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Game of the Season

It was the pre-game ritual. Mrs. Dewitt, our number one fan, made our team my favorite pasta dish. It was alfredo bow-tie pasta. Our team met in Mrs. Howard’s room as usual. We had the film of Grandville playing. We were all talking about what plays they run, how to defend them; figuring out strategies of how to beat them. Hess, number twenty two was their star. Ashlie was starting out guarding her and I was to switch with her every quarter. This made me nervous. She was about my height, 5’10” ish and could shoot three’s lights out; she didn’t miss. Ashlie was the best defender we had so I knew she would shut her down. I was worried how I would play when I was on her. Would she drive by me every time? Would she shoot right over my hand? Would she out rebound me? I needed to step up and shut her down too I thought.
I got home to my house and my mom made me my usual fruit salad with apples and bananas. I tried to just relax and watch some television but I couldn’t; I was too excited, my legs wouldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t stop moving. I went up in my room and started getting my jersey and warm ups on. I was getting focused and listening to pump up music. I had so many distractions running through my mind that I had to block out. Excitement was taking control of my thoughts but the music helped me focus. I always listened to “Till I Collapse” by Eminem and “I Made It” by Kevin Rudolf. As I was leaving my house my dad started giving me his pump up speech. His favorite quote was “You can only do what you can do.” He reassured me he was so proud of me and my team and even if we didn’t win he would still love and be proud of me. I reassured him that we were winning, and that we would cut down the nets after our game tonight.
During my car ride to the game I continued listening to pump up music and was also deep in thought. How could a team that didn’t win a conference game two years ago now be playing in a District Championship? It all came down to our work ethic. We had a coach that was in the gym every spare second, working us hard and teaching us new skills. He was the only one who truly believed we could ever be fighting for a District Championship; and now we were. I wanted to show myself, our team, our program, our student body, our community what West Ottawa Girls Basketball was all about.
In my three years of playing varsity basketball I had never had a more intense game. This game would determine if our season was over or if we would survive and make it to another game. It was a championship game and it was being held at our home gym, making us that much more excited. This is the game I strived for since the beginning of the year.

The game was like a battlefield. I could hear my heart beating like a metranome with every step I took. Trying to catch my breath with every spare moment I had. Each team giving everything they had, never willing to back down. Bodies were diving on the ground after loose balls, trying to pull ahead of the opponent. Each team was playing with so much heart and energy. Our defense was loud; Communicating with each other was key to getting stops. We were stepping in and helping each other out when a teammate got beat. It was a neck and neck race, but one team would pull ahead. That was us, the West Ottawa Girls Basketball team.

Raven Trammell was at the line shooting two free throws. I took a glance towards the scoreboard table. I saw five subs ready to come in to the game. I took a deep breath and smiled. At that moment, I realized we were District Champs, something I worked so hard for and devoted my whole summer to. I thought this was a far away dream, but it was actually coming true. Raven swished her first free-throw. I heard Maria shout my name as I started a slow jog off the floor. My legs felt like rubber, shaking with every step like noodles. It didn’t faze me, we were going to be District Champs and that’s all I was thinking about. As my slow jog continued, I saw my whole team on their feet, cheering, shouting, and smiling with disbelief as we came off the floor.





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