL - MORNING Jack rides up to the small school on his bike. He gets off and locks it up. The sign in front of the school reads Pep Rally Today. INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY Jack steps out of a classroom with STEVIE ABROMOWITZ, 17, a small, skinny kid. He is pale, with white blonde hair, nearly albino. He is so small, he looks like he could be a couple of years behind Jack. JACK How'd you do? STEVIE Alright, I guess. The last version of Hamlet I saw was Ethan Hawke's so I was having trouble remembering the details, it was pretty abbreviated, not like Branagh's. JACK You didn't even read it? STEVIE Actors read plays, Jack, everyone else watches them. Anyway, I knew the story enough to pass the test. JACK Whatever works, I guess. STEVIE You got class? JACK No, I gotta meet with Mr. Fournier. He wants to see me about my college applications. You? STEVIE AV lab. INT. ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT - DAY Jack stands in front of a door with a plaque that says MR. FOURNIER. He knocks. INT. GUIDANCE COUNSELLOR'S OFFICE - DAY MR. FOURNIER, a young guy, new on the job, not the cynic he will be in ten years, looks over Jack's applications. MR. FOURNIER I'll be honest with you, Jack. I'm concerned. JACK Why's that? MR. FOURNIER Well for one thing, these schools are all in Great Britain. JACK Yeah, I know. MR. FOURNIER There are plenty of great schools here in the US. Heck, Boston has the most and the best. With your transcript and test scores, you could get into almost any of them, probably with a great financial aid package. JACK I want to play rugby, Mr. Fournier. MR. FOURNIER You can play here. JACK They only have clubs teams in the US. There's no NCAA Rugby league. You don't understand, I want to play on a real varsity team. With the best players. They're just all in Europe. MR. FOURNIER I just don't know if it's realistic, given your.. ah, financial situation. JACK I could get a scholarship. MR. FOURNIER With your grades you could get a scholarship, here in the United States, but these schools are very selective about their foreign students- Jack lays something on the desk. Fournier looks at him, confused. JACK An EU passport. My father was from London, Mr. Fournier. I have dual citizenship. I wouldn't be a foreign student. He's surprised but undaunted. MR. FOURNIER Well, your essay certainly shows your passion for the game, but I don't think that and a recommendation from a club coach is enough. JACK If they saw me play, if someone came here, I could get a scholarship. Or at least I'd know I'm not good enough. You contact scouts for the football players all the time. MR. FOURNIER Jack, I just don't think they'll come here for one student. He can see that's not enough for Jack. MR. FOURNIER (CONT'D) How ‘bout this? You apply to Nichols, here in Webster, a safety school, a couple others, maybe BC, BU.. Brown..and I'll see what I can do about, I don't know, finding a scout. Jack thinks it over.. JACK OK. He smiles. JACK (CONT'D) Thanks Mr. Fournier. He gets up to leave. MR. FOURNIER You're really that good? Jack shrugs. JACK I just want to find out. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - MORNING Jack finishes his breakfast as Samantha cleans the dishes. SAMANTHA I washed your uniform, it's on my bed. JACK Thanks. He finishes his breakfast, gets up and goes into Samantha's room. His uniform is clean and folded. He puts it on and looks in the mirror. He looks the part. He's ready. He walks out into the kitchen. JACK (CONT'D) Mom, you sure you don't want to come? SAMANTHA Oh, Honey, I'd love to but I have to work. JACK Ok. Well, I'll be home later. SAMANTHA Good luck. He kisses her cheek, grabs his rugby ball and heads out the door. Samantha goes out the door and watches him go. EXT. COLLEGE QUAD - DAY It's a crisp, clear autumn day. The quad is much nicer than the practice field. There are students playing frisbee, throwing baseballs etc. There is a section of the field marked off for the rugby game. There are no fans watching. Jack stands by the bench. The other players stand around talking, waiting for the other team to arrive. STEVIE (OS) Workin' on a new angle. It's all about angles. Jack turns back to see Stevie crouching down behind the bench, aiming a small 8mm movie camera at him. STEVIE (CONT'D) (standing) If you're trying to make someone look more intimidating, you shoot ‘em from down low. Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, cut holes in the floor of the set to get low enough. JACK Who? STEVIE Orson Welles? Citizen Kane? The best movie ever made. JACK Better than Braveheart? STEVIE Where do you think Mel Gibson learned how to direct? JACK I don't know. STEVIE So, I never been to one of these things before so I figured I'd stop by. JACK You won't be disappointed. INT. HUDDLE - DAY The team sits on the ground as Liam starts his pep talk. Jack kneels on one knee, listening to him. Stevie aims his camera at the huddle. LIAM This is it guys. If the Nichols Bison are gonna make a season of this, we start right here. BOOTS Man, I hate that name. The Bison, its such a pussy name. BILLY Yeah, can't we be something else? They all agree. Liam is frustrated that they are not focusing. He shakes his head. LIAM Yeah, whatever. Lets talk about it after the game. BERTO How ‘bout the Devils? TERRY Here they come. The team looks to see the AMHERST team across the field. The boys know they're in trouble. The clean red shirts over athletic physiques, make the team look like professional superheroes. LIAM Look at them, they think we're a joke, they think they're gonna come down to our school, to our backyard and run all over us! Are we gonna let ‘em? An unenthusiastic. TEAM No! BERTO At least, we're not gonna like it! A few laughs. Liam's disappointed. LIAM Ok, let's go get out there. Take it to ‘em. Jack stands up, he's ready, excited. Stevie comes over. STEVIE I thought you can't play in the games. JACK Coach told me to suit up, a team with substitutes is always more intimidating. They don't know I can't play. STEVIE Ahh, strategy. So how does this work? JACK Well, they kick the ball off. Our team kicks off the ball. It sails out of bounds. JACK (CONT'D) When the ball goes out of bounds, they throw it in. The ball is thrown above the heads of a mass of players. Billy is thrown in the air to catch the ball..he does and is immediately crushed..Jack winces. JACK (CONT'D) Oooh. Close inside the scrum, Amherst is dominating. JACK (CONT'D) (vo) Then there's a scrum, which is like a face-off. Guys pitching the ball off to each other, moving up the field easily past Nichols PLAYERS... JACK (CONT'D) (vo) You can only toss the ball backward. But you can kick it forward. .. Another Nichols player, WILLIAMS, 20, African-American, with the ball getting leveled.... JACK (CONT'D) (vo) When you hit the ground, you have to let go of the ball. Which you want to do anyway so you can cover your head from getting stomped on. He releases the ball and covers his head as cleats dig and kick in the action. AMHERST PLAYER #1 picks it up, tosses it out at the last second.. to #2 streaking down the sideline.. ..scoring.. JACK (CONT'D) (vo) A score is called a try. You set the ball on the ground in the goal to score. That's three points. Amherst scoring. JACK (CONT'D) (vo) After you score, you kick a fieldgoal, like an extra point in football but in rugby, if you make it, its two points. Amherst kicks the fieldgoal. Focus on Jack, he wishes he could be out there. Terry gets the ball and tries to move it forward but can't gain any ground. He's pulled down hard. Amherst is just dominating. Score. Score. Liam is frustrated. The team is half-assing it. Playing like they've already lost. Players slammed into the ground, again, and again. For a moment the coaches exchange looks, Brett, smug. Liam angry. Halftime. STEVIE They gettin' shut out? Jack doesn't look at him. JACK Yeah. But they'll score. I know they can at least score on ‘em. Liam overhears and looks out the corner of his eye. The team comes to the sidelines and collapses, exhausted. BILLY Let's just go to the Grape. LIAM What? BERTO We can't even find each other out there. They're frustrated. They just want to quit. WILLIAMS It's embarrassing, coach. Let's just call it. He can't believe what he's hearing. LIAM Is that what you guys want to do? They don't say anything. Liam looks over the team, disgusted. Then he looks at Jack. LIAM (CONT'D) No. If you guys want to quit and give away this game, we're at least gonna give the kid a chance to play. Jack, you start the second half. He at least believes we can score. Anyone who doesn't want to finish, don't bother coming to practice tomorrow. No one has a problem. BILLY Get us on the board, kid. Jack is pumped. Jack stands on the sidelines, waiting for half-time to be over. He can't wait to get out there. TERRY You ready? JACK I've been waiting for this as long as I can remember. BOOTS He's like Rudy. Terry smiles. TERRY Yeah. Except he's good. The official blows his WHISTLE. Jack sprints out to the field. The rest of the team jogs back on the field and play resumes. Jack is playing balls out. Sprinting, driving, hitting the ground and popping back up. The rest of the guys suddenly start running a little faster, hitting a little harder. They're working as a team, pitching, driving, tackling. They still can't seem to make any headway. Jack gets the ball and is driven to the ground. He gets up and continues on. Terry pulls down an Amherst player. The sky darkens with storm clouds. Amherst scores again. It starts to rain. Faces land in the mud, bodies tackled to the ground. The action is brutal, cleats stomp on fallen bodies, ears and eyes are clawed at. Billy and Terry stand up slowly and look at each other. TERRY (CONT'D) Havin' fun? Billy smiles, his mouthguard is covered in mud. BILLY Hell, yeah. The men continue their battle but it doesn't look good, Amherst scores again. This time, our team is slow to get up, they sit in the mud, catching their breath. But Jack is up and ready, covered in mud. This is the greatest day of his life. The rest of the team gets up. Time is running down, Jack moves toward the goal, they are close..fifteen yards out.. .....pitches off to Billy, who is brought down, releasing the ball... ...Williams picks it up. He moves forward driving toward the goal before his head is almost taken off. As he slams the ground, the ball pops out to ... Terry, they are getting close. Terry gets a few yards despite three guys on him. ...Jack streaks, the ball is pitched to him and he's immediately hit... As he goes down, he flips the ball to Billy, he's hit head on, drives for the goal... ...players from both teams join the struggle, pushing against each other just in front of the goal. The mass of muddy players doesn't seem to move. ...We see the faces of the Nichols players, they want this, their legs drive, their muscles strain, they GRUNT and YELL and push until the pile collapses... ...over the goalline. Billy reaches out and slams the ball to the ground. SCORE! The team gets up, exhausted, covered in mud, everyone of them smiling. Jack is psyched. Liam watches and smiles, looks down at the scorebook. 36-3. Then back to the team. The Amherst players are bitter. Brett is pissed, yelling at his players. BACK ON THE SIDELINE- the team takes a knee around Liam. LIAM That was it! Brilliant. That is what I'm looking for, you guys played like a team and you saw what happened. I'm going over to talk to the Coach. Excellent job. Liam walks away, happier than he's been in a long time. BERTO (collapsing to the ground) I am exhausted. Since when do we play this game to get tired. WILLIAMS Yeah, right? (catching his breath) At least we only lost 36 to 3 instead of zero. That's important. BOOTS They're good. JACK We could beat them. Most of the guys laugh. WILLIAMS What? Yeah, right. We could barely- BERTO I don't know about that one, Jack- TERRY He's right. Everyone quiets down as the Captain speaks up. TERRY (CONT'D) Do you know what Liam used to do before he came here? He was a fly half for the Welsh national team. The team that made the semis in the world cup. They even beat the All-Blacks that year. He could show us things that we could crush other teams with. We could be a real team, have a real season. We could win. I forget what it's like to win something. Remember when you were in High School, we all played something, right? Football, wrestling. Man, there was nothing like winning. This is it, me and Billy are seniors. After this, we'll probably go to some office nine hours a day, and slowly turn into our fathers. You never really win anything after college. But these are the days we'll talk about for the rest of our lives. This is our last chance to feel that. BERTO I'm in college, I don't want rugby glory, I want beer, drunk freshmen girls.. the whole thing. You know, COLLEGE! BILLY You don't have to give up all that. This isn't gymnastics, it's goddamn rugby! We're just going to have to practice harder. And want to win. BERTO Oh, well if we can still party, alright then. I'm in. WILLIAMS The All-Blacks? What the fuck kind of name is that? I mean, I don't know wether to be offended or empowered? JACK They're called the All-Blacks because their uniforms are all black. WILLIAMS (embarrassed) Oh, all right then. I'm in. TERRY Alright. BILLY Y'know, it wouldn't be official if we didn't have a drink on it. They all look at each other and smile. INT. THE FUZZY GRAPE - DAY Billy gulps a plastic cup of beer, half going down his face, crumples the cup and lets out a REBEL YELL, his eyes bulged out of his head. These guys can party. The dark wood, smoky room is filled with beer drinking co eds. Televisions show college football. The whole team is there. Jack and Stevie stand with them. STEVIE I can't believe you got us in here. JACK Terry can get us in anywhere. AT THE DOOR The familiar red shirts of the entire Amherst team walk by the DOORMAN who points out where the Nichols team is. The team walks together through the bar, straight for our boys. Stevie spots them. He's nervous. They are getting closer. Terry and Billy spot them too, and stand. STEVIE Hey, Jack...the other team's here. They walk right up to Terry and Billy. TERRY Hey, boys good game out there. Both sides are all smiles as Billy pours the beer. JACK Yeah, that's what a drink up is. After the game, you get drunk with the other team, it's rugby tradition. STEVIE What about him? Off to the side, by himself is GERARD KEENE, 21. Huge. Built like Stone Cold Steve Austin, with a similar demeanor. He focuses on a TV