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

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   Don't blame it on the refs, don't blame it on the cheerleaders, don't blame it on the clock, and definitely don't blame it on the chairs.

"How could it have happened?" These words echoed through my mind. We were ahead. I felt this wonderful sense of pride like a father's eyes seeing his newborn for the first time. The half-time air was sweet perfume as the blue and white cheerleaders came out to flaunt our two-quarter win. The coaches' faces were like the sun on a summer's morn. The parents in the stands (with their hair like a dead tree due to all the missed shots, fumbles, and ruined opportunities) suddenly showed hope to their well-fashioned steeds and their jockeys.

Air suddenly changed. Gone were the moments of pride and glory; now it reeked of havoc and pandemonium. Curses flew through the gym like darts; most were directed at the judge and jury in the stripes. I looked for hope in the ever-challenging enemy: Time. As always, he gave no sign of remorse, but he knew he had to break and that he did. The trumpeter blew his ever-decisive song and so ended three-quarters of the game.

Everything changed: the coach's eyes showed worry and his face was as dark as a moonless night. The parents were like rocks, dumbfounded in awe, and the cheerleaders tried to look pleased, but no dice. My eye surveyed like a hawk for prey, suddenly found it, the scoreboard. They were catching up.

Fourth quarter. Never has man been so vicious, scratching and rippling just for a steady grip on the wall. He who climbs it wins. The scoreboard changed hands so frequently I thought we might lose it. The crowd was like the weather, one minute cheering, the next cursing the refs. Then in a heartbeat, it ended. We bowed our heads in mourning.

So, don't blame it on the refs, you cursing fools. Don't blame it on the cheerleaders, you cold-hearted man. Don't blame it on the clock, you patriotic ol' timer because your greatest battle is yet to come. And don't blame it on the chairs, boys, for your time will come again. l


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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