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My Concrete Sanctum This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My ConcreteSanctum

by K. D., Houston, TX



Peoplefind solace in strange places. Some may be absorbed in booksor movies while others take long drives through the country. Ihave found a special place no more than 50 feet from the bed Isleep in. In my backyard lies a huge concrete slab with arusty black pole. Perched on top is a faded white backboardholding an outstretched hoop and net. On this basketball courtI escape and find solitude. It provides me with a place tothink and a place to dream. From it I gain strength andconfidence.

The day the basketball goal was installed,I fell in love with it. I went out into the humid, muggyweather. Drops of rain rolled down the shiny, glisteningstructure towering over me and splashed onto my face. Ivividly remember staring up in glee and excitement with myeyes squinted and a big cheesy smile. Immediately I wanted toplay, so I launched a basketball at the basket. My first shotsmissed completely. I retreated back to the basketball courtevery day, however, and became progressively better. I felt asif I had found a new friend, one that challenged me to becomebetter.

My physical abilities profoundly improvedbecause of the basketball court and this in turn increased myself-assurance. This was especially true when I began to gohead to head against the neighborhood superstars - and held myown. Before the basketball court, I was plump, slow and anintrovert. But I joined in on the local drama and learned tochannel my aggressions into a beautiful art, interacting withmy peers in a way I never thought possible.

Somethingabout the beads of sweat rolling down my body in thesweltering heat and the bitter taste of blood in my mouthafter getting hit with the ball causes me to execute playsaggressively and almost instinctively on that basketballcourt, forgetting all my apprehension and timidity. Withglaring eyes and clenched teeth, my body becomes a determined,graceful machine. The sudden forceful attack to the basket, myheart pounding, then the almost violent screaming and tauntinginto my opponent's face unleash some innate bold confidencescreaming to be exposed. New heights are attained aftervictories on my basketball court that transformsaggressiveness into newfound confidence.

But thesignificance of my basketball court is even deeper. Myfrustrations from life subside when I pound the ball into theground like a jackhammer and throw the ball into the hoopuntil I can think clearly. The basketball court listens butnever offers criticism. I like that. The swishing sound theball creates as it sinks into the net is unequivocal to anyother beautiful sound I have ever heard. Sometimes I amoutside well after dark and all that can be heard is the echoof the ball, whispering through the streets. It is at night inthe solitude of the basketball court that I do my bestthinking as I listen to the rhythmic music the ball makes whenit bounces.

On the basketball court, I have a place toescape from my life. I love to defy reality by dreaming aboutthe lives of the basketball superstars. The pantomime allowsme to become someone else for a short while and then I amrefreshed and relieved. My favorite dream is to pretend I amMichael Jordan by imitating all of his best moves. When mytongue begins to wag and my body begins to dance, I can hearthe passionate crowd and feel the overwhelming emotion of thegame pounding through every bone in my body. The escape fromreality provided by that court is incomparable.

WhetherI am outside in the sultry heat of a summer night to findsolitude or releasing my aggression in the frosty winter, Iusually find a solution on my basketball court. Its solaceplays an important role in making me the person I am. It is mytool for dreaming and my weapon against frustration. I findmyself every time I walk out onto the court.


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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