so he doesn't have to talk to anyone. JACK Don't know him. Berto overhears. BERTO Don't worry about that guy. Let's get some drinks. TERRY (over the crowd) Hey rookies, get over here. They go over to Terry and Billy. Berto and Boots look on. BILLY (to Stevie) Ok, here's how it goes. This is our drinking game. You ever play rock, paper, scissors? JACK Oh Man, you're in trouble. STEVIE Sure, when I was a kid. BILLY Right, well, it's that game but if you lose, you drink. Pretty simple right? STEVIE Right. BILLY Ready. Rock, paper, scissors, shoot. They both throw their hands out, Stevie puts down a fist(rock) and Billy puts his hand out flat(paper). Stevie loses. BILLY (CONT'D) Ok. You drink. STEVIE (smiling) Damn. He takes a sip of his beer and gets ready to go again. BILLY No, no, the whole thing. STEVIE The whole cup? Billy nods. He slowly downs it. Billy refills it from the pitcher. BILLY Ready. Rock, paper, scissors, shoot. This time Stevie wins. He looks up to say something only to see Billy finish his beer in one gulp while grabbing the pitcher to refill. BILLY (CONT'D) Ready? Stevie looks at him, debating..then turns to Jack. STEVIE Anyone up for Pool? THE POOL TABLE Jack racks the balls and lines up to break. He looks awkward. He hasn't played much. Berto and Boots look on surprised how bad he really is and try to keep straight faces. He shoots and the cue ball skims off the other balls, barely moving them. BERTO You weren't lying. You are not good. Berto takes his shot and breaks up the balls. BERTO (CONT'D) You're stripes. Jack lines up his shot, standing up almost straight, it's not pretty. He pulls the stick back to shoot and when he does, he knocks a cup of beer out of the hand of JESSICA ARMSTRONG, 19. She turns around. Jack turns and sees her. She's beautiful. Long brown hair, wearing a Nichols College sweatshirt. Berto and Boots cringe. JACK Oh, jeez. I'm really sorry. Let me get you another beer, I didn't see- JESSICA No, no it's ok. It happens. Finish your game. You can get me another when you're done. JACK You sure? I could- JESSICA Just take your shot. JACK Ok. She watches as he again lines up his shot. She looks at him like he can't seriously be playing like that. He shoots another terrible shot. JESSICA Wow. He turns and looks at her. JACK What? JESSICA That was awful. I mean, actually painful to watch. JACK Yeah, I know. Berto takes his shot. JESSICA I can't stand here and let you embarrass yourself. Let me give you a few tips. JACK Alright. Jack starts to line up for the next shot. She stands behind him. JESSICA First of all, you have to get down lower. She starts to move him into position. He bends down at the waist to get lower. JESSICA (CONT'D) You have to move your back leg back. She lightly kicks his leg back. She can see this is not going to be easy. She puts her arms on top of his to show him the proper form, her hair brushes his face. Her body is against his, her face right next to his. Her lips next to his ear. JESSICA (CONT'D) I try to get my chin right down on top of the stick so I can get a good look at the balls. He looks out of the corner of his eye at her. She doesn't notice. She's not seducing him, just innocently trying to show him how to play. He's having trouble focusing. Berto and Boots stand open mouthed, watching this go on. BERTO Is this happening? BOOTS He has got to be kidding me. The shot is lined up. JESSICA Now just slide it back slow and follow through. The cue hits the ball and knocks it in. Jessica stands back smiling. JESSICA (CONT'D) See, it's that easy. Jack is about to say something when a large, belligerent, FRATERNITY GUY, backed by others, pushes him. Jack turns. FRATERNITY GUY Hey, this is our game. We had quarters down. JACK Oh, well we- BERTO No fuckin' way you did. FRATERNITY GUY They were right there on the table. BERTO There was nothing there when I put mine down. FRATERNITY GUY You stole this game. BERTO Whatever. Why don't you take it back. The Fraternity Guy starts for Berto when suddenly, Billy comes out of nowhere, and with another REBEL YELL blind sides him. Instantly, a melee ensues between anyone in rugby uniform and anyone wearing fraternity letters. Boots drops a GUY with one punch and looks for someone else. Jack is hit. He turns to hit back when Terry grabs him and Stevie. TERRY You two, get out of here, now. Go out that door by the kitchen. GO! If they catch you in here, it'll be my ass. They agree and move quickly to the door. Series of shots of the fight.. Terry ties up two guys handily.. The Bartender on the phone... Amherst guys fight alongside the Nichols team.. Boots and Berto working over one guy when another hits Berto... Boots headbutts him and elbows another.. EXT. FUZZY GRAPE - NIGHT Stevie and Jack come out the back door. STEVIE This is the greatest night of my life. Just as they come to the corner of the building. Two police cruisers pull up, lights flashing, SIRENS blaring. Unseen, Jack and Stevie wait for the officers to go inside. JACK We better get outta here. EXT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL - DAY The sign in front of the school reads CONGRATULATIONS HAWKS FOOTBALL INT. ADMINISTRATION OFFICE - MORNING Mr. Fournier is in the office of PRINCIPAL MEEKER. PRINCIPAL Listen, I don't care. You are a guidance counselor. You are to provide guidance. You are not an ‘encourage every foolish whim' counselor. That would just be ridiculous. MR. FOURNIER I thought we were here to help them achieve their dreams. PRINCIPAL Who the hell told you that? Well, there's the problem. I'm glad we cleared that up. Have a good day. MR. FOURNIER Bill, this school spends thousands of dollars to get football students scouted. PRINCIPAL That's because we HAVE a football team. And PS, I did just not confirm that we spend that money. We don't spend any money on the damn cricket team either. You know why? MR. FOURNIER Because it doesn't exist? PRINCIPAL Exactly. MR. FOURNIER This kid is good. We owe it to him to at least try. PRINCIPAL Listen, it is our responsibility to GUIDE these kids in a direction away from a mistake that could ruin their lives. If he doesn't get a scholarship to one of these schools, what the hell is to become of him. He'll end up stuck in Webster working for the goddamn high school. Now I'm sure neither of us wants that for him. He has good grades, get him in a good school would ya. Anything else you can do on your own time. INT. MR. FOURNIER'S HOUSE - MORNING It is a small, neat, apartment. An alarm clock BEEPS. The time flashes- 4:30. KITCHEN He enters. The sky outside the window is still dark. He turns on the light, puts on coffee. He sits at the table, opens a file folder..picks up the phone..dials...waits... MR. FOURNIER (almost yelling) Hello?! Is this Leeds University? In.... (he checks his paper) Oh, in Leeds? I don't have to yell? OK. (lowering his voice) Yes, I'm calling from the United States. I wrote to you about a student of mine.. Jack Trumbull? Oh, it's about 5:00 AM. Yeah, well anyway.. EXT. MR. FOURNIER'S HOUSE - NIGHT The house sits on a quiet street. A dog BARKS, a PAPERBOY passes on his bike. The sky lightens. INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY Stevie, carrying his camera in one hand and books in the other is about to go into the AV lab when his books fly out of his hands and across the floor. He turns to see three STUDENTS in football jerseys. One is CHRIS CAVANAUGH, 17 good-looking, not very tall but built like a tank. CAVANAUGH What's up Spielberg? Stevie picks up his books. CAVANAUGH (CONT'D) When you gonna make a movie about me? STEVIE (scared) I don't know. Cavanaugh takes the camera. CAVANAUGH What you got on this thing? You got porn on here? I bet you got gay porn on here, don't you? COACH STEVENSON (os) Mr. Cavanaugh. They turn, startled. CAVANAUGH (shoving the camera back to Stevie) Hey, coach. COACH STEVENSON You thinking about joining the AV club? CAVANAUGH Um, yeah we were just talking to Stevie about it. COACH STEVENSON Yeah, well if you want to play this weekend, you'll talk to him after class. He takes the camera from him. CAVANAUGH Sure, Coach. Later, Stevie. They leave. Stevie and Coach watch them go. COACH STEVENSON Kid's a punk, just like his brother. Hell of a ball player, but a punk nonetheless. They give you any trouble, let me know. STEVIE Thanks, Coach. COACH STEVENSON Hey, Stevie, I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to do some recruiting videos and I thought maybe you could help me. I tried using a camcorder but I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Whaddya say. I'll talk to the staff and see if I can get you an elective credit. STEVIE Sure, Coach. COACH STEVENSON Good. Don't let those guys bother you, Son. Stick with it. STEVIE I will. EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY The guys are all there, on one knee around the coach. Terry has just finished telling Liam about their decision. LIAM If that's what you guys want, yeah, we'll pick it up. But if I commit, you guys have to. I'm not gonna give any more than you. You give me more, I'll give it right back. TERRY We're ready, Coach. You show us where to go and we'll get us there. LIAM Ok, let's get started. They all sprint out onto the field. Jack stands for a moment and watches, smiling then follows. THE WHISTLE BLOWS Bodies slam the ground... splashing mud. The scrums are more violent, more urgent. The intensity is palpable. Liam, shows them plays. Moves. He's out there, in the mix, like a retired racehorse back on the track. He feels the magic of it. He's in the scrimmage, he's got moves. He's tackled to the ground, gets up... He stands there, covered in mud, takes a deep breath in through his nose. As the sun begins to set behind the bare trees, we see them there, on the wide expanse of the field playing until darkness... EXT. HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD - NIGHT The field is top of the line everything. Professional quality lights make the field as bright as day. The PA is loud and clear, the scoreboard new. The stands filled. Stevie, bundled in a winter coat and hat is on the sidelines with his camera. We watch through his lense, from a low angle as Cavanaugh comes barrelling by with the ball, breaking tackles and running it in for a touchdown. After the play, he runs over to Stevie who fixes his glasses. CAVANAUGH You get that, Spielberg? STEVIE I got it. Cavanaugh keeps running. EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - NIGHT The team packs up after practice. Jack and Berto sit on the bench, changing their shoes. JACK Who was that guy the other night at the Grape? That big guy you said not to worry about? BERTO Gerard Keene. He's a goon. JACK A goon? BERTO Yeah, a guy they send out to put someone out of commission. JACK Its legal? BERTO If he's good at it, he can do it legal. And he is. But he sucks at playing so they only bring him in when they need someone taken out. He and Terry are from the same hometown, used to be friends. But our freshman year, he took out Terry's knee in a game. Had to have four surgeries to fix it. They're not really friends anymore. Jack looks at his shoes, thinks. JACK No, I guess not. EXT. ROAD - DUSK Jack rides his bike along the road when his chain breaks. He stops, kneels down to look. JACK Damn. He starts to walk his bike. POV Liam's Truck. In the headlights Liam sees Jack walking. He pulls over. LIAM Forget the training wheels? JACK Chain broke. LIAM Throw it in the back, I'll run you home. Jack does. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT The pickup pulls into the driveway. Samantha steps out of the house, her hand shielding her eyes from the headlights as she tries to figure out who it is. She sees the bike in the back and hurries down the drive. INT. TRUCK - NIGHT Jack starts to get out. JACK Oh shit, there's my Mom. LIAM ‘Oh shit there's my mom'? Why ‘oh, shit'. JACK You'll see. Samantha approaches the truck. SAMANTHA Are you alright? What happened? She looks him over as he talks. JACK I'm fine. My chain broke. Coach gave me a ride home. She looks past Jack to Liam. JACK (CONT'D) Mom, this is my coach Liam Dalton. LIAM Hello, nice to meet you. SAMANTHA So, you're the one doing this to him. LIAM Well, um, I ah.. JACK She's just giving you shit. She doesn't mean it. SAMANTHA Jack. JACK Sorry. SAMANTHA Well, get in the house, dinner is on the table. Jack gets out of the truck. JACK Thanks Coach. LIAM Anytime. SAMANTHA You know, we have plenty, if you'd like to stay. LIAM Oh, I don't think- JACK You don't want to turn down mom's cooking, she's not very forgiving. SAMANTHA Jack! JACK Sorry. LIAM Well, in that case, sure, I'd be happy to. SAMANTHA Great, I think we have some things to discuss. He suddenly wonders if this is a good idea as he gets out of the truck. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT Liam walks around the truck. He is dirty, still in his practice clothes. They all start to walk up to the house. LIAM Sorry, I'm not really dressed for dinner. SAMANTHA A son and a fireman husband; if you're dressed for dinner, you're dressed for dinner. He smiles. LIAM So, you understand, I don't actually give him those bruises, myself. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT Dinner is finished. They sit around the table. Samantha pours coffee for Liam and herself. JACK Well, I'm gonna take a shower if it's alright with everyone. SAMANTHA (looking him over) Please. He walks out of the kitchen. Samantha and Liam sit for a moment. LIAM Well, that was the best meal I've had in a long time. SAMANTHA Glad you liked it. The recipe was for Duck L'orange but I think it works with chicken. LIAM Absolutely. Awkward silence. SAMANTHA Such a nice night. Should we have coffee out on the porch? Liam smiles. LIAM That would be nice. They take their cups and walk to the door. INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT Jack gets ready to take a shower. He carefully takes his clothes off, revealing bloody cuts and scrapes over arms and legs. He hears something, he goes to the window and through the sounds of the night he hears LAUGHTER coming from the porch. His mother's laughter.He smiles to himself. