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"I'm through with you," said Boobie.
"Then get your stuff out."
Boobie did just that, because nothing, not even his uncle, meant anything to him anymore.
"I miss him, but as time goes on, I'll learn to live with it," said L.V. "It kind of wears away, but it's somethin' you think about all the time. Boobie was just like my own."
To Hearne, what had happened to Boobie was strikingly clear. "He needed special, special, special attention, but he wasn't going to get it because he wasn't healthy," Hearne said. "He was expendable because we had a heck of a running back."
With Comer leading the way, Permian won four playoff games. But in the semifinals, on a bleak December day in Austin, the Panthers lost 14-9 to Carter High of Dallas, and the dream of goin' to state ended without being fulfilled.
For the last time Coach Gaines gathered the players into a circle. All around him, bent on one knee, were teenage boys in tears, their great, compelling belief in themselves punctured.
"I'm very proud of you as a person, I'm proud of you as a team," said Gaines.
Boobie never heard those words. Back in Odessa, hundreds of miles away, he sat in a car listening to the game over the radio.
It wasn't Norman or Fayetteville or College Station or Lincoln in the fall of 1989. Once Boobie had major knee surgery, he stopped receiving letters and Mail-grams from those places. But Ranger (Texas) Junior College offered him a scholarship and he accepted it.