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"Come on guys, you're slow as a tiny sea horse," yelled coach Rod.
Coach Rod was making them do fifteen laps around the whole entire, wood floored gym. James Brooks a tall, five foot, eleven inches , short hair, skinny, basketball loving seventh grader, looked like he could be a star center on his high school team. He was just so tired after the laps. When coach Rod got them in a circle, he wrapped his gigantic arms around his stomach like a large python wrapping around his prey. "That was a terrible practice you guys looked like the little first grade YMCA team," said Rod like his head was just about to burst with anger.
"James end it for us," demanded Rod.
"Wolves on three," said James.
"WOLVES," screamed the rest of the team.
That was the last practice till they go to Delton for the state tournament. James got his stuff from his locker then met his best friend Billy Marcus, he's not the tallest but he can shoot baskets like he controls the ball every time. He asked James "hey guess what I saw."
"What is it this time," moaned James like he heard him say the same thing a million times.
"I saw Coach by the bleachers at the end of practice and he's bought us all something," whispered Billy.
"So," said James.
Just like that Coach Rod came in the locker just like it was a movie, "Hey guys, I got you all a little something," exclaimed Rod.
He pulled out of a bag some patches. He was a doctor when he wasn't coaching basketball. "I want you guys to wear these patches twelve hours a day. And will keep you guys ready for the state tournament," said Rod.
James grabbed one and looked at it and thought gross, I'm for sure not wearing this. As usual after practice James met his dad in the parking lot. It was the beginning of winter so it wasn't really hot, not really cold, about a cool 55 degrees in Dallas. "Dad we got this weird patch thing from coach today," said James.
"Well it sounds like coach wants you guys to succeed. I want you to succeed too. You have a shot to become a star," exclaimed Dan (James' Dad).
James' dad was not the skinniest guy in the world, he had a bald head, always wore a white T-Shirt with a little drop of mustard stain, and had a scraggly greasy mustache. He looked like he just came out of a McDonalds every time you saw him. James was excited for no school this week because of conferences so the tournament started Saturday morning and went all through the day. He went home, put the patch on, and felt the sharpest pain right when he put it on. It felt like when you’re running a lap and when your almost to the end and just like that your leg cramps up so badly. It also felt very moist for a few seconds then perfectly back to normal in a minute or two. James was feeling like something was wrong and this wasn't really small wrong he thought it was big, giant, monumentally wrong.
It was two days before the tournament and James stopped taking the patch right after the pain hit. After a few days he felt weird because they had steak for dinner one night and his left arm felt a lot stronger than his right. He went to Billy’s house down the street. He rode his bike into the swaying cool wind , whistling past his short hair, like it was blowing through a small corn field. James rang the door bell. Billy came to the door and said ,
“Dude, what are you doing here? The Maverick game is on come in.”
They both walked into the living room and `sat down on the brown leather sofa. “I’m here to talk about this stupid patch that coach is making us wear. I stopped wearing it a few days ago. It killed like a sharp needle went through my arm then out then through again,” explained James.
“I hear you man. I stopped taking it too. Instead of finding a needle in a hay stack, it felt like finding a piece of hay in a needle stack,” said Billy.
“I wonder what caused the pain because maybe he invented it and put something strange in it,” said James.
“Well, why would he give us this right before the biggest tournament. I mean why now and why not the tournaments before this?” Asked Billy.
Both of the curious seventh graders were thinking for about five minutes, right after Dirk Nowitzki hit the three pointer to tie it up before the half. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Asked James.
“Fried chicken? Kidding no, I was just watching the game,” said Billy.
“What I was thinking was that coach created his own steroid patch. I know it sounds crazy but think about it. Your arm got stronger and so did mine. It was painful and also it was very moist for a little bit,” explained James.
“ Well, there’s only one way to find out,” said Billy but he said it very deviously.
“What?” Asked James.
“ We get proof and give it to the police,” said Billy.
“Sounds like a plan. I’ll bring a voice recorder tomorrow and after practice we pretend like we want more and ask him if there’s some mysterious steroid liquid in it, send it to the police, and save the rest of the team from becoming steroid freaks and stop this nonsense!” demanded James.
In both minds they thought tomorrow’s going to be an interesting day at practice.
It was the big day. The day two kids stop their muscle building coach. After practice as usual, everybody was beat, sweating, and almost even crying. It was a harsh practice. Both James and Billy pulled aside Coach Rod after everybody left at practice and while the recorder was in his pocket, he asked Rod, “you have any more of those patches coach?” asked James
“Why yes, I have one in my pocket now,” said Rod.
“Do you know what’s in the patch?” asked James again.
“I only trust two people on this team and that’s you guys and I know you can keep a secret. What’s really in the patch is called gym juice or steroid juice what ever you like,” explained Rod.
“Thanks coach that’s all we need to know,” said James as he walked away with the truth . It was in his pocket recorded inside a little machine. James thought it’ll be over by tomorrow and tomorrow was the state tournament in Delton, Texas.
That night Billy and him went to the police station gave the tape to the officers and the police chief said he will be arrested tomorrow for giving 12 to 13 year olds an illegal drug.
The day of the tournament James’ dad drove all the way to Delton. It was about a six hour and a half drive. When they got there, the team shot around for a little bit and right around when coach was going to give his speech, BAM! The door slammed open and the police came in and right when coach saw them he knew he was caught he just put his hands up and took the arrest. “ You little twerps set me up! This isn’t over James and your little friend Billy, I’ll get you guys!” screamed Rod.
“He can’t get us if he’s in prison all his life,” Billy said to James.
“You got that right Billy,” said James.
The team got disqualified for what , well the officials never had 12 and 13 year olds never take steroids so they made up a rule. They all were bummed but they knew it was fair. The next day they all went to the doctor. He said they all would need some treatment for a week probably then return back to normal. James thought none of that mattered now. He was just glad he was playing the game he loved fair and not the dirty way. The next year James asked his dad to coach a team. He did and the team went undefeated the whole year! During the season the team made up a motto “play fair or don’t play at all.” James also said to himself I think I’ve had the greatest basketball story ever.