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE PORCH - NIGHT Samantha wipes tears as she laughs. Liam laughs also. SAMANTHA Ohh, it's so true. (catches her breath) I haven't laughed like that in a long time. LIAM Me neither. He looks out over the yard. Pauses. LIAM (CONT'D) You got a nice place here. SAMANTHA Oh, thanks. Yeah, we got it just after Jack was born. LIAM We. SAMANTHA My husband and I. LIAM Oh. Uncomfortable silence. Liam changes the subject. LIAM (CONT'D) So, the team looks like- SAMANTHA He died in a fire. Liam stops. LIAM I'm sorry. SAMANTHA It was an old warehouse. Abandoned. Captain called for them to evacuate but the third floor collapsed before they could get out. He just listens quietly. SAMANTHA (CONT'D) It's been eight years. LIAM Doesn't seem like it, does it? She looks at him surprised that he understands. SAMANTHA No. He nods, sits back in the chair, looks across the yard. There is a pile of wood dumped in the backyard. LIAM You'd think they would dump it closer to the house. SAMANTHA Wouldn't you? They look at each other and laugh again. INT. CAFETERIA - DAY Jack and Stevie sit and have lunch. Stevie opens three bottles of prescription pills and takes two from each. He takes a bite of his sandwich. STEVIE Maybe I'll just take off to Hollywood after graduation. Whaddya think? JACK I think you should. Stop wasting your time on this recruiting tape bullshit. STEVIE I know, you're right but I just want to finish a film, y'know? Just to see it done. And who knows? Maybe somebody will like it. I could be the Roger Corman of recruiting videos. (beat) Anyway, I just see this as the first step. JACK To what? STEVIE To seeing those words up there on the screen some day, y'know. "A Stevie Abromowitz film". JACK Stevie, we all know that is going to happen. Hell, we've known it since you were four, running around with that plastic movie camera. Listen, we've been best friends as long as I can remember so I feel like I can tell you this. If you let an asshole like Cavanaugh walk all over you, it will never stop, everyone will, for the rest of your life. Stevie thinks about what he's saying. EXT. AN OPEN FIELD - DAY A banner reads, Springfield Autumn Tournament. Several teams practice on the field. A white van pulls up and stops. Our team gets out. The stand tall, they are ready, confident. Somehow, they look like better players before even stepping onto the field. EXT. SIGN IN BOOTH - DAY Liam steps up. Williams stands next to him. WOMAN Team name? LIAM Nichols College. WOMAN Just Nichols College? LIAM (he looks back at the team) Oh, no, ah, the Nichols College.. WILLIAMS All-blacks. Liam looks at him, surprised, smiles. LIAM Guess we got a New Zealand fan on the team.. the All-Blacks it is. EXT. SIDELINES - DAY Before the first game of the tournament, the whole team, except Jack who stands unaware, approaches Liam. TERRY Coach, we need to talk to you. Um, listen we've talked it over and we decided the only way we can start this season is if Jack plays. Jack turns. Liam stands, thinking about it. LIAM Well, it would've been better if you told me that before the two hour drive but, Ok, yeah, I agree. It may mean we get D.Q.'d from a lot of matches. JACK I don't think- TERRY Shut up, Jack. I'm the captain of this team. JACK OK. TERRY (to Liam) It's ok, we don't care. REFEREE (os) Teams to the center of the field. EXT. FIELD CENTER - DAY Liam, Terry and Billy stand with the REF and the COACH and CAPTAINS of the other team. They shake hands. REFEREE Questions? LIAM Listen guys, we have a situation. There's this kid on our team. A senior...in high school. We won't play without him, he's part of the team. COACH Which one is he? LIAM (pointing) That one there. The coach looks at the Captains. COACH Whaddya think? CAPTAIN#1 I sure as shit am not backing down from a high school kid. COACH That's what I was thinking. REFEREE He can play as long as you don't object. Once you accept, you cannot change your mind, the game is legit. COACH That's fine. Sure, we'll play you, the kid's in. They shake hands. LIAM Thanks, good luck. EXT. HUDDLE - DAY The whole team is on one knee, listening to Liam. LIAM (to Jack) You're in. You'll sub in with Berto. BERTO Thank Christ, there was no way I was going this whole game. Jack can't hold back a smile. The team pats him on the back. Everything is coming together. They take a knee. LIAM OK, now this is really where we start. You guys are good enough to beat anyone at this tournament. It's just a matter of wanting it. Look at those guys. They think you're weak, you got a high school kid on your team for crissake. This riles the team. LIAM (CONT'D) I guess they're right. The team is fired up. LIAM (CONT'D) Are they right?! TEAM NO! LIAM Get out there! The all charge out onto the field. EXT. GAME - DAY The team plays together. Shots of the tournament. Center meetings and each team agreeing. Jack playing well, scoring. Team winning games. Players from the other team congratulating Jack and the rest of them. After the tournament, a YOUNG REPORTER carrying a camera approaches. He says something to Liam, takes a few things down in his notebook and then Liam points to Jack. The reporter comes over to him. REPORTER Jack? Jack Trumbull? JACK Yeah? REPORTER The high school kid, right? Mind if I ask you a few questions for the Chronicle? JACK Um, no. Not at all. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT Jack gets out of the white van. JACK See you guys on Monday. He walks toward the house. LIAM Hey Jack! He turns. LIAM (CONT'D) Nice job today. JACK Thanks coach. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT Jack takes his cleats off at the door. He walks through the dark house as quietly as he can. He walks into the.. LIVING ROOM Blue light comes from the static TV. On the couch, Samantha sleeps huddled under blankets, a glass of wine on the table. Cigarettes in the ashtray. A box of Kleenex on the table, one balled up in her fist. Jack goes to the TV. He sees a tape sticking out of the VCR. It is the same wedding video. He clicks the TV off. The room goes silent. Samantha wakes. SAMANTHA Jack? JACK Hi, Mom. Just got home. SAMANTHA What time is it? JACK Eleven thirty. SAMANTHA How'd the game go? JACK Great. We came in fourth place. He sits on the couch next to her. JACK (CONT'D) And Mom, they let me play. She sits up a little. She turns on a dim lamp next to the couch. SAMANTHA Really? That's fantastic, Jack. They sit in silence. She looks at the wine and the Kleenex. JACK How was your night? She fights tears. SAMANTHA It was good, I just..I ah, watched some TV. There was a good show... on this guy who.... She starts to break down. She buries her head in Jack's shoulder. JACK I know, Mom. I know. I miss him, too. After a moment, she sits up. She laughs a little. SAMANTHA Look at me. It's your big day and I'm a mess. I'm sorry, honey. JACK It's ok. SAMANTHA So tell me about your game. JACK Don't you want to go to bed? SAMANTHA No, my son's a star player. I want to hear about it. He smiles. JACK OK....Well, after the tournament was over this reporter comes up.... SAMANTHA To you? JACK Yeah. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT We see the small house, dark except for the orange glow from one window. INT. COLLEGE LIBRARY - NIGHT COLLEGE STUDENTS sit at tables and on couches. Some with computers, others wearing Walkmen. Jack sits at a table, writing in his notebook, a copy of Hamlet open. He's just finishing up and closing his book when, suddenly, a large book drops with a BANG on the table. He's startled. Others look up. He looks at the book. CLOSE ON THE BOOK-The Basics of Billiards and Pool. He looks up to see Jessica, over her shoulder is a small, cylindrical nylon pack that holds a musical instrument of some sort. JESSICA I thought you could use it. JACK Hey. JESSICA Glad to see you made it out of there alive the other night. STUDENT#1 (os) Sssshhh. They look over at an annoyed STUDENT #1. JACK Oh, yeah I'm alright. STUDENT#1 SSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHH! JESSICA You want to get out of here and go get a drink? He smiles. JACK Sure. INT. DIZZY'S DINER - NIGHT It is an old fashioned, 50's style diner. They sit across from each other at a booth drinking chocolate milkshakes. 50's music PLAYS in the BG. JESSICA You don't seem like the rest of those guys. JACK Why? JESSICA I don't know you just seem different. Not so tough. JACK Thanks. Maybe it's the milkshake. JESSICA No, I just mean, well studying Hamlet and all. Actually, just studying.. JACK Well, you didn't seem like Minnesota Fats either but apparently- JESSICA (laughing) Ok, Ok. (changing the subject) So, I've never seen you around campus, except for tonight. JACK Yeah, my classes are on the south campus. JESSICA South Campus? He sips on his milkshake. JACK Some call it Webster High School. JESSICA You're in high school? Great. Tell me you're at least a senior. JACK Oh yeah. I am. JESSICA 18? JACK (hesitates) This is the eighteenth year of my life, yes. JESSICA (smiling) Oh my God. They both laugh. JESSICA (CONT'D) Ok, so you're a senior. JACK Yeah. JESSICA Know what you're doing next year? He looks at her. JACK I'm going to Britain to play rugby. JESSICA Really? JACK Yeah. He's waiting for her response. JACK (CONT'D) What do you think about that? Stupid right? JESSICA No, I think it's great. He's surprised. JACK You do? JESSICA Sure. I mean, I wish I'd have known what I wanted to do when I was a senior. I'm already a sophomore and I still don't have a clue. I spend more time playing this than studying or thinking about my future or whatever the hell it is my parents want me to be doing. JACK (motioning to the case) When can I come see you play? JESSICA You don't even know what I play. JACK Well, it's obviously an accordion. I love the accordion. She smiles. JESSICA It's a flute. And I have a concert next Friday at seven, at the College center auditorium. JACK Can I come? She sips on her milkshake, making him wait. JESSICA Sure. Another sip. He smiles. JESSICA (CONT'D) As long as you don't start any fights. I guess that would be alright. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY Samantha tapes a newspaper article with a picture of Jack onto the refrigerator. The headline reads High School Kid Breathes Life Into Nichols Rugby Samantha and Jack stand in the kitchen. Samantha is bursting with pride. SAMANTHA My baby..in the newspaper Close on the picture. We pull back to reveal we are now in the... INT. DINER - DAY Samantha has been reading the article to her coworkers and customers. They are all impressed and happy for her. She tapes it to the cash register. TEDDY Let's go girls, got hungry customers waiting. The women go back to work. When no one's looking, Teddy looks over the article. INT. THE ROBERTS' HOUSE - DAY The old couple from the diner sit at the breakfast table. Mr. Roberts reads the story about Jack. INT. HIGH SCHOOL BATHROOM - DAY The Principal sits in a stall, reading the same article. INT. AMHERST COLLEGE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT - DAY Brett Dodd looks over the same article. He talks to his assistant coach, PERCY STENGER, 32, who sits at his desk, reading Sports Illustrated. BRETT Who is this fuckin' kid? PERCY (not looking up) No idea, Coach. BRETT Well, apparently he's been running over everyone on the south shore. Percy closes the magazine, looks up. BRETT (CONT'D) Do me a favor, keep your eye on this team, especially this Jack Trumbull. Keep me posted. I don't think they'll do much but I don't need any surprises, not this year. PERCY Sure, coach. BRETT Good. PERCY Cause, y'know I have nothing else to do. Its not like I have three kids and a wife. Its not like- BRETT Well, maybe you should resign and go back to paying tuition for Amherst night school? Percy just looks at him. INT. MR. FOURNIER'S OFFICE - DAY Once again, CLOSE on the article. This time on Fournier's desk. Jack sits across from him. MR. FOURNIER That's great, Jack, just, wow..that's.. He looks to Jack. He can see he wants to hear some good news. MR. FOURNIER (CONT'D) I'm doing everything I can, Jack but so far it doesn't look good. These schools simply don't come to the States to look. Jack nods. MR. FOURNIER (CONT'D) I'm sorry. (beat) You know, there's still time to send out applications. Is there anywhere else you might want to go? Jack pauses. JACK When I was a kid, maybe six or seven, my dad took me to see an exhibition game in Foxboro. Scotland's National team against the London Irish. It was the most exhilarating day of my life. I knew right there that's what I wanted to do. I've always felt out of place. Like I know there's something happening that I want to be a part of and I can't get there. Now, I feel like I can get there, that I'm close. There's a chance, I know it but if I let up at all, if I apply to other schools, it's like admitting that it might not be possible. I can't do that. I made a promise to you, I sent the ones you wanted me to but now I just have to believe. Mr. Fournier just sits in his chair, trying to understand. MR. FOURNIER That's a hell of a risk. Jack doesn't care. INT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL CAFETERIA - DAY Stevie and Jack have lunch. Stevie opens a bottle of prescription pills and takes a couple. CAVANAUGH (os) Hey, Spielberg! They turn to see Cavanaugh. CAVANAUGH (CONT'D) Hey, I got the dates that I need to get those tapes in by. Coach wants to see you before the end of lunch. STEVIE Yeah, Ok. I better get over there, then. See ya , Jack. JACK See ya, Stevie. CAVANAUGH (sitting down) Hey, Jack. JACK Chris. CAVANAUGH (watching Stevie walk away) What's up with that kid? I mean he is pu ny. What'd he start smoking when he was like nine or something? JACK (evenly) No, developed a heart condition when he was seven. Medication stunted his growth. Cavanaugh is embarrassed but tries not to show it. Changing the subject. CAVANAUGH Haven't seen you at the games this year. JACK Yeah, I've had my own games. Cavanaugh shakes his head. CAVANAUGH What the hell happened to you, Man? JACK What? CAVANAUGH In junior high, you were the best fullback in the league. No one could block for me like you. If you stuck with it, you coulda been something. JACK That was a long time ago. A long silence, awkward. CAVANAUGH Y'know, I got this picture. Had it for years, framed and everything. Me and you, probably eight years old, playing football in my backyard. I used to look at that picture and I could see us, all of us, starting for Webster High Varsity. When my brother was sent away , when my dad left? That picture, that dream got me through. And just when we were about to finally get there, you just quit. You sold out the whole team, and for what? Some bullshit sport no one gives a fuck about. (beat) I haven't looked at that picture since. (thinking) I'll have to find that thing. You can have it. Maybe it'll help you remember who you used to be. The BELL rings. Cavanaugh gets up, looks at Jack like he's a failure. CAVANAUGH (CONT'D) See you around, Trumbull. He walks away. INT. AV LAB - EVENING Light flickers on Stevie's face and glasses as he watches the footage he shot and prepares to edit it. EXT. COLLEGE CENTER AUDITORIUM - NIGHT Jack, dressed in sportcoat and khakis walks up the stairs among nicely dressed CONCERTGOERS. INT. COLLEGE CENTER AUDITORIUM - NIGHT Jack sits in the audience, program in hand. The orchestra plays something by Handel. Suddenly, the music trails off to silence and the stage goes black except for one spotlight that falls on Jessica as she begins her solo. Jack is entranced when he sees her. She wears a long, slim black dress. Her hair, slightly curled, falls over her shoulders. As she plays, the silver flute shines in the light. The scene is luminous. The music from her tiny instrument fills the auditorium. He's in love. EXT. COLLEGE CENTER AUDITORIUM - NIGHT Jack and Jessica walk through campus. It is a mild night. She wears a long coat, elegant. JESSICA So you liked it? JACK It was amazing. JESSICA Thanks. It's better when everyone is playing at once, you can't hear me mess up. JACK No, no, your solo was the best part of the concert, really. She looks down, smiles. Nervous energy. She stops. JACK (CONT'D) What's wrong? She looks at him. He's confused. Suddenly, she leans in and kisses him, long and passionate. She pulls back softly and they look into each others eyes. JACK (CONT'D) I'm no expert but it just may have been the best music ever played. She laughs. JESSICA So, when can I come see you play? INT. ADMINISTRATION OFFICE - DAY Mr. Fournier walks through the office. TEACHERS and SECRETARIES rush around. A couple of HOODLUM students sit outside the principal's office. Fournier goes to his mailbox. Takes a stack of mail and thumbs through. One envelope catches his eye. He rips it open and reads quickly. MR. FOURNIER Ho-ly shit. The two Hoodlums look at him. He looks at them. Busted. He looks around. No one else heard. He turns to walk to his office. On his way by he casually leans down to them and says quietly. MR. FOURNIER (CONT'D) No one would believe you in a million years. And keeps walking. MR. FOURNIER (CONT'D) (to teacher) Hey, Jim, how are you today. He opens his door to his office and walks in. He turns back to the Hoodlums and gives them an evil eye before closing the door. INT. CORRIDOR - DAY Jack walks down an empty corridor. INT. MR. FOURNIER'S OFFICE - DAY Jack now sits facing Mr. Fournier. Mr. Fournier is even more excited than Jack. MR. FOURNIER Ok, here's the situation. Leed's University. They were impressed by your essay and your coach's recommendation. Now, they aren't willing to come here just for you but there is a kid on the Harvard team who wants to transfer and they are coming to see him play in the New England Tournament. You know that one? JACK Of course, yeah! It's the best in the Northeast. MR. FOURNIER Ok, they are going to be there. So basically, if you can get to that tournament, they said they will come and watch you play and consider you. JACK Ho-ly shit. MR. FOURNIER I know. JACK That's awesome, Mr. Fournier. That's great. Thank you. I gotta tell Coach. MR. FOURNIER No problem. Congratulations. Jack runs out the door. MR. FOURNIER (CONT'D) (to himself) That's what I'm here for. EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY The team kneels around Liam. LIAM What do you guys think? The New England Tournament. Nichols has never gotten there. Can this team? You guys told me you want to win. We got eight games left. Can we get this kid to the New England? Silence. Jack waits. BILLY Fuck yeah? WILLIAMS We'll get you there. One by one, the players agree. SERIES OF SHOTS The team practices Stevie shoots a football game... Rugby games... Bodies slamming the ground.. Headlines Nichols Rugby Wins Another Blood spurts from mouthguards... The team playing well..Jack scoring.. winning.. Trumbull Leads All-Blacks To Fourth Consecutive Drinking at different bars with the teams... Jessica at the games...Jack sees her in the crowd.. Samantha and the girls from work are there... Students Protest Team Name Samantha brings a cup of coffee to Liam.... Stevie on the sidelines getting some shots of Jack's games.... Percy spies on the games... takes notes... We see the kids who had been playing touch football, now standing on the sidelines... The crowds getting bigger.. EXT. COLLEGE QUAD - DAY The REFEREE fires a starters pistol into the air signalling the end of the game. The team comes off the field, war weary but happy, congratulating one another. LIAM Alright, bring it in, boys, take a knee. The team does. LIAM (CONT'D) Good game out there. We got two games left this season. We only have to win one of ‘em and we're in the New England tourney for the first time in the history of the club. The team WHOOPS and CHEERS. LIAM (CONT'D) Settle down, settle down. Like I said, we still got two games. The first game is against UCONN. They are a solid team but we've beaten better teams this season. The last game of the season is Amherst. They don't have a loss all season and they are the favorite going into the tourney. They embarrassed you in our first game of the year. And.... He looks over the team. LIAM (CONT'D) ..we can beat them. Y'know, before that game, you know what their coach told me? He said that my team would be ready to quit by halftime. And you know what, he was right...about that team....but that team doesn't exist anymore and what has taken its place is unshakable.. The team gets riled LIAM (CONT'D) undeniable... They get louder. LIAM (CONT'D) indestructible!! They stand cheering. LIAM (CONT'D) Get outta here! Four o clock on Monday. They walk away yelling. BILLY (to Teddy) And now? We party. EXT. FRATERNITY HOUSE - NIGHT There is a huge sign in front that says PIMP AND HOOKER There is a raging party going on. The front yard and house are packed with drunk COLLEGE KIDS. All the girls are dressed as HOOKERS; skimpy dresses, high boots, excessive make-up. The guys are PIMPS; big hats, long coats, gold chains and rings. INT. FRATERNITY HOUSE - NIGHT Berto and Boots stand, talking to some HOOKERS. Boots is dressed in a plain white robe with a gold cross on it, and a small, white hat. Berto wears a priest outfit. They have to yell over the crowd to speak to each other. HOOKER#1 What are you guys supposed to be? BOOTS I'm the Pope.. He leans in so they can hear. BOOTS (CONT'D) And he's my bitch.. Berto and Boots think its hilarious. Hooker#1 is offended. She turns and leaves. They watch her go when Hooker#2 moves in. HOOKER#2 I think it's sexy. THE FRONT YARD Leaning against the house, Jack is talking to Jessica. It is away from the crazy crowds, much quieter. He wears a white fuzzy hat, leopard print robe, gold chains. She wears hooker like Julia Roberts. She leans in, close to him, like she's going to kiss him. JESSICA So Huggy, where did you get your outfit? JACK Billy has an unusual amount of pimp clothes. Lent these threads to me. They laugh, kiss. JACK (CONT'D) You? JESSICA Oh, just some things I found in my closet. He smiles. JESSICA (CONT'D) You looked great out there today. JACK Oh yeah? Well, you look great right now. He playfully attacks her neck. She laughs. JESSICA I'm serious, you looked really good. Have you heard anything? From schools? JACK Just that one scout from Leeds coming to the tournament. JESSICA As soon as they see you play, they'll all be banging down your door. The kiss. CRASH They turn to see Billy, lying in the grass. He just came through the ground floor window. He shakes the glass from his pimp hat. SOUNDS from the party come from the broken window. BILLY (to self) Son of a.. He looks up at Jack and Jessica who look at him, waiting for an explanation. BILLY (CONT'D) Terry thinks he's so fuckin' funny. He gets up, dusts himself off. Goes to the window, opens the broken pane and climbs back through. BILLY (CONT'D) Alright, motherfucker. Jessica and Jack look at each other and laugh. EXT. STREET - NIGHT Jack walks Jessica home down a quiet, tree-lined street. JACK So, what about you? JESSICA What? JACK You ever think about music school? JESSICA Well, yeah. I mean, I did. When I was applying to schools, I wanted more than anything to go to Berklee. JACK In California? JESSICA No, no, Berklee School of Music in Boston. I went and auditioned and everything. I actually got in. JACK Really? JESSICA But that's all that was there, music. I mean, what would happen if I turned thirty and realized I didn't have it? Then where would I be? So my parents and I decided I would come here and study business. It was just too big a risk. JACK Wow. JESSICA What? JACK Nothing, it's just...well, I'd risk mediocrity for a chance at greatness any day. JESSICA Mediocrity? JACK Well,...yeah. He looks her in the eyes. JACK (CONT'D) Jess, when I heard you up there, I couldn't breathe. You were perfect. If you can do that for even one second, be perfect, then it means its possible and if its possible to reach perfection doing something you love, then anything else you do in your life can only be mediocre in comparison. Don't you think? JESSICA Perfection. And what is perfection for you, in your life what would it be? JACK Gareth Edwards. 1973 Barbarians against the All-Blacks. For thirty seconds of that game, there was perfection. She looks at him. JESSICA I don't have any idea what any of that means but it sounds pretty good. JACK It was. She smiles. She kisses him, long and passionate. JESSICA Was that mediocre? JACK No. JESSICA Perfection? JACK Almost, but I think we should keep working on it. She smiles. INT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL - DAY Stevie walks down the corridor. Cavanaugh catches up with him. CAVANAUGH Hey, Spielberg?! What's up with that tape. It needs to be done by Monday. STEVIE I know, I know. The whole thing is finished it's at my house. I just want to get some shots of this last game, y'know, some shots of you breaking the record. I'll edit them in. You can use it just as it is if you want, I could just go home and get it- CAVANAUGH No, no. That's a good idea, Spielberg. Just make sure it's done. STEVIE I never miss a deadline. CAVANAUGH Whatever, just make sure I have it on Monday. I'll see you later. He goes off down the hall. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DUSK The sky is winter purple as snow begins to fall. Jack and Liam load a wheelbarrow with wood from the woodpile to stack under the porch. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DUSK Samantha stands with a cup of coffee watching them through the window. She smiles. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DUSK Jack and Liam are moving the pile of wood closer to the house. Jack returns with the empty wheelbarrow. JACK So Coach, I've never heard any stories from your days on the Welsh team. LIAM They're mostly long stories. JACK It's a big pile. LIAM What do you want to hear? JACK How ‘bout your greatest victory. LIAM My greatest victory. Let's see. Well, there was this one year. I don't even remember what year it was. They all blend together now. At any rate, we had played tough all season and had only lost a couple of matches. It was our biggest tournament of the year. And we had made it to the final. This tourney was huge, especially for us. So, they were leading but a try would put us ahead. We were in Scotland and all of the sudden, this fog rolls in. It was surreal. Suddenly, you could barely see three feet in front of your face. Anyway, time was running down and we had one more shot. We moved up the field and as we got to the goalline, we just hit a brick wall, stopped cold. There were only a few seconds left when suddenly through the fog I see the ball, just hanging there, suspended, like it was on a wire. Next thing I knew I was face down on the ground, the ball at my fingertips. I had scored. I could see the line and see the ball but the refs couldn't see it through the fog. By the time they saw it, the chaos of bodies and... well, the ball was well short of the goalline. I was probably the only one who knew I had scored. I never told anyone. There was no way it would be reversed on my word and I figured it would be better if no one ever knew. But I knew we won. JACK So you actually lost your greatest victory. LIAM Ironic, huh? JACK Wouldn't that make it your greatest defeat? LIAM Oh, no, I have a long list of great defeats. Jack laughs. JACK Oh. LIAM I know it probably sounds shallow and pathetic but since the day I started playing this game, I've always wanted to carry off that trophy. That first place for a major tournament. Y'know, bringing it home, putting it on the mantle...I don't know. That was probably the worst part. Being so close. Jack listens, he understands. The wheelbarrow is full. JACK I think its your turn. LIAM Damn. Liam picks up the handles and wheels off. Jack stands and looks out over the yard. He closes his eyes and smells the air. