"Is there anything else?" Keller asked.
Stengel sensed that the cost of the ticket was a problem. "Look, Joe, I'll pay for the ticket," he said. "You don't have to pay me back. Call it a baby present. That is how important I think it is for you to be there."
"Hold on," Keller said. "I've got to talk to Demetrius first."
It was around 9 p.m. when Keller sat down with Demetrius in the hotel room they shared. "D, I need to know something," he said. "I need to know what you'd think if I went home to be with Violet."
"What?" Demetrius said. "You can't. You can't."
Keller stared at Demetrius, who was still three months shy of his 13th birthday. "Violet's gonna have the baby tomorrow," Keller said. "I can get there in time if I leave now. I will be back before the quarterfinals."
"But you can't. Who would coach the team?"
"Big Rome [Draper] and Tom."
"They don't know our team. They're not our coach. If you go, we don't have a chance."
Keller stood up and moved closer to Demetrius. The coach said softly, "We play the Capital Players tomorrow. They're terrible."