February 13, 2017
By , Washington, DC

My name is Cyrus and basketball is my life. I love it and have dedicated my life to it. I’m gonna be the greatest basketball player ever. Unfortunately, my plan isn’t going so well. It’s my 12th grade year and I’m still a benchwarmer for my school. I go to Silveredge High, a school that has one of the top basketball programs in the country. I was lucky enough to be living near the school and I have been going to this school ever since 9th grade. I was so excited to be able to play basketball for this school but that was not the case. My skills were not even close enough to play even though I made the team. I practiced day in and day out but Coach still won’t let me play. How am I supposed to be the greatest and not play a single minute of basketball?
My best friends are T.K. and Dante. Ever since middle school, we have been best friends. T.K. plays baseball and Dante plays football for Silveredge High. We meet all the time at the basketball court for lunch and they help me practice my skills while we talk about all our situations. We hang out all the time, even outside of schools. We meet up at the local park and just play sports with other teens. I don’t know what I would’ve done without those two.
  “Don’t worry about it, man. Just keep practicing and you’ll get there,” T.K. reassured me.
  I argued, “That’s easy for you to say. You guys are star players on your team and will be probably get scholarships from a bunch of colleges.”
  “We were fortunate enough to be blessed with skills but that doesn’t mean we didn’t to work to get where we are. If you work hard enough, you will be rewarded,” asserted Dante.
  “I guess so, I will never give up on my dream and I will be the greatest there ever was,” I yelled.
All of the other kids on the court stopped what they were doing and stared at me like I was crazy. T.K. and Dante started cracking up at my expense. I started chasing them with a basketball. The next day, I was in the gym building up my strength. I wasn’t a weak person. I was 6’3 and 180 pounds. I had an average build and had a vertical of 25 inches. That was average for a basketball player. As I finish my workout, Coach approached me.
  “What’s up, Coach?”
“We need to talk”
“About what?”
“Your position on the team”
  “Am I getting cut from the team? I’m sorry Coach, but I can’t accept that. I’m one of the hardest working players on the team. I love basketball. I can’t be cut from the team. Please Coach.”
  “You're not getting cut from the team. You’ll be coming off the bench for tomorrow's game. Make sure you’re ready to play.”
  “Thank you so much, Coach. You won’t regret it. I’ll score a bunch of points and gets a bunch of assists and dunk on like 10 people.”
  “Yeah, yeah, sure you will. Just make sure you don’t cost us the game.”
I was so happy. I’m was finally going to be able to show my skills. The next day, I’m in the locker room getting ready for my first game. We were playing the number one school in the state, Vandover High. T.K. and Dante weren’t busy today so they came watch me play. Man, I’m was nervous. The teams walked out onto the court and the game starts. Our team was off to a good start. In the start of the second quarter, Coach subbed me in. I was the point guard for the team. I brung the ball up and did a crossover. I went to the basket and I made a layup. The crowd was impressed. I continued to show off my skills until I got subbed out. I had 12 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds.
“That was pretty good for your first time. You keep playing like that and you’ll end up starting,” Coach told me with a smile on his face.
The game continued and but there was no separation between our team and Vandover High. The third quarter ended and Vandover High was leading by one point. Coach decided to put me in at the start of the fourth quarter. I don’t what happened to me but I was missing good shots. I had two turnovers in one minute. Coach subbed me. Vandover was gaining momentum and had a 15 point lead with 2 minutes left.
  “Cyrus. I’m going to put you back in the game. I’m counting on you to lead our team to victory,” Coach told me.
  “Yes sir.”
I had to focus. Coach was counting on me. The team was counting. The school was counting on me. I don’t even remember what happened in those last two minutes. I was lost in the world of basketball. According to everyone else, I played with an aggressive attitude. I didn’t hesitate and was completely focused on the game. I scored 13 points in 1:50 seconds. 10 seconds left in the game, I became aware of my surroundings again. The score was 60-58 and we were down 2. My teammate bring the ball up the court; 5 seconds left. He passed the ball to me and everything began to happen in slow motion. The player guarding jumped up and I faked the ball to get an open shot. 2 seconds left. I stared directly at the basket and shot it just as the buzzer sounded. The ball bounced off the rim, it’s over. But it wasn’t over, the ball bounced back into the basket. The crowd erupted and charged the court. My teammates carried me as everyone was celebrating the victory. It was the best feeling in the world, and that is when I knew I would be able to achieve my dreams.

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