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - EVENING Jack and Liam sit at the table. Samantha brings two cups to them and sets them down. JACK Mom makes the best hot chocolate. LIAM (looking at Samantha) I don't doubt it. She smiles. ON THE TABLE Is the Webster Chronicle. A headline reads, CAVANAUGH GOES FOR RECORD TOMORROW. SAMANTHA Are we going to the game tomorrow? JACK The guy's such a dick. SAMANTHA I'm sure, but the whole town's gonna be there, it'll be fun. And Stevie's going to be shooting it, you should be there for him. (beat) C'mon, Jack. JACK Fine. SAMANTHA Good. How about you, Liam? LIAM Sure, sounds like a good time. INT. STEVIE'S HOUSE - AFTERNOON Stevie bundles himself in a sweater, coat, hat gloves, wraps his camera in a scarf and puts it in his backpack. He sneaks down the stairs, and out the front door. EXT. STEVIE'S HOUSE - AFTERNOON There is fresh snow on the ground as Stevie walks down the sidewalk. We see his breath. EXT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD - AFTERNOON Everyone in the town is there to see Cavanaugh break the record. Jack, Liam and Samantha stand together in the stands. INT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD - AFTERNOON Stevie makes his way to the sidelines. He walks up to the Coach. COACH Hey Stevie. I thought the best place for you would be around the fifty. I got a spot for you. STEVIE Ok. INT. PA ANNOUNCER'S BOOTH - EVENING The sun goes down and the stadium lights come on as two cable access type ANNOUNCERS sit in the booth. ANNOUNCER#1 Unseasonably early snow should make this an interesting contest. ANNOUNCER#2 And one to remember as Chris Cavanaugh goes for the all time rushing record for Webster High. EXT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD - NIGHT Stevie sets up his camera. His breath condenses in the cold air. He brushes snow off the camera and puts it on a tripod. INT. PA ANNOUNCER'S BOOTH - NIGHT The two Announcers drink coffee. ANNOUNCER#1 And here they come! EXT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD - NIGHT The team comes charging onto the field led by Cavanaugh. The crowd goes crazy. Stevie catches it all. THE TEAMS Are lined up. The other team kicks off. The RECEIVER catches it and returns it to the twenty yard line. THE OFFENSE Runs out onto the field. STEVIE Shoots the plays. The snow picks up. CAVANAUGH Runs people over, gaining yards. THE CROWD Stands up, cheers. STEVIE Brushes snow from his camera. Tightens his scarf, pulls his jacket closer. He takes off his gloves to fix adjust the lense. INT. PA ANNOUNCER'S BOOTH - DAY The two announcers are into the game. ANNOUNCER#1 Coming into the third quarter, Hawks lead 21 to 3. ANNOUNCER#2 That's right, but the real score is thirty nine. Chris Cavanaugh is thirty nine yards away from history. EXT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD - DAY Cavanaugh is tackled out of bounds. He lands near Stevie. CAVANAUGH (to Stevie) Shouldn't be long now. He runs back onto the field and flips the ball to the Ref. STEVIE adjusts the setting on the camera. He COUGHS as he looks through the lense. The SCOREBOARD Shows start of fourth quarter. Cavanaugh breaks tackles and is brought down. ANNOUNCER#1 And that's another six yard drive. ANNOUNCER#2 He's got seventeen to go and four minutes left. The crowd is LOUD with anticipation. STEVIE Adjusts the lense. Dark circles around his eyes. His red, bare hand shakes. He blinks his eyes to try to get his vision straight. He COUGHS. CAVANAUGH Drives for a few more yards. ANNOUNCER#1 That's a first down. First and 10 on the thirty. Stevie shivers. He's pale. He struggles to aim the camera and keep his eyes open. ANNOUNCER#2 Cavanaugh, breaks to the outside! Cavanaugh runs around the end and down the sideline. The crowd is deafening, on their feet as he sprints past. STEVIE Desperately tries to follow with his camera. CAVANAUGH Raises his hands as he runs into the endzone. ANNOUNCER#1 Touchdown! A new rushing record for Chris Cavanaugh! The team celebrates in the endzone. The stadium goes nuts. THROUGH THE LENSE The camera moves erratically before facing straight up at the black sky and bright lights. Snowflakes land and melt on the lense. FROM ABOVE We see Stevie's small form, lying in the snow, unconscious. The camera and tripod lay next to him. Coach Stevenson kneels next to him as others gather around. INT. HOSPITAL - DAY The DOCTOR talks to Stevie's parents, both of whom are shaken. Coach Stevenson and Cavanaugh stand listening. Mr. Abramowitz has his arm around his wife as they listen to the Doctor. Jack and Samantha come rushing down the hallway as the Doctor explains. DOCTOR He's stabilizing but it's still a critical situation. This weather combined with his existing weak condition... Mrs. Abramowitz sobs. SAMANTHA It's OK, Beth. It'll be OK DOCTOR ... look, his body just doesn't have the strength to overcome extreme elements. When it couldn't warm itself, it began shutting down to keep the heart warm and working. MR. ABRAMOWITZ So what are we looking at here, Doc? DOCTOR Fortunately, he's young and there were paramedics on site. We are expecting, after some time, that he should come through this alright. MR. ABRAMOWITZ Any long term affects? DOCTOR Its still very early but from what we can tell right now, no. MRS. ABRAMOWITZ Thank god. DOCTOR But we are still watching him closely. It will take some time. His parents hug each other and cry. DOCTOR (CONT'D) I think the best thing for you to do is just go home. MRS. ABRAMOWITZ I can't. I just can't. MR. ABRAMOWITZ We can't leave him. (beat) Damn. MRS. ABRAMOWITZ What is it? MR. ABRAMOWITZ I left the front door open and the TV on. JACK I'll go back. CAVANAUGH No. Jack, you should be here. Let me go. I'll go lock up for you and turn off the TV. I should be getting back anyway. MR. ABRAMOWITZ Would you? That would be great, thanks. It locks from the inside so you don't need the keys. Thanks Chris. CAVANAUGH No problem, I'll go right now. He goes down the hall. MR. ABRAMOWITZ Hey Chris! He turns. MR. ABRAMOWITZ (CONT'D) Congratulations. On the new record. Whole town's proud of you. CAVANAUGH Thanks, Mr. Abramowitz. Coach watches him go. EXT. ABRAMOWITZ HOUSE - NIGHT Cavanaugh pulls up to the house in his pick up truck. He walks through the snow up to the front door. The front door is wide open. We can hear the TV in the house. He walks in. INT. ABRAMOWITZ HOUSE - NIGHT It looks like they dropped everything and ran out. He looks around...walks over to the TV and shuts it off. It is eerily quiet. He walks around the house. There is a staircase. He goes up... comes to a bedroom. Stevie's. INT. STEVIE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Movie posters adorn the walls. Braveheart, Casablanca, Citizen Kane. There are stacks of videotapes. Cavanaugh looks down the list. On top of the VCR are more tapes. He scans them...takes one from the stack, looks at it. Recruiting Video He looks around, puts it in his jacket and walks out. EXT. ABRAMOWITZ HOUSE - NIGHT Cavanaugh locks the door from the inside and closes it. Walks down to his car and pulls away. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT Jack and Samantha walk in. They look tired. The clock says 11:30. SAMANTHA You should get to bed, Hon. You got a big game tomorrow. JACK I don't know, maybe I shouldn't go. I should be at the hospital. SAMANTHA You know what I think? I think you should go to your game and for two hours forget about everything else and play. JACK Maybe this is all a mistake. Playing just doesn't seem so important right now. SAMANTHA Jack, its important to you. You should go. He listens, she's right. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - MORNING Samantha makes breakfast in her robe. The phone RINGS. SAMANTHA Hello? Beth, how is he? Jack comes into the kitchen, listening. Samantha smiles at him. SAMANTHA (CONT'D) Oh, thank God. That's great, yeah, I'll let him know. Ok, thanks, bye. She hangs up. SAMANTHA (CONT'D) He stabilized over night, they are going to keep him under for a few days but it looks like he's going to be fine. (beat) He should be able to have visitors on Wednesday. He looks at her and smiles. EXT. COLLEGE QUAD - DAY The sun is out and melts what's left of the snow that fell the day before. Jack approaches the team on the sidelines. JESSICA (os) Hey handsome. He turns. JACK Hey. JESSICA Are you OK? JACK Yeah, they say he's gonna be fine. JESSICA That's great, Jack. She hugs him. JESSICA (CONT'D) So, you gonna kick some ass today? JACK (thinks about it) If I have to. JESSICA Yes, you do. Good luck. She kisses him. He walks away toward the team. As he approaches, Liam walks up to meet him. LIAM How you doin'? JACK Be a lot better after we win today. Liam smiles. LIAM Alright, bring it in. Take a knee. They do. LIAM (CONT'D) We can end it right here. We win today, and we're in the tournament. You guys ready? TEAM YEAH! LIAM I said, ARE YOU READY! TEAM YEAH! THE BALL Gets kicked off by our team. WILLIAMS Receives it, he moves it up the field, pitches it off to BILLY who drives into another player, his legs drive as he throws a punch. He's brought down. TEDDY AND BOOTS drive the pile over the ball. WILLIAMS picks it up and pitches it off to JACK Sprints down the sideline. This is team work, grunt work as they drive the ball down the field. The other team is tough. Teddy gets an elbow in the mouth. Hardly notices. No holds barred in this game. INSIDE THE SCRUM Cleates into shins. Punches, elbows, headbutts, utter chaos. Somebody's fingers go into Billy's mouth, he bites them. Our team scores...scores... Percy lurks nearby, watching with a clipboard. Time winds down. Our team is leading comfortably. The game ends and our team celebrates. They congratulate each other, muddy, bloody, tired. They come to the sidelines. The two coaches cross the field to each other. UCONN COACH Great game, Coach. You done a hell of a job with that squad. LIAM Thanks, Coach. It was a hard fought battle. UCONN COACH Do me a favor. Kick the shit outta Brett Dodd's team in the New England. LIAM We'll do what we can. Thanks, coach. The UCONN COACH walks away. Liam stands alone on the field, savoring the moment. ON THE SIDELINES BERTO (looking at his bleeding fingers) Someone fuckin' bit me out there. Billy looks around guiltily. BILLY We goin' to the Grape to celebrate? JESSICA AND JACK stand together. She hugs him. JESSICA You were so good out there. She looks at him. JESSICA (CONT'D) Your mom should be home from work by now, you should go tell her. She's probably dying to hear. JACK Yeah, that's a good idea. Ok, I'll call you later? JESSICA You better. He kisses her, goes over and picks up his bike. He rides through town. He passes a field where the kids are playing with the football. This time, they are trying to copy what they saw on the rugby field. Pitching the ball off and tackling each other, no more touch. They stop and watch as Jack passes. We focus on ONE. Confident. He's the type who, at nine, you already know is going to be an athlete. Jack rides down the main street. People know him, he can't wipe the grin off his face. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY Jack rides into the driveway, throws his bike down. And runs into the house. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY The screen door SLAMS shut as he tears through the porch and into the kitchen where he's stopped cold.. Samantha sits at the kitchen table. Her eyes red. She's a nervous wreck. She doesn't look at Jack. Jack walks in slowly. JACK Mom? He's getting nervous. JACK (CONT'D) Mom? What is it? What's wrong? She doesn't look, its like she doesn't hear him. JACK (CONT'D) Mom! She turns. She doesn't want to say it. She looks at him. SAMANTHA (tears streaming) Stevie...died..this afternoon. He's confused. JACK What? But..but they said.. SAMANTHA It was sudden cardiac.... his heart just collapsed or something. Oh God, I don't know. They said it happened too fast- JACK No...no, that can't be right. She gets up. She comes to him. He doesn't want to hear it. He backs up. SAMANTHA Jack. He turns and takes off out the front door. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY Jack sprints off the stairs and across the yard still carrying the ball. He grabs his bike and peddles off. Samantha comes out on the front stairs. SAMANTHA Jack! She watches him go. EXT. PATH - AFTERNOON Jack rides fast down a path we haven't seen before... Through the woods.... He comes to an old football field.. goalposts stand like relics rising from tall weeds, casting long afternoon shadows....the ground is a mixture of tall grass and bare dirt.. He rides his bike right onto the field, throws it down.. He stands there, in the middle of the field as if waiting for an answer.. He looks around.. After a moment, his frustration overcomes him. JACK Aahhhhhhhhhhhhh! He kicks the ball hard and high. It lands and disappears in the grass. He's in a fog... walks to goalpost, looks up at it from the base, into the bright blue sky. He begins to calm down. He walks over to where the ball landed... kicks the grass until he finds it. He looks down at it. He sits down next to it. Picks it up, looks at it. Looks around. He doesn't know what to do. He looks down at the brown dirt, takes a handful and holds it up to his nose, breathes in deeply, exhales and breaks down. The sun starts to set. Down the dirt road comes LIAM'S PICK-UP TRUCK. He pulls up and gets out. He sees Jack sitting in the middle of the field. Liam walks slowly over. Jack doesn't move. He knows who it is. He stands over him. LIAM Your Mom said you might be here. Jack doesn't say anything. LIAM (CONT'D) I'm sorry, Jack. Nothing. Liam sits down next to him. LIAM (CONT'D) She's worried about you. JACK She always is. LIAM (smiles) Yeah, I guess you're right. (beat) My mom used to walk me to school everyday until I was fourteen. Jack looks at him. JACK Fourteen? What, was she afraid you'd be kidnapped or something? LIAM Nah. (beat) Afraid I wouldn't go to school. Jack nods. He looks out over the field. Pauses. JACK My dad used to take me here when I was a kid. This is where he taught me to play. His team used to play here. The ‘Webster Fire Department Lions'. Liam smiles slightly. JACK (CONT'D) He could've played professional. He met my mom when she was on a year abroad in London. When she called him and told him she was pregnant, he just moved here and married her. He gave up everything. She quit school. (beat) They gave up everything, for me. Every now and then, he'd get a newsclipping from one of his old teammates or there would be a game on...you could see it in his face, he wanted so badly to be there. Not that he wasn't happy or that he didn't love us because he did, just that he wished sometimes that things were different, that he was there, y'know. LIAM Yeah, I do. They sit in silence for a moment. JACK Coach, how did you end up here, in Webster? He hesitates. Looks down, pulls at the grass. LIAM One night, after a big loss, I went out, got piss drunk, got in a fight, almost killed a guy. Almost got killed myself. I woke up in the hospital to divorce papers. Coaches weren't too happy about it either and since I was past my prime, they thought it would be good time for them to let me go. So I figured I needed a fresh start. And since America is the world capital of fresh starts, I signed the divorce papers, went to London and got on the first flight to the US which happened to be Boston. Of course, after about a week, I realized city life was not for me. I bought a car for six hundred dollars and just started driving. I remember that day. It was spring and I had the windows down and I was just driving along, happy as could be and that's when I smelled it, the thawing pastures. It was home. Home away from home. I pulled in and never left. That was five years ago. (looks out over the field) Doesn't seem like it. He looks at Jack. Jack is looking down at the ball. LIAM (CONT'D) People die, Jack. People leave us. People let us down. Its awful but its real. Its how we deal with it that makes us who we are. Anyone can be gracious in victory, in good times. But it's the truly great ones who walk off the field in defeat, just grateful for the challenge. JACK I shoulda been there. I was going to the hospital but I went to the game instead. LIAM Your mom said he never even woke up. JACK But I shoulda been there. What if he did, maybe he did for a second. Maybe- (he can't hold the tears) GODDAMMIT! He picks up his bike and tries to leave. Liam grabs him. LIAM You're not a kid, Jack. You can't run away from this. Your mother is worried sick. He calms his voice. Looks at him like a friend. LIAM (CONT'D) Go home, let her know you're alright. Jack looks at Liam. He knows he's right. