Football—just like life—can be a beautiful game.
The greatest game you can win is won within! Nineteen-year-old Jenna Lake tutors 20-year-old quarterback Kevin Smith in Christianity at Syracuse College in New York. Although Kevin is unsure of what he believes and takes the class to please his grandmother, he ends up finding more faith than he ever thought imaginable when he falls in love with Jenna, who quits as his tutor after she realizes that he cheats on a test. Only when Kevin apologizes in tears for cheating does Jenna trust him and permanently resigns as his tutor. The biggest touchdown that Kevin makes is when Jenna agrees to give him a real chance at love.
Practice winning every day! Jenna Lake, a 19-year-old sophomore at Syracuse College in New York, sits in the football wing of the college’s tutor department, trying to figure out how to help Kevin Smith, age 20, pass his Christianity class. She suggests that the first thing he needs is a Bible. She is paid $15 an hour, and there never seems to be enough time to teach the team’s quarterback everything he needs to know. Kevin grew up going to church because of his African American grandmother, and most of the time, he just goes along with religious talk. Unsure of what he actually believes, Kevin agrees to read the Bible to pass his class. He took the class to make his grandmother happy. So, if he skips church on Sunday, at least he can tell her that he took a class that had something to do with Jesus.
Each Tuesday night, Jenna rides the campus bus to the football fieldhouse for tutoring. Rain, sleet, snow, or hail—and there is lots of snow in the winter—she shows up with a smile. At least she is showing school spirit, she thinks, even if she is a tiny white girl who knows nothing about football. At the next tutor session, Kevin shows up late, asking if Jenna has a boyfriend, hoping that she does not study all the time. As Jenna takes a seat, she straightens her long dirty-blond hair and adjusts her glasses. Although she doesn’t wear a lot of makeup or trendy clothes, underneath her simple appearance, she is what her mother called a classic beauty. She tells him that he probably thinks she is a nerd. Kevin insists that she is pretty, and Jenna thinks that the Kevin is only flattering her. Now, all of a sudden, Kevin insists that he is a Christian, and his grandmother would like Jenna. He asks her to study over dinner tomorrow night. Then, he can take her back to her dorm. Jenna is stunned, asking him if this is a date. Kevin says that she needs to have more fun. Concerned that she could get fired from being a tutor, she tells him that his professor expects him to get an A on the next test, and if he fails the mid-term that his football coach will not let him play football. Kevin plans to pick her up at 7 o’clock outside the student center, and he will not be late.
When the next evening rolls around, Kevin picks Jenna up in his Range Rover. Thinking that she had given it her best to save Kevin’s grades, Jenna gives up. As the evening goes on, Kevin is not the only one who has forgotten about the exam. Jenna has so much fun that she wishes she could quit being Kevin’s tutor, so she did not have to be responsible for his failing grades. She plays one song after another on the jukebox and makes him dance with her until late into the night. At the end of the night, Kevin pulls up to the dorm, kissing her on the cheek goodnight. Next week at the tutor session, Kevin walks into the football wing with an “A plus” on his mid-term exam from Christianity. One of Kevin’s teammates walks past, saying that Kevin cheated by studying from last year’s exam. Jenna is so angry that she quits as Kevin’s tutor. When Jenna does not show up for tutoring for two weeks in a row, Kevin arrives at her dorm room unannounced. After she hears a knock on the door, she opens it to find Kevin standing in the hall in tears, promising to never cheat again. Kevin says that he prayed with his grandmother on the phone to have a brand-new start, and he has a tattoo of Philippians 4:13 to prove it. Jenna forgives him, and Kevin insists that they should never study together again. He says that she is beautiful and just wants to take her on a real date. He kisses her in the hall. Throughout all of Saturday’s football game, Jenna yells “Touchdown!” every time Kevin scores, which was several times in a row, including when he kisses her in front of the coach at the end of the beautiful game.
Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters