Basketball Transformation

August 31, 2010
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Buzzzzzzzzz, that was the sound that ended; my last year of Junior High Basketball, we had just won the Consolation Championship. But, I didn’t feel exhilarated or overwhelmed with joy, as my teammates. Sadly I watched them dance around the locker room while I quietly sat in the corner; I couldn’t tell them how I was feeling, the disappointment and inadequacy I was sensing. The tears that were streaming down my face were so salty that it seemed I could smell them. They had just won an important game. I hadn’t contributed much; I was just a number to them, just another sub.
Throughout Junior High basketball, my skills were… let’s just say less than stellar. People already began to label me; “JV Benchwarmer”.
But Junior High was a piece of cake compared to what was lying ahead: High School Summer Camps. The coaches and my new teammates didn’t expect much from me, I did worse because I felt threatened by my older and much more sophisticated teammates. At this point, I was lucky if I could have been the towel girl.
But things started settling down toward the end of the summer. I decided that I had to change; I couldn’t go through my whole life being terrible on the court, when I knew I had so much potential. For the next two months I practiced intense basketball training, and every time I finished a practice I wanted to quit; it was just too hard for me, the goal seemed too far away.

Suddenly, I’m standing in the gym; I look down and see that I’m right on the middle of the faded, blue baseline. A hard, seemingly endless practice had just finally, ended. My breathing is labored; I can almost taste the anxiety in the air. I try to stay calm; I concentrate on my breathing in, out, in, out. I feel sweat dripping off my face onto the floor, Coach Barker starts calling out the names, the names of this year’s varsity team. I’ve worked so hard, the untold amounts of practice have changed my body and mind into full blown basketball fanatic this seems to be the only thing that matters, a situation of life and death. The countless hours of ball handling drills, more than one-thousand shots, tons of plays that are engraved in my memory. I deserve this, don’t I? And just for a second I have a few moments of self doubt.
Maybe I should have worked a little harder on my post up routines or I probably should have spent more time working on my defensive stances. Would that have made a difference? Just as I am about to lose my sanity Coach says it, he says my name! I can’t believe I did it, how did I make it here to this glorious moment? I’m not sure but all I know is that this lapse in time will be forever burned in my memory, if I had to describe it in one word it would be simply life changing. Although technically that’s two words.

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wordnerd54 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 4, 2010 at 9:23 am
I liked this- it was short and sweet.  Congratulations on making the team! (I've ended up on both sides of that situation... And try-outs are very scary!)  I'm glad you didn't let anyone tell you that you couldn't do it.  That's a true athlete.  I liked the way that you split the story into two seperate scenes becuase the tone in each was dramatically different- it showed that you truly did change by the end.  Have fun playing and good luck.
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