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT Samantha is on the phone when Jack enters. She sees him. SAMANTHA He's home, I'll talk to you later. She hangs up. He stands in the doorway still a mess from his game, dirt streaked down his cheeks from crying. She looks at him for a moment and then rushes to him, throws her arms around him and squeezes. He hugs her back. JACK I'm sorry, mom. SAMANTHA Me too, Honey. Me too. (beat) It'll be ok, Jack. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT The early evening light over the house is a light blue fading up to the black sky. INT. CLASSROOM - MORNING It is homeroom, first thing in the morning. The room is loud with conversation before the teacher comes in. Cavanaugh is there, accepting congratulations from admiring STUDENTS. The door opens and the TEACHER comes in. He's an older man, meek, carrying a briefcase. He walks to his desk, the weight of the world on his shoulders. TEACHER Please take your seats. They don't hear him. TEACHER (CONT'D) TAKE YOUR SEATS! The class turns, startled at the uncharacteristic shout. They sit. Cavanaugh still whispers to the STUDENT next to him about the game. TEACHER (CONT'D) I've just received some upsetting news. It seems your classmate, Steven Abramowitz, passed away yesterday of complications of a heart condition. The class GASPS. Cavanaugh whips his head around. CAVANAUGH What did he say? STUDENT#1 Stevie Abramowitz died. Cavanaugh is shocked by the news. EXT. CEMETARY - DAY It is raining. Jack stands with Samantha on one side and Jessica on the other. There is a large CROWD of mourners at the funeral. Stevie's father holds his mother who is a wreck. Among the faces in the crowd are Liam, Mr. Fournier, Mr. Meeker, Coach Stevenson... INT. CAVANAUGH'S BEDROOM - NIGHT The room has sports heroes on the walls and trophies of every kind all around. Cavanaugh is visibly shaken. He looks over the tape marked RECRUITING VIDEO. He puts it into the VCR and sits down on the edge of the bed to watch. INT. JACK'S ROOM - NIGHT He looks through old pictures of him and Stevie. Young kids having fun, playing baseball, swimming. He then finds a picture of him with his father. His father is wearing a rugby uniform, has just finished a game. Jack is on his shoulders. He puts the pictures away, picks up a book and sits on his bed. INT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL - DAY Jack stands outside Mr. Fournier's office. He is about to knock but stops himself. He looks at the door, then walks away. LATER The BELL rings for the end of the day. Students file out of classrooms. Jack goes to his locker, looks in. He takes out his cleats, looks them over...then puts them back. He can't bring himself to go to practice. EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY The team is all there. LIAM Alright, let's go. Get out there. The team walks out. Liam looks out across the field for any sign of Jack. Nothing. EXT. NICHOLS COLLEGE LIBRARY - DAY Jack walks up the steps, backpack slung over his back. INT. NICHOLS COLLEGE LIBRARY - DAY Jack sits at a table, reading. He fidgets in his seat. He looks around. He can't sit still. JACK Damn. He gets up, grabs his bag and rushes out of the library. INT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL - DAY Jack's locker opens and he grabs his cleats. EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - AFTERNOON The team stops and watches as Jack makes his way over. Liam walks over to meet him. LIAM Wasn't sure I'd see you today. JACK I wasn't sure myself. LIAM You up to this? JACK I don't know. Liam understands. They walk onto the field together. INT. BRETT'S OFFICE - DAY Percy stands while Brett sits behind his desk. Brett seems anxious. PERCY We could just object to him playing. He is in high school. We object. Take him out of the mix- BRETT Yeah, and everyone knows I'm the coward who wouldn't go against the high school kid. No thanks, but if you come up with any other brilliant plans, let me know. Percy pouts. BRETT (CONT'D) Regardless of what happens tomorrow, they are already in the tourney. We'll probably see them again. You got the camcorder? I want a tape of the whole game so we can shut ‘em down when it counts. EXT. COLLEGE QUAD - DAY Game day. The team gets ready to play on our side of the field. The familiar red shirts of the Amherst team loom on the other. Keene sits on the bench, leering across the field. Terry watches him. Boots sees it. BOOTS (to Terry) That guy steps one foot on that field and I promise you, he won't walk off under his own power. ON OUR SIDE Liam gives the pre-game pep talk to the guys. LIAM If anyone thinks this game doesn't count, that we're already in the tournament no matter what, so it doesn't matter? You are dead wrong. This is the most important match of the season. If we beat ‘em today, we send a message to every team in the league that we are a team not to be fucked with. We win today and we get in their heads and I promise you, we will crush them in the New England. But if we lay down, if we decide this match doesn't matter, then we're just another team with a lucky run on an easy schedule who couldn't hang with the big boys. They embarrassed you and they're dying to do it again, right now. Think about that when you're out there. The team hangs on his every word. REFEREE (os) Teams on the field! LIAM Alright, this is it. TAKE IT TO ‘EM! The team charges on the field. Liam grabs Jack. LIAM (CONT'D) Forget about everything. Play your game, you'll do fine. Jack looks at him. Nods. ON THE FIELD The ball is kicked off to our team. BILLY receives it. He runs over an Amherst PLAYER. He's tackled, hits the ground and releases the ball. A melee of bodies fight for the ball. The ball pops out from the pile into the hands of an Amherst player. He takes off down the field, chased by Jack and Billy. They take him down. ON THE SIDELINE Percy moves along the sideline with the camcorder, trying to be stealth as he tapes the game. ON THE FIELD Our guys slowly move the ball upfield. The game is an all out brawl. Fighting for every foot of ground. Another scrum when the ball is tossed out to Teddy, he lumbers toward the goal, two men on him. His legs don't stop moving and he SCORES. LIAM is pumped. BRETT is infuriated. He YELLS at his team. SHOTS OF THE GAME AMHERST scores.. JACK moving up the field.. JACK scoring.. FACES getting hit...hitting the ground.. EYES getting clawed... AMHERST scores.. The WHISTLE BLOWS... ON OUR SIDELINE- LIAM talks to the guys. LIAM (CONT'D) Ok, great first half, we're only down one try. Everyone's doing their jobs. Keep it up, one more half and we'll own the tourney. SECOND HALF The action on both sides is more desperate as both teams vie for field position. JACK is fully immersed in the game. He's focused. He catches a pitch from Billy and fights off tackles as his legs pump and he drives down the field. BILLY scores. AMHERST scores. TERRY scores. WILLIAMS scores. LIAM'S scorecard AMHERST 21 Nichols 23 Our team leads by less than a try. Jack has the ball. He runs up the sideline and is tackled out of bounds, knocking into PERCY who falls over the bench. Percy looks up at Jack with the camcorder and in a FLASH, Jack sees STEVIE looking up at him with his camera. He stands, stunned, dazed. The Ref grabs the ball from Jack. REFEREE Let's go, Son, back on the field. A minute forty-five left to play. Jack steps back onto the field, trying to shake it off but he can't. He's dizzy. BILLY (to team as they line up for the throw in) Keep it out of our end of the field and we win this game. If you get the ball, kick it out of our end. The ball is thrown into the pile of players. Amherst controls it, moves it up the field. Jack moves along mindlessly with the crowd. He sees Percy on the sidelines. He tries to clear his eyes. BRETT Keene! Keene perks up. He stands, ready to go out. Amherst gains ground. PERCY Wait! Keene stands on the sidelines. Our guys are doing everything they can to stop them. Finally, yards from the goal, they are stopped and there is a scrum. Jack stands nearby. Some Amherst players break from the scrum as Billy comes out with the ball. BILLY JACK! Billy pitches the ball to Jack, barely getting it off. Jack looks, the ball sails to him. He is standing virtually alone. He catches it and stands for a moment, confused. Brett glares at Percy. BILLY (CONT'D) Kick it out! Kick it out! AMHERST players rush toward him. He finally tries to kick the ball but it is too late, he's swarmed. He falls to the ground. The BALL slides through the mud. An AMHERST player picks it up. Our team watches hopelessly out of reach as AMHERST scores to win the game. BRETT (to Percy) You're lucky. JACK sits up in the mud, not even sure what just happened. OUR TEAM drops their heads in exhausted defeat. AMHERST celebrates. ON THE AMHERST SIDE BRETT (CONT'D) So, the high school hero choked. ON OUR SIDE Liam is disappointed. ON THE FIELD All the players get to their feet. Jack sits in the middle of the field. Billy and Williams get him to his feet and they all walk off. ON THE SIDELINE Jack comes off the field. The team is down, none more than Jack. BERTO Its alright, Jack. Don't worry about it. JACK Thanks. I'll see ya, guys. I gotta get home. He picks up his bike. He walks it off across the field. Liam goes after him. LIAM Hey! Jack keeps walking. LIAM (CONT'D) Hey, Jack! He slows down but keeps moving. Liam catches up. LIAM (CONT'D) Hey, it's alright, Kid. We'll get ‘em in the tournament. JACK I'm not going. LIAM Whaddya mean? JACK I'm done, Coach. LIAM What? JACK I'm no good to you guys right now. LIAM We can't win without you. JACK You would've won today. LIAM I never took you for a quitter, Jack. Jack stops. He looks at Liam. JACK You know what, Coach? You picked the wrong town. LIAM What? JACK You should've just kept driving, ‘cause now you're stuck here. It won't let you leave. And if you try, it will kill you. Like it did to Stevie and my dad. LIAM What are you talking about? JACK My dad was going to meet with the owners of the London Irish. I was old enough and he was young enough and there was a spot for him. He got a call. He was going. My mom doesn't know I know but he told me one night. He wanted to make sure it was o.k. with me. I was nine. And three days before he was supposed to go, he got the call to that goddamn empty warehouse. LIAM Jack. JACK You picked the wrong town. They stand for a moment. JACK (CONT'D) Good luck with the tournament. He walks away. INT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL - DAY Jack stands outside Mr. Fournier's office. This time, he KNOCKS. INT. MR. FOURNIER'S OFFICE - DAY Jack sits across from him. MR. FOURNIER Sure, there's still time to get the applications in. They'd have to be in the mail by the end of the week. JACK Ok. MR. FOURNIER Are you sure that's what you want to do. Jack hesitates. JACK Yeah, I'm sure. MR. FOURNIER Ok. (hands him four manila envelopes) There's an application in each one. Just fill ‘em out, seal them up and I'll send them for you. Just bring ‘em back by Friday. JACK Ok. Thanks. MR. FOURNIER Sure. Jack gets up to leave. On his way out he turns. JACK Thanks for all your help, Mr. Fournier. MR. FOURNIER That's what I'm here for. JACK Can you let the recruiter know that I'm not going to the tournament. Mr. Fournier is disappointed to hear that. MR. FOURNIER Yeah. Sure. JACK Thanks. He leaves. EXT. WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL - DAY Jack walks down the stairs, stops when he hears. JESSICA (os) Hey. He turns to see her. He doesn't want to right now. JACK Hey. She's been waiting for him. JESSICA Where've you been? I've been calling your house- JACK Yeah, I know..I- JESSICA I spoke to Terry. Said you quit. JACK Well, its a little more complicated than that. JESSICA Is it? Jack's starting to get pissed. JACK Yeah. JESSICA Man, you almost had me fooled. JACK What? JESSICA All your talk about being perfect. About following your dreams. You almost had me. JACK You don't understand- She looks at him. JESSICA No, I guess I don't. He looks at her, frustrated, angry. JESSICA (CONT'D) Don't worry. After a while, mediocrity isn't so bad. There's plenty of company. He stands there and watches as she turns and walks away. INT. JACK'S ROOM - DAY Jack folds up his rugby shirt. He puts it, along with his cleates, and the ball in a box, closes it and puts it in his closet. SERIES OF SHOTS Jack in class. He's just a regular High School Kid. He's alone. He looks over the applications at home. The team practices without him. Eating dinner with his mom. She's worried about him. NICHOLS RUGBY HEADS TO NEW ENGLAND TOURNEY comes off the printing press. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY Jack works in the backyard, raking leaves. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY Samantha does the dishes. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY Jack picks up the rake and notices the head is loose. He looks down to see the screw is missing. