Midnight Pickup Game This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was a clear, black night with a full moon blazing overhead. There were nine familiar faces on the court that night, but one was new to me. He was about five-foot-two, with black hair and eyes. While we were warming up and fooling around, I realized that he was more than he appeared to be. He was a serious ball-player.

Within a few minutes, the game started. The teams always remained the same and were evenly matched. But the new kid tipped the scales. He wasn't a ball-hog or anything. He just captured everyone's attention. The other eight guys and I felt we could have just sat on the sidelines, watching him and the ball for the rest of the night.

By the end of the game, everyone was enamored of the new kid. In all the time we had played and all the games we won or lost without ever keeping score, this would be one that would stand out. We would not forget this game. He had brought all of us to a new level and made the game fun again.

Congratulations were always dispensed after a good game. Most of them went to our new colleague, along with an onslaught of questions. The most prevalent, "How old are you?" When the answer came, I don't remember many other times in my life that I had been as shocked. We had just been schooled by a nine-year-old!

When it was all over and curious minds had been satisfied, one of my good friends came up to me, asking "Now what're we gonna do?" To which I replied, "Looks like we're gonna have to make new teams." 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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