"Football Is My Life Right Now"

9:58 AM, Oct 8, 2006   |    comments
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(Swansea) - For some, football is a game; for others, a passion. But tonight, for Andrew Wooten, it's a shelter from the pain. "As soon as I heard, I knew that day that I still was going to play football, because football is my life right now," says Wooten, a player for Airport High School. Last week, Andrew's mother, Darlene, watched her son from the stands. He says she never missed a game. But for this one, Andrew kept his eyes on the field. He couldn't bear to look at the place where she always was, and won't be anymore. "It's not the same," he says. "I knew my mom would not be in the stands. I know it's not the same." On Monday night, Darlene Wooten died unexpectedly. The next day, her son was back at practice. His teammates became his family, more than he ever thought possible. "I had an idea, but not to this extent," say Wooten. "Not to the extent that I know now." "We're just being there for him, and making him feel like nothing's going on," says Bryant Harrington, a teammate and friend. "Just being part of the team, being with everybody else." Harrington says he stayed at his friend's house every night this week. But the support came from the entire team, with every player wearing a black armband in memory of Darlene. Many of them went to his mother's funeral Friday morning. And Andrew--he just kept playing. "A lot of people told me I'm brave for doing that," he says. "A lot of people said they wouldn't be back for two weeks, or for the rest of the season. But that's just me. I mean, being around my teammates is being around my family. I feel more comfortable with them. "(My mom) is looking over me right now and she always will be--me, my brother, and my dad."

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