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY She hears the door open. JACK (os) Mom, I'm goin' up the hardware store, you need anything? SAMANTHA No, thanks. JACK Ok, be back in a while. SAMANTHA Ok. EXT. STREET - DAY Jack rides his bike along the backroads of the town. INT. JAMESON'S HARDWARE STORE - DAY A bell DINGS as Jack enters the small store. The owner, MR. JAMESON an older man stands behind the counter. Jack looks through the drawers of screws until he finds what he's looking for. He goes to the counter. MR. JAMESON Hey, Jack. How're you doin'? JACK Doin' alright. How ‘bout you, Mr. Jameson? MR. JAMESON Can't complain. He pays for the screw. JACK Well, see you later, thanks. MR. JAMESON See you, Jack. And good luck this weekend. Jack looks at him. MR. JAMESON (CONT'D) At the tournament. Jack is flustered. He doesn't know what to say. He stammers. JACK Um..well..yeah, actually..I ah, He can't bring himself to tell him he quit. JACK (CONT'D) Thanks, Mr. Jameson. I'll see you later. He walks out. EXT. JAMESON'S HARDWARE STORE - DAY As Jack walks out, a man, MR. THOMES, 40, is walking in. MR. THOMES Hey, Jack. Kick some ass this weekend, Buddy. Jack, turns as Mr. Thomes continues into the store. JACK (to self) Thanks. EXT. STREET - DAY Jack rides down past the field where the kids play. They are all wearing old Polo type shirts, having a great time tackling each other, they seem to have learned a little more. As Jack comes riding toward the field, the one KID that we focused on before, sees him coming and stops playing. He walks to the edge of the field. He hesitates. KID (barely enough nerve) Hey, Jack! Jack looks, rides over and stops. Four of the kids come over. Four others stand on the field, waiting for the game to continue. KID (CONT'D) Hey, um, what time is the first game on Saturday? JACK What? KID At the New England, what time should we be there for the first game? Jack is confused. JACK You're going? The kids laugh at the question. KID Yeah. He can't believe what he's hearing. JACK Its a two hour drive. KID#2 My dad is taking the day off from work. He's drivin' us all up there to see you guys play. Jack is blown away. Stunned silence. KID#1 So what time should we get there? JACK Um,...noon. The first game is at noon. KID#3 (os) Hey, Cavanaugh! Let's go! Jack looks at him. JACK Cavanaugh? You Chris' kid brother? KID#4 (os) MATT! C'mon, I gotta go soon! He nods, almost embarrassed. MATT We'll see you up there, Jack. The three turn and run back onto the field. He stands for a minute and watches. EXT. STREET - DAY He rides through town. As he goes, different people on the street wave to him as he passes, more and more of them wish him luck. INT. JACK'S ROOM - DAY Jack sits on his bed, looking over the applications. INT. MR. FOURNIER'S OFFICE - DAY Jack sits across from Mr. Fournier. He hands the manila envelopes to him. He's disheartened to see Jack there. But he has a job to do. Mr. Fournier looks the envelopes over. He sees that they are not sealed. He slides one of the applications out. Looks at it. He looks at Jack. JACK Thought you might want them back. I'm not going to use them. Mr. Fournier is happy to hear it. MR. FOURNIER So, what are you going to do? JACK Go to practice. (beat) I don't suppose you called that recruiter, yet. MR. FOURNIER Call me an optimist. Jack smiles. EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY Dressed in his practice gear, Jack walks confidently, strongly, across the field to the team. The team stops. We focus on the FACES of Terry..Berto...Williams..Boots... Billy..as Jack walks toward them. They welcome him back with pats on the back as they get back to work. INT. AMHERST LOCKER ROOM- DAY The team sits in front of a small cart with a TV and VCR. Brett stands next to it. He stops the tape. Keene sits in the corner, quiet, angry. BRETT We were lucky to win that game. I don't know what happened to that kid but I'm not planning on it happening again. Amherst has won this tournament ten out of the twelve years I've been here. This is it, my last year and I am not leaving ten and three, especially with a loss to some half ass country school club led by a high school kid. Their game is simple and we will shut it down. If we have to practice from now till game time, we will shut it down. Back out on the field. The team files out. BRETT (CONT'D) Keene! Hold on a minute. He steps out of line and goes to his coach. BRETT (CONT'D) You good for this tournament? Keene knows what he means. KEENE Yeah, I'm good. BRETT Good. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY The white van pulls up. Jack walks out of the house with Samantha. Liam is driving. Jack opens the door to get in. TEAM Hi, Mrs. Trumbull. She smiles. SAMANTHA Hi, boys. (to Jack) Good luck, Honey. I wish I could be there but I have to work either today or tomorrow. JACK It's ok. Today's just the preliminary rounds. If we make it through these, tomorrow will be the big day, if not, you won't have missed anything. SAMANTHA Ok. Jack climbs into the van. Samantha and Liam exchange subtle glances. She mouths "good luck" silently, no one notices but him, he smiles. Jack closes the door and they pull away. Samantha stands in the driveway and waves. EXT. MASS TURNPIKE - DAY The van rolls along through the November foliage. Jack looks out the window. EXT. ATHLETIC FIELD- DEERFIELD ACADEMY - DEERFIELD, MA- DAY The van pulls onto the grounds of the prestigious [rep school. A banner reads WELCOME NEW ENGLAND RUGGERS. They pull into the parking lot before the huge grounds where teams warm up in clusters of blue, green, yellow, red... The van parks. The guys get out and look out at the scene with awe. They all start to walk toward the field.. LIAM Hold up a sec, guys. He goes to the back of the van and opens the door. There is a cardboard box in the back. LIAM (CONT'D) I thought if we're gonna make an impression as the All-Blacks we're gonna need these. He opens the box, revealing the brand new black uniforms with bright white letters. The team looks at each other like kids on Christmas, they all start pulling off their clothes right there in the parking lot. ON THE FIELD The team strides single file across the field, instant badasses. Liam approaches the registration booth. REGISTRAR Name? LIAM Nichols College All-Blacks. There are a few looks from other players in the line when they hear the name. They know who they are. IN THE PARKING LOT Another VAN parks. The door slides open and the AMHERST team steps out. Game faces. Confident. Ready for battle. Brett gets out of the passenger side. Percy, the driver's side. They look over the field of competitors. BRETT Let's get this party started. He walks away leaving Percy standing there. PERCY (to himself) ‘Get this party started'? He shakes his head. PERCY (CONT'D) Idiot. He follows. EXT. GAME FIELD - DAY The team gets ready for their first game. They are on one knee before Liam. He looks them over. LIAM You guys know what to do. You're ready. Finish it. Jack scans the sidelines. Liam notices. LIAM (CONT'D) (to Jack) Don't worry. He'll be here. MOMENTS LATER Just as Jack is ready to walk onto the field, he sees the four kids from Webster, standing with the FATHER of one of them. One of them is Matt Cavanaugh. They wait anxiously for the game to start. The WHISTLE blows... THE BALL sails across a bright blue sky... SHOTS OF.. High powered play... Fast.. Tackles are hard... Our team scores... Jack playing with everything he has.. FLASHES OF team jersey colors... Tournament card as they make their way through... Blood..Mud.. Muscles strain... Brett accepting victories without satisfaction.. Preoccupied by Nichols' success... Jack looks at the sidelines for the recruiter... Nothing.. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - NIGHT Jack stands in the kitchen. He's still muddy, fresh cuts on his face. He's upset, he holds the phone to his ear. JACK He didn't show. Pause. Samantha enters from work. She sees he's upset and listens. JACK (CONT'D) We have to win our first game tomorrow just to get into the semis. Any reason why you didn't tell me that? Pause JACK (CONT'D) Right, right, optimist, got it. Ok, well a little reality won't kill me. Alright, I'll see you then. Thanks. He hangs up. Jack turns to his mother and starts before she can say anything.. JACK (CONT'D) I guess the scout doesn't come for preliminary rounds, only semi-finals and finals. He wants to see how players perform under pressure. SAMANTHA So he'll be there tomorrow? JACK Yeah, he's coming up from New York in the morning. Mr. Fournier's coming, too. SAMANTHA So, if you're playing tomorrow, I guess you did well today. Jack snaps out of it. JACK Oh, yeah. If we win our first game tomorrow, we'll be in the semis. SAMANTHA That's great. JACK If we don't, this has all been for nothing. SAMANTHA You will. Jack nods quietly. Pauses. Doesn't look at her. JACK So, any messages for me? She hesitates. SAMANTHA No. (beat) I'm sorry, Honey. He stands for a moment. JACK It's ok. (beat) Well, I'm gonna take a shower and get to bed. He exits, leaving Samantha standing there. INT. OLD TOWNE TAVERN - NIGHT Percy and Brett have a drink and discuss. BRETT I can't worry about this Trumbull kid right now. I mean, we should get by WPI no problem but then we're most likely looking at Harvard in the semis. They got that All American line backer turned scrum half with more tries than half of this field combined. He sips his whisky. BRETT (CONT'D) Make sure Keene's ready. PERCY Keene? The team's playing well. You think we'll need him? BRETT I think we should have him ready. Percy doesn't like it but agrees. EXT. BILL'S BARBER SHOP - MORNING Several MEN sit and wait for BILL to finish with the CUSTOMER in the chair. They read the Webster Chronicle. CLOSE on the sports headline. NICHOLS RUGBY ADVANCES IN TOURNEY-FINAL ROUND TODAY EXT. ATHLETIC FIELD DEERFIELD ACADEMY- DAY Jack and the rest of the team warm-up with a practice on the field among the other teams. OFFICIALS put the names of the teams on the bracket board. Eight teams left. They put the card that reads Nichols College All-Blacks across the bracket from the Amherst card. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY Samantha stands in front of the bathroom mirror. She looks the best we've seen her. She puts on lipstick. She wants to impress someone. There is a KNOCK at the front door. She goes to it and opens it to see.. Jessica standing there, looking the best we've seen her. Samantha smiles. EXT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY They walk into the house together and the door closes. EXT. I-95 NEW YORK - DAY DEKLAN MATTHEWS, 37, the Leeds University scout, drives along in his mid-size rental car. He looks over at a dossier with the words Harvard University-John Cunicelli. EXT. ATHLETIC FIELD DEERFIELD ACADEMY- DAY The Harvard team practices. We focus on one huge, built All American player, JOHN CUNICELLI. INT. LOCKER ROOM - DAY The Amherst team sits, waiting for the tournament to start. In the corner, leaning against a locker is Keene, listening to a walkman, festering. EXT. MASS TURNPIKE - DAY Mr. Fournier drives along in an older Nissan Sentra. He picks up his cell phone and puts it in his shirt pocket. IN THE SUBARU Jessica and Samantha talk and laugh as they drive along. EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY Cars start to fill up the lot. FANS begin trickling onto the field. INT. LOCKER ROOM - DAY Percy enters. PERCY They're calling for teams on the field. Brett looks at the team. BRETT GET THE FUCK OUT THERE! They all charge out of the locker room, BANGING on the lockers as they go. Keene walks out last. He passes Brett and Percy. He throws one punch into a locker and continues on It leaves a dent. Percy and Brett look at it and then each other. EXT. ATHLETIC FIELD DEERFIELD ACADEMY- DAY The team is on one knee around Liam. LIAM Well, we just got a break. Evidently, almost the entire Maine team got food poisoning last night. They have to forfeit. So we get a bye into the semi. The team isn't very happy but they'll take it. LIAM (CONT'D) So go relax, it will be a while before we play. I'll be watching the other games to see what we're up against. You might want to do the same. EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY Samantha and Jessica park, check their appearances in the rear-view mirror and get out. They walk across the lot and onto the grass. They approach the team. SAMANTHA Did we miss it? JACK Hey, Mom. No, you're right on- He sees Jessica. She slows down. Walks to him. Samantha sees Liam. He's happy to see her. They smile at each other. Jessica and Jack stand silently for a moment. JESSICA I'm- JACK It's ok. You don't have to. You were right. She smiles, relieved. JESSICA I missed you. JACK Yeah, me too. MR. FOURNIER (os) Jack! He turns to see Mr. Fournier almost jogging to them. JACK Hey, Mr. Fournier. Is he here? MR. FOURNIER (out of breath) No. He's stuck in traffic. (beat) In Connecticut. JACK Connecticut! MR. FOURNIER I'm sorry. He said he might be here for the semis but probably not ‘till the finals. How long before the semi? JACK They have to give us at least two hours between matches. Jack's pissed but calms himself. MR. FOURNIER Ok, don't worry. It'll work out. LIAM I guess we'll just have to get into the final. Mr. Fournier smiles. SERIES OF SHOTS Berto and Boots watch Boston College and University of New Hampshire play... The four kids are there, this time with three fathers, Matt is with them...but alone at the same time... Samantha and Liam watch the Amherst game.. Jack and Jessica watch the Harvard game.. Mr. Fournier makes phone calls.. Traffic starts to move for Deklan Matthews, the scout. Amherst wins another, so does Harvard.. UNH beats BC... ON THE SIDELINES Team on one knee around Liam. LIAM (CONT'D) Ok, that puts us against UNH in the semi. Amherst has Harvard. LATER The team gets ready. They stand on the sidelines.. Jack is pumped. The UNH team is on the other side of the field, game faces all around. Liam talks to them as they stand. LIAM (CONT'D) This is where it counts fellas, this is the hard part. Get out there and keep doing what you been doing. Looks them over. LIAM (CONT'D) Only, do it better. REFEREE (os) Teams on the field. Both teams charge from the sidelines to the center. The whistle BLOWS A foot kicks the ball.. it bounces.. Billy scoops it up... Tackled... SHOTS OF THE GAME Liam scans the spectators.. Terry drives... Jack is tackled.. Berto...pitches to Williams... tackled.. Boots lumbers toward the goal.. scores.. The other team scores.. Jack looks at Mr. Fournier who shrugs helplessly.. THE AMHERST GAME Cunicelli running all over the team...scoring, unstoppable. Brett nods to Percy... Percy doesn't want to but he sends Keene into the game.. Play resumes..Keene is like a bull.. The ball is pitched to Cunicelli... Keene hits him head on.. slides his shoulder to Cunicelli's knee, grabs the back of his ankle and... POP!.. Cunicelli goes down, his leg bent at the wrong angle.. he writhes in pain. Percy looks on, knowing he was responsible... Brett is satisfied.. AT OUR GAME Samantha and Jessica watch the game... Billy gets an elbow in the mouth.. Berto lowers his shoulder into a player, knocking him back... Jack gets stepped on.. Jack scores.. He puts his hands up... The team celebrates on the field... THE AMHERST GAME An Amherst player runs, untouched to score the try. Amherst wins.. The OFFICIALS place the cards on the bracket. FINALS-AMHERST vs. NICHOLL'S ON THE SIDELINES Jack stands with the team. MATT (os) Hey, Jack. Jack turns to see the young Cavanaugh and his three friends. JACK Hey, Matt. MATT You guys are doing awesome out there. JACK Oh, thanks. One more to go. MR. FOURNIER (os) Jack. They turn. MR. FOURNIER (CONT'D) He's here. Liam overhears. MR. FOURNIER (CONT'D) He's waiting to speak to you in the AD's office. JACK Ok. Jack looks to the kids. JACK (CONT'D) Gotta go. MATT Good luck in the final. JACK Thanks. INT. HALLWAY - DAY Jack, Liam and Mr. Fournier walk down the linoleum corridor. INT. ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT OFFICE - DAY They walk in to see Deklan sitting at the desk, on his cell phone. He motions for them to come in and give him a second. INT. HALLWAY - DAY A PAIR OF SHOES comes into view. They walk down the hall. The sound of Deklan's VOICE comes from the office. The Shoes slow quietly and stop outside the door. INT. ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT OFFICE - DAY The three stand and wait for Deklan. DEKLAN (into phone) Yeah, I'll be on the early flight. That's fine. Cheers. He hangs up and looks at them. MR. FOURNIER Mr. Matthews, I'm John Fournier, this is Jack Trumbull and his coach, Liam Dalton. Deklan stands and puts out his hand. DEKLAN Liam Dalton. They are all surprised that he knew his name. They shake hands. DEKLAN (CONT'D) When I was fifteen, I saw you play one of the greatest matches I've ever seen. In Scotland, in the fog. They said you lost but I couldn't believe it. Liam laughs uncomfortably. LIAM I didn't want to either. DEKLAN Deklan Matthews. It is a pleasure. LIAM All mine. Deklan, this is a player of mine. Wants to go to your school. Jack Trumbull. They shake hands. JACK Nice to meet you, sir. Deklan's face turns somber. DEKLAN Nice to meet you Jack, but there's a problem. You see, John Cunicelli just blew out his knee. They wait for an explanation. DEKLAN (CONT'D) He was our recruit. Without him, I can't stay. I have a flight from Boston leaving in three hours. It'll be at least two hours before the final. My hands are tied, it's the administration. I have to answer to them. You see, I've never even seen you play, Jack. I can't just spend the school's time and money on someone who I've never seen play. I'm sorry. JACK But Coach will tell you- DEKLAN I can't take his word or anyone's. It's not my call. I have to be on that plane. Liam and Mr. Fournier protest. DEKLAN (CONT'D) I'm sorry, gentlemen. Liam, it was an honor to meet you. They shake. LIAM He's good. DEKLAN I believe you but it's not enough. I'm sorry but I really have to go. Jack, good luck. John, it's been a pleasure. He walks out. The three stand in silence. EXT. HALLWAY - DAY Deklan walks out of the office and past the pair of Shoes. They turn and face down the hall behind Deklan. We move up from the shoes to see.... CAVANAUGH Hey! Deklan turns. INT. ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT OFFICE - DAY They all stand in front of a TV and VCR cart that has been wheeled into the office. They curiously watch as Cavanaugh slides a tape into the VCR. As it goes in, we see the label. RECRUITING VIDEO CLOSE on the screen as the tape plays. A STEVEN ABROMOWITZ PRODUCTION OF A STEVEN ABROMOWITZ FILM JACK TRUMBULL-HIGHLIGHTS The opening shot is of Jack, shot from a very low angle. We focus on the faces of all of them as the film plays. Jack, Cavanaugh, Mr. Fournier and Liam watch the film and Deklan. Deklan sits in his chair, watches for a few minutes. He looks at the three of them, no expression... Finally, he takes his cell phone from his pocket, presses a button and puts it to his ear. DEKLAN Hi, Grace. Yeah, listen, you better book me on that later flight, I have one more guy I gotta look at. They all smile. DEKLAN (CONT'D) Yeah, ok, thanks. He hangs up, looks at them and smiles. Jack looks at Cavanaugh. CAVANAUGH Kick some ass. JACK Thanks, I will. EXT. ATHLETIC FIELD - DAY Cavanaugh walks over to where the three Fathers stand with their sons and Matt. MATT (to Chris) Did you find him? Cavanaugh puts his arm around Matt's shoulder and looks out to the field. Matt looks up at him. CAVANAUGH Yeah, I did. The fathers look at him like he's a celebrity. FATHER#1 Hey, nice job on the record, Chris. CAVANAUGH Oh, thanks.. FATHER#2 Yeah, congratulations.. ON THE SIDELINES Jack stands with the rest of the team. Jessica is excited and nervous. She kisses him. JESSICA Good luck. The crowd is huge. We recognize a lot of faces from Webster. Jack stands next to Liam. JACK Is this tournament big enough? LIAM For what? JACK For your trophy. Does this count? LIAM This is the most important tournament I've ever been to. JACK We'll carry it home, Coach. Don't worry. TERRY (os) Hey, Coach! Brett wants to wish you luck before the game. IN THE CENTER OF THE FIELD Brett and his Captain stand with the OFFICIAL and Terry as Liam approaches. The Official, Terry and the Amherst Captain have long faces. LIAM Hey, Brett, good luck tod- OFFICIAL Liam. Amherst has objected to Jack playing. Liam is shocked. LIAM What? But they can't- OFFICIAL It's their right, before the game. He's in high school. Liam looks to Brett. LIAM You son of a- BRETT You're lucky they've let him play this long. This is too big. I can't take the chance. OFFICIAL (to Liam) You can play without him. Liam looks to the sidelines, sees Jack and Deklan. He thinks. Looks at Terry, who slowly shakes his head ‘no'. LIAM No. We'll forfeit this game right now, and the tournament, if you agree to play it out with Jack in. Save yourself the embarrassment of everyone knowing what a coward you are. No one will know a thing. Who knows? Maybe you'll even win. Either way, you walk away with that trophy...New England Tournament Champion. Brett likes the sound of that. He thinks about it. BRETT Alright. LIAM (to Official) Tim? OFFICIAL I'll agree to this only to keep a riot off my hands. Alright lets get to it. Liam comes off the field. The teams line up, opposite each other. They stare each other down. Like two armies across a battle field. The Official raises his arm and blows the WHISTLE. The ball is kicked off. The energy is explosive. The crowd is LOUD with every hit. Jack carries the ball.. legs driving... Every player in the game looks professional.. The hits are hard.. Faces slide through the mud.. Inside the scrum, players kick, stomp, throw punches.. Jack scores.. Brett is angry..looks over at Keene, who sits on the bench. Amherst drives.. Nichols kicks it out.. Amherst drives again.. breaks through... scores... BRETT (to players) I want you all over that Trumbull kid, shut him down. Terry bulls over Amherst players, is tackled hard... The Amherst team starts teaming up on Jack, shutting him down. Amherst scores again.. Jack is tied up.. Deklan takes notes.. He shakes his head.. The WHISTLE blows for the end of the first half. The team gathers around Liam. LIAM Alright, they got us by two tries. It's fine, play aggressive. Relentless. One more half. Liam sees Jack is frustrated. He goes to him. LIAM (CONT'D) This is it, one more half for the rest of your life. You can do this. Don't give up on me now. JACK I won't. He runs back on the field. Liam pulls Terry aside. LIAM Tell everyone to get them off Jack. This game is lost. We gotta let him show what he can do. Terry nods. Teams are lined up. Each player on our team looks at Terry, one by one and nods. They are all on the same page. The ball is kicked off for the second half.. Players from both teams take brutal shots.. Elbows to the face.. Fingers in the eyes.. Billy holds players off Jack.. Jack plays as hard as we've seen him.. Everyone takes shots for him... He scores.. Brett is infuriated... On the ground, cleats stomp on backs, legs and arms as the men try to protect their heads.. Close on Liam's board, Score 20-18 Amherst leads... Our team drives down the field.. Jack has the ball, is tackled. A cleat SCRAPES down the side of his head. He puts his hand over his ear as he stands in pain... Blood streams down his face... OFFICIAL Have that looked at, Son. He goes to the sidelines. He approaches Liam. Samantha and Jessica watch as he comes over. LIAM Let's see what we got. He takes his hand away to show that his ear hangs half torn from his head. It is all there, just not all attached. Samantha clutches her hand to her mouth, Jessica looks away. LIAM (CONT'D) That's not good, Jack. You need to have it stitched. JACK How much time is left? LIAM Four minutes and counting. JACK Can you tape it up for four minutes? Liam debates. LIAM Yeah...I can. He wraps a bandage around his head and tightly tapes it up. It looks like a headband that goes across his ear. SAMANTHA Is he crazy?! Are you?! LIAM Don't worry. I've seen it before. It's just cartilage. He'll be fine. Jack runs back onto the field. Brett sees him. He looks to Keene. Our team drives down the field. It's frantic..desperate.. We are close to the goal line, OFFICIAL TWO MINUTES! Driving. Berto tosses the ball to Billy. Billy lunges for the line... He's stopped... An Amherst player picks up the ball and kicks it out... The ball bounces all the way to the other goal.. Jack and the rest of the team sprint for it... Brett nods to Keene.. Keene runs out onto the field... Boots sees him... Jack gets to the ball.. picks it up... Waits as the rest of the team gets back... We see Jack's eyes through the mud and the cuts and the blood. Time seems to slow as the players charge down the field toward him.. He takes a step forward... Over the play, the sound of the crowd fades out and the familiar VOICE-OVER and CROWD from the tape of the ‘73 Barbarians/ All-Blacks game fades in... Billy gets back just as an Amherst player is about to deck Jack. He dishes it off.. Billy catches the pass from Jack... BRITISH ANNOUNCER (over the crowd) Kirkpatrick to Williams...this is great stuff.. He drives and gains more yards, Amherst players bearing down... BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown. He dishes it off to Terry who drives... BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) Brilliant! (announcer's voice rises) Oh, that's brilliant. He's tackled but flips it to Berto as he goes down.. BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) John..Williams, Pullin.. He gets it off to Boots.. BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) (louder like a race horse announcer) John Dawes! He fakes like he's going to pass it off but drives ahead.. BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) Great dummy! Then to Williams.. BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) David! Tom David! The half-way line! To Billy... BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) (screaming over the crowd) BRILLIANT BY QUINNELL! Billy is swarmed by Amherst players, it looks like the end of the play when... Billy desperately throws it up, it hangs until.. Jack comes streaking down the sideline... BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) This is GARETH EDWARDS! He sprints down the sidelines toward the goal. KEENE has gotten free and now bears down on him. Jack doesn't see him... Boots tries to get to him but is tied up.. Fifteen yards... Keene is nearly on top of Jack... when, in a virtual TRAIN WRECK, Keene is blind-sided, leveled, knocked unconscious. Jack never saw him. He dives, and slams the ball into the ground. BRITISH ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) WHAT A SCORE! The crowd erupts. Jack stands, exhausted but smiling as his team swarms him. Terry stands over Keene. Looks at him then goes to celebrate. Jessica and Samantha scream and hug. Liam smiles..laughs... Brett is pissed...throws his clipboard Matt cheers.. Cavanaugh pumps his fist... The team lifts Jack up. They come off the field. JACK (to Liam) Let's go get your trophy, Coach. Liam just looks at him and smiles. They look across the field to see Brett quietly accepting the trophy. JACK (CONT'D) But... LIAM It's ok, Jack. DEKLAN (os) Congratulations, Jack! Jack turns. DEKLAN (CONT'D) That was one hell of a game. I think it's safe to say we'll have a spot for you on the B side next fall. And I'm recommending you for a scholarship. If you're interested. Jack looks to Liam. LIAM (to Deklan) Hell yeah, he's interested. (to Jack) There'll be others. It's ok, this is more important. He wraps his arms around him and lifts him up. LIAM (CONT'D) You're going, kid, you're going! Jack smiles and laughs. Liam puts him down. Jack turns to see Jessica, she hugs him. JESSICA I'm so proud of you. They kiss. Samantha looks at Liam, he puts his arm around her and smiles. FADE OUT: INT. CAVANAUGH'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Chris goes to his closet, pulls a box from the top shelf and puts it on the bed. He looks through letters and pictures and pulls out a small frame. He turns it over and looks at a picture of two eight-year old KIDS playing football in a backyard. TITLE: FIVE YEARS LATER INT. BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA-BACKSTAGE - DAY PERFORMERS in tuxes and gowns pack up instruments after a performance. Among them, we see Jessica. Dressed in a long, sleek, elegant gown. She hurries to put away her flute and rushes out the door. INT. TRUMBULL HOUSE - DAY ClOSE on the gold face plate of a trophy. NICHOLS COLLEGE ALL-BLACKS 2004 NEW ENGLAND TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS We pull back to see that it sits on the mantle, along with three others. Samantha stands by the door with her coat on. SAMANTHA We're gonna be late. Liam comes into the kitchen buttoning his shirt, and putting on his coat. LIAM We won't be late. He kisses her. LIAM (CONT'D) I promise. She smiles EXT. ROUTE 1 - FOXBORO, MASS - LATE AFTERNOON Traffic moves into the Stadium parking lot as the sun goes down and lights come on. A sign reads Exhibition Match Today. INT. FOXBORO STADIUM - LATE AFTERNOON Samantha and Liam go through the turnstiles. ON THE OTHER SIDE Jessica enters. IN THE STANDS Samantha and Liam make their way to their seats. They find them, they are good, close to the field. JESSICA (os) Do you see him? They look to Jessica, she makes her way to them. SAMANTHA Not yet. IN THE TUNNEL We see Jack. In the full uniform of the British Lions professional rugby team. He's bigger, older but its him. Over the loudspeaker... ANNOUNCER Ladies and Gentlemen, THE BRITISH LIONS! They run onto the field. SAMANTHA Do you see him? Do you see him? They strain to look. Liam points. LIAM There. Jack is facing them, standing on the field with the rest of the team. They see him. Samantha leans into Liam, hugs him, her eyes tearing up. Jessica wipes tears from her eyes while trying to clap. Liam smiles. Close on Jack as he looks out over the crowd. He smiles. He made it. The End. FADE OUT:
Return to Simply Scripts