On September 4th, 2009, Maurice Fleming’s life changed forever.
That day stands alone for Fleming, and two years later he remembers one of his best friends and Curie Metropolitan HS teammates, Quaashi Chandler.
“Quaashi told me he wasn’t feeling too well, he was kind of sick before the game that day,” Fleming said of their match up against Bolingbrook two years ago. “But it was his senior year and the second game, and he wanted to play because it was the biggest game on the schedule.”
And the way Chandler played – will never be forgotten.
“In the fourth quarter we scored a touchdown,” Fleming said. “And we sat down on the bench he was kind of breathing hard.”
Fleming remembered solemnly, “And as soon as he got up his eyes rolled in the back of his head and he had an asthma attack.”
With the game nearly over, Fleming and the rest of the Curie Metropolitan HS community hurried to the hospital to support Chandler.
“It didn’t seem real, but it seemed like everybody was playing in a movie at that particular time,” Fleming said. “I thought he was okay I thought he was going to make it, and then all of a sudden you see all the people crying.”
Tragically, Chandler passed away because of a lung blockage – and for Fleming, his legacy will always live on.
“It was really hard, but we dedicated the whole season to him,” Fleming said. “We tried to win every game we could.”
He added, “It was just hard overall, it just seemed unreal. Like you were just waiting for him to pop back up and say what’s up.”
The Chicago natives were longtime friends, going all the way back to when they played Peewee football together.
“It all stared at Windy City football,” “I didn’t get to play with Quaashi for a long time because he was with the older group, but he would come to our practice and make us practice hard.”
And they continued to play together all the way through high school.
“In practice he was a team captain,” Fleming said. “He made sure everyone was working hard and he was our starting running back and getting looked at by a couple of college schools.”
And now, Chandler has become Fleming’s biggest motivation on the field.
“He passed away playing the sport he loved,” Fleming said. “I was really a basketball player, and I started playing football because of him and he motivates me every day.”
A motivation that the 2012 Iowa commit will carry with him for the rest of his life.
“I play the game for him and I will hold it down for him,” Fleming said. “I try to stay humble and focused and work hard, that was his goal and now that is my goal.”
And Fleming will continue to play the game for Chandler, as long as he can.