Wellington Knights

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Half fantasizing and half about to faint of a nervous break down; I waited there. While Audrey looked as calm as water, I imagined all the plays I would do wrong; ending up leaving my team in the dust against the other power house of the Pioneer League, the Wellington Knights. To help us mentally prepare we could not talk on the bus, so usually we texted each other about the day’s happenings. However, with this different atmosphere it seemed almost as if someone had died and the silence stretched around the bus. All the athletes parked in their seats, speechless, and awaiting our destiny of either becoming Pioneer League champs or runners up.

As we arrived at the gym we Mr. Hobbs, the seventh grade girls basketball coach, froze us right before we departed into the arena. Explaining to us that walking into the gym together gave the other team a sense of fear towards us, knowing in order to grasp the title they were going to have to go through our team, the Lady Andover Trojans first! Lingering into our alleged “locker room” felt like a horror movie in the making. In the lowest part of the school we found ourselves changing in an apparent area that was not even carpeted, the bathroom contained a pale yellow colored water, and the marker board did not exactly use markers but chalk. The team, concerned about being inhaled alive by bugs, changed then headed to the floor to begin our warm up. Free shooting, lay-ups, stretching, and then three on two drills took place leading us to the time we head back to the locker room for our annual conference. Perched on the wooden benches, we bowed our heads automatically imagining each play, seeing visually where we pick, pass, or shoot. During this time of meditation Mr. Hobbs clarified to the team, that he issued me the job of guarding their essential scorer Dani, who dropped an average of over twenty points per game. When the whole pep talk was almost concluded, someone came down stairs and reported to us that the gym’s conditions were terrible and we needed to switch gymnasiums immediately.

Flustered at their timing coach went to find out what the commotion concerned, but ended up delighted at their choice do to the safety of the players; not to happy about the hike all the way over to the other school, the team quickly switched shoes and began our journey. Thrilled with the change of appearance we arrived at the new gym. .Appointed to our new locker rooms we headed down to once again receive a talk. Not quite knowing when the game started we began to stretch and loosen up. Starting our whole rutuin over again, the team began to show what we came with. Anxiously while, I was warming up, Mr. Wilson came over to me and gave me a quick chat about how to calm down and just have fun, but still perform at the level he knew I could reach. Feeling like the whole game was on my shoulders I headed out onto the court for the tip off of the game I had no worry who might have the first possession, because of our giant center Quin.

Just as I expected we won the tip off and were staying head to head with the Knights the whole game. Barely having time to catch my breathe I twisted, turned, and did everything in my will power to keep Dani in front of me. By half time, I was completely out of energy and gasping for breathe, knowing that I was already sick I quickly hoofed another spray of my inhaler and joined the team for the half time chat. Acknowledging my effort, the coach stated I helped the team greatly by doing a great job of stopping their star and leaving the rest of the team to work by themselves. Having nothing less on his mind but a victory coach sent us back out to finish the game strong. With a massive amount of stress on me to guard Dani I had close to no time for drink breaks, so Mr. Wilson gave me squirts of water when we were shooting free throws. Feeling as if my foot were bricks I found myself on the beach with an unexpected break. My best friend Peach, whose jersey read number one, fouled the other team, but instead I received the punishment under my number giving me three fouls. In desperation to not get me kicked out of the game I was forced to sit the entire third quarter out since the refs decided not to pay attention.

With an extra boost of energy and anger I headed out on the court to finish the last quarter of the game. Leave everything on the court; let your skills do the talking, coaches wise words bounded through my head as the clock started to count down the last couple of minutes. Awaiting the horn to buzz knowing the Trojans had grasped the title I sprinted over to jump into the arms of my other glowing teammates. After shaking hands with the other team, we headed down the stairs awaiting the wise words of our victorious coach. Yelling and screaming he calmed us down and began the words of proud ness he held towards us. Leaving the room, after having three rounds of applause from my team I headed to my gleaming parents. Excitingly I told them that I had held Dani to ten points, and as an extra bonus, I held the highest score on my own team. As proud as I could possibly be now, I knew the glory would only be better at school the next day.

The team the next day did not seem to just the Lady Trojans, but also a new bonded team knowing the hard road we still needed to face ahead of us at the Pioneer League Tournament. Though we may have not ended up capturing another first place, we became runners up at the tourney. Still feeling passionate about our year coach quoted one thing to us: “After a teams first lose they become stronger and more relaxed on the court.” Even yet a year later we can still look up at our banner and realize what a long journey, we had becoming the Pioneer undefeated League Champs!





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