The Gate

May 16, 2008
By Pete O'Daniel, Evansville, IN

I will always remember the day of February 20, 2006, or “my day in the NBA”. This day started out just like any other day. I woke up at half past eleven o’clock, quickly grabbed something to eat, then ran out the door to make my way to Evansville North High School basketball practice. Like usual, I was about thirty minutes late to practice as Coach Stippler yells out, “Pete, damnit, you’re late again, now stand their, watch what we’re doing, and I’ll get you in as soon as I can”. I didn’t feel like practicing today, because I was extremely tired. However, I didn’t have a choice. Sectionals were too close, and I had to get my game face on, so I practiced with my team until about two o’clock. When practice ended I sluggishly made my way back to my car after the horrendous practice. When I got home, my best friend Dave is shooting hoops in my backyard saying, “Pete, come shoot with me”. I quickly replied, “Are you crazy! We just had the hardest practice of our life dude. I’m gonna take a knap”. As I began to fall asleep I hear a loud banging on my window. To my surprise, it’s Dave throwing the basketball at my window, telling me to come out and play with him, so I decide to join him. We start to play a couple full court games of one on one when, out of no where, Dave says, “Dude! Do you hear that noise from your bushes,” and even though I did hear a very awkward noise I replied, “It’s probably just an animal or something”. Of course, Dave being the curious person that he is, quickly made his way to the bushes, as he tried to find out what the noise was. Then with an excited voice, Dave said, “Dude Pete, check it out man, it’s a gate”. I didn’t know what to think. I had been living in this house for seven years, but I had never seen this gate, so Dave dared me to go inside it. As I walked through the gate in my back yard, there is a huge basketball game going on, with nothing short of the greatest players in the game. When I first walk through the gate I vividly see Tracy McGrady throwing Kobe Bryant an Aly-Oop, Kobe slams it down for two points. Immediately after Kobe throws it down, he gets the ball back from a steal, but all of the sudden gets his shot blocked by LeBron James, the biggest player on the floor. LeBron speeds up the floor, crossing over Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson to get to the basket. When he arrives, he throws it off of the shot clock, goes in between the legs, right before he throws it down on rookie guard Chris Paul. The crowd is astonished, but even more astonished when LeBron asks me to jump in the game to take his place. I am nervous as hell as my palms profusely begin to sweat. Chris Paul tells me to relax, right before Shaq looks at me with a terrifying look saying, “You’re going down whitey”. This obviously didn’t help, but I shook it off, and got my game face on. As Dwight Howard inbounds the ball to me, I dribble up slowly, looking for any open players. When I see that the players are isolating the paint to allow me to crossover my western opponent, Allen Iverson, I get nervous because Iverson had been my favorite player from before I can remember, but I shake off the nervous sweat, and continue to make my way up the court. When I arrive in front of the scrawny, yet quicker than lightning, opponent I give him a quick juke to see if he goes for it. When I see that he does I quickly go between the legs, around the back, bursting to goal, to dunk on the back up defender, you may know as Shaquille O’Neal.
I dunked on him right before I woke up, and heard my mother saying, “You’re going to be thirty minutes late to basketball practice, again”.

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