When Lila Avers accepts a medical internship through Astor University in California for the fall semester of her senior year, she doesn’t expect much. In fact, she’d rather work on her tan and meet a surfer instead of logging long hours at the hospital and studying. But before she even boards her flight to LA, she meets Astor University wide receiver, Cade Wilkins.
Published: November 2015
When Lila Avers accepts a medical internship through Astor University in California for the fall semester of her senior year, she doesn’t expect much. In fact, she’d rather work on her tan and meet a surfer instead of logging long hours at the hospital and studying. But before she even boards her flight to LA, she meets Astor University wide receiver, Cade Wilkins. A football player. When Cade turns out to be so much more than just muscle, Lila is smitten. Maybe a semester away from her friends won’t be so bad after all.
Cade Wilkins is beyond ready for his last season at Astor. Already being scouted and projected as a NFL draft pick, he’s riding a natural high and all set to breeze through his senior year. To sweeten the start of the fall semester, he meets his dream girl at the airport on his way back to LA. Lila Avers, a blonde, blue-eyed angel. Could life get any better?
When Cade is sidelined by an unexpected injury, he’s devastated to learn of more serious health concerns. As his world implodes, Lila holds him together. But is she strong enough to see him through his recovery?
As their own insecurities and doubts emerge, their new, fragile relationship is tested. Can Cade and Lila handle the ugly truths of falling in love when tensions flare, boundaries are violated, and uncertainty looms over the future of their relationship?
The Athlete vs. Jock (Reality, Myth, Literature/Art):
Sports play a prevalent role in many books and movies today. Often times, there is the stereotypical “Jock” and the negative connotations associated with such a character. He’s a player, he’s conceited and cocky, he’s got a reputation – but girls love him anyway.
While writing The Last First Game, I wanted to include the role of an athlete – Cade Wilkins. While there are allusions to Cade being a bit stereotypical at times – his past with girls, his confidence – I think he’s much more representative of the positive qualities of a collegiate athlete. Playing any sport in college – particularly performing at the Division I level – is no easy feat. It requires a great deal of commitment, dedication, and sacrifice. It’s demanding, insists on discipline, and dictates the majority of your time, physical strength, and emotional fortitude.
Cade’s character is kind, empathetic, and caring. He commands respect from his teammates both on and off the field by portraying personality traits that fit in with his peers but also hold him to his own personal standards. As such, he is a strong leader.
I think it’s important to demonstrate that student athletes – particularly men in popular Division I sports – are more than just the jock stereotype. And while that stereotype may be attractive to some girls, or something other guys would like to emulate, true student athletes hold positions of great admiration and leadership on their college campuses. Often times, they use their popularity to provide support to others, to promote awareness for causes they feel strongly about, to involve their teams in worthy pursuits.
My aim for Cade’s character was to demonstrate that being a student athlete is hard work. But holding the athlete title also allows for increased responsibility to combat stereotypes, raise awareness about important issues, and influence positive change on campus. And still, this personality, the “Athlete” not the “Jock” can win over his dream girl!
About the author:
Gina Azzi loved every moment of college – especially her study abroad experiences, internships, and travel adventures! She drew on her college experiences to create the storylines for The Senior Semester Series.
Gina is a passionate reader, frequent globetrotter, and coffee enthusiast. She currently resides in Dubai with her husband Tony.
Gina loves meeting new people and would love to hear from you! Get in touch with her at:
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