Choo choo ... the music blaring, the crowd roaring as the team comes running out the doorway. Bang Bang ... the ball hits the floor, then bounces back. Head fake, fake left, take one dribble to the right and up for a two-point lay-up. Do it twice on the right, then twice on the left.
"Put your heart into it - go up strong!! Lean toward the basket - draw the foul!! How you practice is how you play!!" screams the coach from the sidelines. Then make a move at the three-point line - jump stop - shot goes up - swoosh for two more!! Twice on the left, then twice on the right.
"Four spot!" The captains call out above the crowd. The team lines up at the baseline and at the elbow of the key. One shot goes up, then the next. Two claps on a make, one on a miss.
"Three on two" the captains yell again. Two defenders are down in the key, "Stay on your toes. Don't get faked out. Don't give them the baseline - if a shot goes up, don't let the other team get the rebound!!" is going through both of their minds as the three offensive players come down the court with fire in their eyes. Now it's time to show the coach you are ready to play; show the crowd your best moves.
"If you miss, grab the rebound, then go right back up. Draw the foul - make sure it still goes in!" I say to myself as I receive a bounce pass under the basket from my teammate.
"Captains!" the refs call out to each side. As our captains meet the other captains and review the rules, the rest of the team shoots foul shots.
"Fouls make or break us! The team who keeps the other team off the line is ahead of the game. When you're on the line, concentrate and put the charity points in the bucket!" The coach constantly repeats.
We try to pump each other up, give each other confidence. If you think you can do it - you can!! If you say you can't - you don't even have a prayer!
"You're on tonight, Fuzzy!" I tell our point guard as the shot goes up. Thirty seconds left each team races to their bench for a few last words. We smack each others' perspiring hands as we line up for the pledge to the flag and the reading of the sportsman-like conduct rules.
By this time, my heart rate is at its max, adrenaline raging throughout my body. I am beyond excited, I can't wait to get out on the floor and play with heart and soul. I am not out there to just play, I'm not out there to just win, I'm not out there to just have fun, I'm not out there to just do my best - it's everything together - I love the feeling of just being out there! Who ever said girls' basketball wasn't competitive?! l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.