Judgment Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I was shaken,everyone was. In the small locker room, all 12 of us were crying. My coach saidit was all part of growing up, and we had to deal with it.

Last Februarymy basketball team and our cheerleaders loaded into the bus for our firstplay-off game in four years. Everyone was quiet, listening to LL Cool J andMethod Man's song, "Judgment Day."

We suited up in our stiffgreen uniforms with the hand-stitched lettering and Coach gave a simple speech;he knew we were ready. We were going up against our arch rival, a team led by 6'9", 300-pound Brad.

As I ran through lay-up lines with my teammates, Icould see we were ready. Our eyes were full of passion and excitement. Music wasblasting, but before long, it faded and the only thing on my mind wasbasketball.

The game started in our favor as we ran past the competitionand jumped to an early lead. After half time, though, two fans got into a fightthat was broken up by police. Play never stopped, but the commotion caused adisturbance in our game. The other team put an exclamation point on the game witha tomahawk dunk. We were shocked as the scoreboard gave them the advantage. Theyhad the lead for the first time. We were scared, but it wasn't over.

Withonly three minutes left, one of their players got a technical, giving us a freethrow and, more importantly, the ball. We matched baskets for the next twominutes before the most important moment in our season arrived. Brad wasunstoppable. He made a simple dunk which gave them the lead and a boost from thecrowd. The noise was deafening; I could barely hear myself think. Then the momentcame for us to shine. My heart began to pound. After a time-out, we had a finalchance to win.

We got an open shot, but it rolled around the rim; ourcenter had a chance with a put back. Things were silent as he put up the finalshot. Brad blocked it! The ball sailed to half court along with our hearts. Itwas over.

I laid face down, not knowing what had just happened. A playerfrom the other team helped me up and we exchanged hugs and congratulations. Wehad respect for each other, but deep down, it was killing us. I walked to thelocker room with my friend, who had played the best game of his life; we bothknew it. But he was a senior, and it was all over.

That's when we began tocry. I took the corner and my best friend was face to face with a wall. Tearsstarted rolling down his cheeks. Our dreams and expectations were shattered. Istill don't remember going home. I just remember Judgment Day.




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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