Joel could hear the puck hit the post, not going out but in, and after seven games, and 4 over time periods, the Flyers were defeated by the Seattle Kraken in the Stanley Cup Final. Joel sat on the bench, legs failing him. He couldn’t find the energy to get up, to console his team, like a captain should. Morgan laid a hand on his shoulder, jostling him from his thinking. Morgan helped him up, and over to the handshake line, where he shook hands until he reached the hand of the captain, Dylan Strome, whom he congratulated with a hug. The Flyers filed off the ice as soon as possible.
Once he reached the locker room, Joel felt the tense, suffocating anger of everyone of his teammates, and when he looked up, there were tears threatening to fall. He felt like he had to keep up appearances, so without much fanfare, he strolled to the middle of the room. “Boys, I know that this is tough, but we accomplished so much together, so don’t wallow by yourselves. Please. Cleanout is the morning we get into Philly.”
Joel quickly moved over to his stall, between the wall and Morgan’s. Morgan had tear stains on his cheeks and that was all Joel had to see to start crying. His A reached over and tugged Joel down into his stall, Joel sprawled across him, straddling him as he cried into Morgan’s neck. The rest of the guys had all gone and changed, ready to get on the plane back to Philadelphia and Joel was sobbing into Morgan, as all the emotions caught up with him. He could barely function.
Morgan got up, sliding Joel into his stall, and quickly changed into his suit. Joel felt like his chest was closing up, and felt the edge of another panic attack on its way. Morgan helped him to his feet, and slowly helped his captain undress, in an almost methodical way. Once Joel was finally dressed, Morgan stood by his side as they made their way out of the Kraken’s stupid arena, and to the bus waiting for them.
Morgan didn’t understand why Joel was hurting so much. There was so much that wasn’t adding up. Oh boy, was he in for a treat.