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Winning Point

By , Sterling, VA
The pressure was on me now, as usual, and we were three points down. Our team always tries to stay a couple of points behind so we have a better chance of winning. And we’re sure that the other team would be at the bottom of the pit if we won. So, this is why we went with this scheme. We’re not worried about not winning at the end, ‘cus if the ball is with me, which it mostly is, we get the winning point 99% of the time.


Anyways, I’m pretty fast, and my team was pretty good at blocking the opposing team, so I’m sure that won’t happen. You know, as long as Travis the Troublemaker doesn’t get exhausted and lets his player loose before I get to the basket. He’s a strong fellow for his skinny structure, but he gets tired easily. If that happens, it ain’t gonna be pretty. And that’s just what happened.


I was at the three point line and right when I was about to shoot a swish, I saw that Travis had let go of his player and I stopped in alarm. His player was pretty bulky, and as soon as it registered into my mind that the player had gotten loose, I was still in shock that Travis had held him off for this long, I realized that I still had the ball in my hand, but I realized a second too late. The player was a guy I knew who went to our enemy High School. We had gotten into a fight before, and I gave him a broken hand and he gave me a black eye, and I’m sure he was ready to get into a fight now. Anyhow I caught him running towards me a second too late and he got me right in the gut. And with that, time was up, and the game was over, us losing by two points.


As soon as the game ended, the colorful bleachers were mostly booing at the team’s loss, and I swear I could hear people from the top most rows on the farthest bleachers cussing and swearing at me, and the rest yelping that the other team had won. Just in case you’re wondering, our games are packed with plenty of friends of every player to cheer them on. A lot of players also bring their parents and grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles. Actually, there were mostly for our team. As our team was heading back to the showers, I felt blameworthy for what I had done. If only I had shot the basket, I told myself, if only. As we entered the shower areas, I braced myself to be on the other end of coaches howling.



But coach wasn’t just howling, he was screaming at the top of his lungs at me. There wasn’t a single soul in the room who wasn’t glaring at me with eyes as mad as his yelling. It was so rare that we lost at basketball, ‘cus basketball is one of not many things I did that didn’t bore me; and I was the best of the best on our team.


“Vat happened out zear? Zis routine alvays vorks ven ve screammage zuring practice! And vat happens ven ve get to za reel deel? You completely screw it up. Vat ees ze matter veet you? You are our most prized pozzession. You cannot just go of in your own little fairytale land and not pay attention to ze basket…” our coach yammered.


I couldn’t stand being yelled at like that. No one on our team liked to be yelled at and we didn’t like it when other people got yelled at for no reason, but everyone looked pretty mean, which we did if our players had messed up big time, so I guess I had messed up a lot. No one at home yelled at me at home ‘cus I was pretty well behaved and it’s a big relief. Kind of weird coming from a basketball player, huh? Well, it’s true.


Listening to the coach shout was like standing right in front of the percussion during a band performance playing for a million screaming fans with everyone being able to hear. It was complete torture. I couldn’t wait to get to my wonderful family that does not yell at me.


And that’s when Travis spoke up, which he doesn’t do on a daily basis. “Hey guys, it’s not Jake’s fault, it’s mine. If there’s anyone to be mad at, be mad at me. I’m the one who couldn’t hold that bulky guy for that long. I’m surprised that I held him off for as long as I did. So if there’s anyone to blame, it’s me. And I’m extremely sorry coach.”


“Uh is Travis, the world’s funniest and stupidest troublemaker, actually admitting his wrong doing for once in his life?” went through everyone’s head as they stared at him in shock, making sure that this was the Travis that they had always known and laughed at. Now coach would start yelling at Travis, as if he had never screamed at me. But, coach didn’t scream at Travis. Instead, he forgave him. I thought I was dreaming. Coach had never forgiven anyone when they tried to say sorry. It never had never even slipped his mouth. Not even by accident. Nothing. Nada.


And with that, we all went home in shock. As soon as I arrived at my house, my family rushed up to me with compliments. They were glad that I tried my best, but a bit disappointed at the loss. I’m glad that my family is an accepting family, unlike most players on my team who have parents that penalize them if they lose. I kinda feel sorry for them. Any ways, I learned a lesson from this game.


And with that, my life continued with my boring life at my old, boring school with my boring old friends.





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