Big Game

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Eventually I fell asleep, and the next thing I know, “ Wake up we are here.” I got up, grabbed all my stuff and headed inside the gym with my dad to find my team. As I’m walking in the gym I look around at the other players from other teams walking in too. Some of the players I saw were very intimidating, because of how serious they looked and how big they were, and all I could say when I saw some of them was, “Man, I hope we aren’t playing them.” My dad laughed at that. I go into the gym and I see my team so I walk over and we exchange hellos. My dad wishes me luck and goes off into the bleachers to sit with the other parents. I sit down in a circle with the other players and our coach goes over the game plan. He tells us what defense he wants, what offense he wants, etc. He also says that he has been told that the team we are playing is supposed to be very good, and that they have big kids and they’re an inner city team. Right when he says that, all I can think is we are going to get crushed and that we don’t stand a chance. Then I say to myself, maybe I will feel better once I see the other team during warm-ups.

So, the time comes for us to go warm up on the court and there is the other team and I could not have been more wrong. It made me feel ten times worse seeing them in warm-ups, because they were massive, and they were named the Bulldogs, which is a very intimidating name. During warm-ups I kept glancing over at them doing the drills, mesmerized at how good they look, but then I catch myself knowing that they want us to be intimidated. When the start of the game nears I get nervous, but also pumped and excited for the game to begin. Before the game starts our coach gives us one of the shortest inspirational speeches I have ever heard. All he said was, “ Team, they might be bigger, but we are better!” When he said those words our whole team got pumped because those words were exactly what we needed to hear, and the coach knew it.

The buzzer went off and the Bulldogs won the tip. When our team gets the ball, I realize that the guy guarding me is way bigger than me, but I knew I was faster than him. So the ball is passed to me, and I give my defender a little fake and I go right by him for the easy lay-up. We keep going back and forth with the Bulldogs, neither team being able to stop the other on defense. I realized that this team relies on its size for defense and just clamps up the middle so they don’t get beat by faster players. I use this to my advantage! I take jump shots that are left wide open to me because our team is doing such a good job passing the ball around. We were leaving the defense on its heels. Yes, we were having great success on offense, but we could not stop them on defense, which is why they were still in the game. They were just so big, that they were pounding us down low with their size. The coach at this point sounded like he blew his lungs from all the yelling, because it was such an intense game that everyone was getting into it, including the fans. The coach and our whole team realized that no matter what we did they were just too big to stop on defense. This game had to be won by an offensive showdown. Three quarters had gone by and we were up by five. I couldn’t believe it. After having no confidence that we could win this game, we were so close to winning.

The fourth quarter begins great for us; it starts with a three pointer by my teammate and then a turnover on the other end by the opposition. There was now only two minutes left in the game and we managed to get a lead of 72-70. We were only two minutes away from victory and there was no way we were going to lose this game. The coach decided it was time to run the clock down, and he said to us, “ Team this is crunch time, we are going to start wasting time, so they are going to foul us and foul us hard. We need to hit our free throws!” It was our ball and we had to inbound it. Our point guard was well covered, so I stepped in and received the ball. Immediately a Bulldog player wrapped me up. I looked at my coach, who gave me a look of confidence, and I took the first free throw shot. Swoosh! Nothing but net. The fans cheered as I got ready for my next shot, I could hear my dad over everyone. Swoosh! I made both shots and the crowd cheered and my teammates high fived me and my coach cheered. We were now up 74-70. Thirty seconds left, and the score was the same. To everyone’s surprise, our defense clamped down and we weren’t letting anyone score. However, because of a slip up on defense the Bulldogs scored making it 74-72. We had the ball, but as a teammate in bounded the ball a Bulldog player tipped it up in the air. The clock started.

10...9...8 the ball was in the air each team member is hitting it trying to come down with it.

7…6...5 I look and see that the ball is coming right towards me.

4…3… So, I jump up and snatch the ball. The crowd cheers as I grab it.

2…1!

The game is over. We did it. We beat the team that none of us thought we could.

Our whole team was so happy; the fans came onto the court to congratulate us. As we left the gym a bunch of people told me I had a great game and I would thank them and move on. I had 25 points that game. The game taught me a great lesson. Never sell yourself short and never think you can’t do something just because the odds are against you.





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