Bear's football playing days were over when he stole a handgun from his father's gun case and took it to school. He was a member of a dysfunctional family. The family was always on the move to escape bad debts, etc. Their last move was to the north side of Lake Lemon. Bear's father was a strike breaker and spent most of his time in other states. His mother worked in a local bar and ran off with another man. As a result Bear was given the awesome responsibility of taking care of himself, his sister, and little brother, while his father was away from home for several days at a time. Bear wanted and desperately needed to be a part of the social life of the middle school students at Unionville School. The school was approximately three miles from his home as the crow flies. The school bus route doubled the distance. However, with the help of his mother, younger sister, and the loan of his friend's canoe, he was able to practice football after school. Bear's new found world came crashing down when he got into a fight at school and his father was contacted by the assistant principal.