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I walked down the hallway I had been to many times. There was the locker room to my right and Mr. Francese’s office to the left. But all I was focused on was the gym that was straight ahead.
I had started playing basketball in 6th grade. I thought of the way I felt in the first game that I had ever played in. The feeling that I had now was that magnified by 100 times. My eyes darted around the gym, making deductions of who would be a threat to make the team and who had no chance. I studied each and every face in the gym while doing these silent calculations in my head. My chances to at least be in the conversation on the FWMS middle school basketball team were in the high ranges.
I knew that there was going to be 12 kids on the team. There were only 17 kids at the tryout, so that was a good thing. 12 kids were going to make the team and only 5 would be left out. There were only 6 tall kids at the tryout so only guards would get cut.
“Sean, come on!” I was broken out of my spell. I jumped off the stage to join my other 4 teammates. I had a team of Mark, Terran, Dylan, Conner and me. As we walked onto the court, I began to sweat madly. I had never come this close to being on any basketball team, let alone the school team. I had to guard Chris M, a contender for being on the school team. They took the ball out first and on the very first play, Chris nailed a shot from way far out. I felt my face turning red even though I wasn’t tired. I made a mental deal with myself to not let him score again.
All of a sudden, the ball was flying my way. I snagged it out of the air. I looked at it for a second, not knowing what to do with it. I finally just heaved it up towards the basket and silently prayed.
“ Ball In!” Shouted my buddy Mike from the sideline as the ball swished perfectly through the net. I was congratulated by my teammates as we ran back to guard our basket. I smiled at Chris. We were now even.
I made it past the rest of the tryout without publicly embarrassing myself, but it wasn’t perfect either. I made 5 or 6 other shots, but when both coaches were watching on the full court I lost the ball to some 6th grader and missed all of my other shots.
When the coach was giving the end of the tryout speech about how we shouldn’t be upset if we didn’t make it. Throughout the whole speech, he was staring right at me. Not a good sign. It was starting to freak me out. My throat was going dry as we walked away. I headed straight for the water fountain.
As soon as I was done drinking, I remembered that I had CCD right after the tryouts. The coach said that he would post the results at around 7:30. My CCD went until 8:30. There was no way that I was going to wait that long. I got into my car as I formulated a plan. I texted my friend JP and asked him if he could text me the results when they came out.
The response for JP was, ”Sure.” I pumped my fist in the air. I then went to the CCD presentation. The head lady talked and talked to us about getting our conformation. Every minute took an hour. My dad and I flipped aimlessly through the packet. When I thought 7:30 had come, I snuck a look at my phone. Hey, I know that I shouldn’t have my phone in church, but this was an exception. Anyways, there was nothing on the screen. It was already 7:50 and I was wondering if JP was ever going to text me.
“Put your phone away!” my dad hissed. “We’re in church!”
“Sorry,” I said.
“Give it to me and keep your voice down!” he whispered. Now, for your knowledge, my dad is about as technical as a caveman. The phone’s screen had gone dark, so I whispered, ”Don’t worry, it’s off. See?“ I showed him the screen and he was fine with that.
About 10 minutes later, I saw the glow of the screen through my shorts. A new message had come through! I wanted desperately to look at it, but the phone was on the pocket of my pants that was facing him. If I had taken it out to look at, he would have seen no matter what. I waited a long 15 minutes until he was buried in the packet for conformation. I slid my hand over to the pocket with my sweatshirt sleeve covering my fingers. I grabbed my phone and stealthily moved my hand over to the bench on the other side of me. I was in the clear!
Suddenly everyone around me was standing. My dad pulled me up and I luckily placed my phone into the pocket to avoid dropping it from the sudden movement. We said a prayer and as we sat back down, and I looked at the message.
It read simply, ”U made it”.
These 3 small words drowned me in happiness, and without caring if anyone saw me I typed, ”ur kidding right???”
The response was, “no joke and mike made it 2”
The whole CCD get-together was ending all around me, but I didn’t notice at all. I ran up to Mike, and said, “We made the basketball team!” He gave me a totally blank stare, so I spelled it out for him. “We are members of the FWMS basketball team,” I said very slowly. He looked at me like I was joking around.
“How do you know?” he asked suspiciously.
“JP texted me!” I exclaimed.
“So you aren’t kidding?” he asked. I shook my head. “ Oh yeah!” Mike shouted and we did a chest bump in the middle of the church.
On my way out, other people who had also made the team congratulated me. As you might know, the Woods basketball team has to wear nice collared shirts and ties on game days. When I stepped into my car to go home, my dad said, ”Looks like we’re going to need some collared shirts for you.” I smiled and we drove home.