The Never-Ending Game This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Ifyou asked me what happened, I couldn't tell you. If you asked me how I ended upon the floor, I wouldn't know. If you asked me how many fingers you were holdingup, my answer would be a guess.

It was our last basketball game of theyear, and all four of our teams had traveled to Fort Bragg for what promised tobe an exciting night of ball. It seemed that Willits and Ft. Bragg had built upan enormous rivalry, and this would be the night that made one team the ultimatewinner.

From what I have since pieced together, the game was going well.If I remember correctly, it was even an exciting, close game. The J.V. boys andJ.V. girls had finished their games and were sitting in the stands cheering uson, while the Varsity boys watched from the sidelines, waiting their turn todefeat the opponent.

With two minutes left to the third quarter, I stolethe ball and began my sprint toward scoring two more points. I looked up thecourt and saw my teammate in front of me; she clearly had a better shot. Butthere was one thing between my teammate and me: the mighty defender. Wow, was shemighty! She towered above me and had legs that could have crushed me. In timeslike this there is no time to think - you see someone open, you pass. So I did.To make the pass I had to jump to get around Mighty Defender.

Let me takea moment to explain, since I do not fully remember and it has been told to me bywitnesses. I jumped to pass, and somehow Mighty Defender swept my legs out fromunder me as she turned to follow the ball. My arms were in the air completing thepass, so what did I have to catch my fall? Nothing. My head hit first, knockingme out, and my body followed, sprawling on the floor.

The next thing Iknew my coach, the referees, and a parent hovered above me, telling me not tomove. I panicked when I heard someone yell, "The ambulance is here!"Ambulance? What had happened? How long had I been out? Suddenly paramedicssurrounded me, giving me oxygen, putting on a neck brace, and asking questionslike, "Do you know your name? Do you know where you are? How many fingers amI holding up?"

"My name, Natalie. I thought I was playing

basketball. How many fingers? Two, four, maybeeleven?"

Before I knew it I was loaded on a stretcher and on my wayto the hospital. My parents were beside me telling me everything was going to beokay. As they wheeled me out of the gym, the audience began to applaud, like wewere in a movie. Although I appreciated it, I was more embarrassed thananything.

At the hospital, the doctor examined me and concluded I had asevere concussion, but all I could do was return home and rest. The ride to andfrom Ft. Bragg is miserable in itself, but with a concussion, it was simplyunbearable and felt twice as long, and twice as winding.

The nextmorning my mom couldn't seem to explain the chill that had shot through her bodywhen she heard my head hit the floor. The only thing she could compare it to wasa bowling ball being dropped from several stories above and landing with acrash.

I received many phone calls from friends and parents asking how Iwas, and giving me their version of what "the crash" had sounded like.I even had some mothers calling to tell me they had cried when they saw me godown.

To finish the story, I will tell you what I know you have beenwaiting to hear. I made the pass, she made the basket, and ... we lost.




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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Sadia123456 said...
Dec. 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm
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