The Irreplaceable Feeling This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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      The sweat is rolling off my face. I look up and all I can see is the crowd going crazy. That doesn’t matter. All I hear is my heart pounding and my legs screaming for a break from the running. Nervousness and excitement are pouring out of me. With 20 seconds left on the clock, anything and everything can happen.

Both teams are on the line for free throws. Tamara will be the one put to the test. The one thought on my mind is to get the rebound and not let them beat us deep. I am totally focused. Every muscle in my body is tight and Coach is screaming out the defense.

Tamara splits on free throws. I look at the scoreboard and go into shock - we are going to state!

The last 10 seconds don’t matter; the other team doesn’t have a chance. We are assured of victory and the fans rush onto the court. The joy I’m feeling is beyond comprehension. The summer weightlifting sessions and vacation practices are all worth it now. Through our successes and failures, we kept at it, and proved wrong all those who said it was impossible. Finally, our girls’ basketball team is in the spotlight.

The fans greet us with hugs and congratulations. I stand on the outside looking in, trying to process the fact that we are going to state. I wander around the rim of the circle, finding Kristen there too. We stand next to each other, watching the scene. I glance her way, and she glances mine. Our eyes meet and we share an I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on look. It’s funny to me how this is all happening, and probably will never happen again. Yet, I can’t jump in the middle of it with the rest of the team.

We line up as the announcer recognizes the sub-state runner-up, and then the substate champs, the Lady Irish. They hand us our plaques, but for me, everything is standing still. I can see it all, but I am totally numb. Our parents are there with flowers and their love. Everyone is planning their trip to watch us but I can’t even think beyond this moment, let alone a week from now.

We head to the locker room, where what we’ve accomplished begins to sink in. No one can ever take that away from us. We accomplished what no team has done in fifteen years. Do you know how we express those emotions? We dance! Every one of us gets our groove on and just dances. The elation we feel is totally overwhelming. I will never feel quite like this again, and I’m not sure I want to. This moment is incomparable.

We aren’t the same team we were before. This season, we hated teammates. We banged and bruised each other to make us achieve what we did. Now, we love and respect each other, because we know what we all sacrificed to get where we are today. We know each other better than ever.

Basketball is a sport where you have to learn to use the talents of each member and deal with their faults. You can’t hide imperfections and have no choice but to fix them. You win and lose right next to each other. It is a feeling that can never be taken from me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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