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Hoop Dreams

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“Devan, what the hell are you doing?” shouted Coach Edwards. “You’re effort today is terrible, actually, it’s always terrible. Everyone out here is giving it all they have, except for you. OK guys, because of Devan’s lack of effort, we’re gonna run 5 suicides. On my whistle.”

After practice that day, Devan sat alone at his locker long after everyone else headed home. A little later, Coach Edwards came out. “What are you still doin’ here” questioned Coach Edwards. After a brief pause, Coach Edward broke the silence by asking. “Oh, so you can’t talk to me?”

“Shut up” replied Devan.

“What did you say to me?”

“I said go away.”

“Well, you need to think about what you’re doin’ because you’re wastin’ your time out here right now. I’m tired of the way you practice. I’ve told you this before, and if it doesn’t change, you’re gonna be suspended.”

“You’re gonna suspend me? I know you won’t; I’m the best player you got.”

“I could not care less. We are a team, and I’m gonna do what’s best for the team. Right now, you’re sittin’ out the next 2 games. I’ve warned you, and now I’m finally doin’ something about it.”

Coach begins to leave when Devan fires, “Hey Coach, forget it, I’m done.”
Coach Edwards looked at Devan, pause a minute, then headed for the door and said, “Alright, have a good night.”

Devan has always had a problem with coaches, teachers, or any authority figure. He always seems to find trouble. On the basketball court, he is a great talent. As a freshman, he averaged 12 points per game and became one of the team’s best players. Over the summer, he played on a great AAU team and college coaches have began to contact. Coaches love his 6-4 athletic frame. It also helps that he has a 38 inch vertical to go with his shooting ability. He possesses the complete package. Devan knows he will not make it to college without basketball. He loves the game and the attention it brings him. Now, in his sophomore season, he is one of the best players in the Chicago area. He has never had to put in extra time because his natural abilities always take over to help him dominate his opponents. All he cares about is playing basketball, but he only wants to do it his own way. Coach Edwards tries to help him, but Devan never listens to him.

Devan begins to head home. As he walks in the cold, windy suburb, he thinks about nothing but basketball and worries about what his dad will say and do when he breaks the news to him about quitting. His dad always pushes him real hard to be the best he can. Sometimes his dad pressures Devan so much it puts fear into Devan’s mind. He arrives at home to a dinner prepared by his mother.

“Honey, dinner’s ready,” Devan’s mother shouts at her husband, Michael.
Michael walks in and can tell something is bothering Devan. “What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing,” expressed Devan

“Yeah right, another bad practice?” he questioned

“I wish that was the only problem.”

“What do you mean?”

“Coach said that I wasn’t working hard, but it’s just practice. He doesn’t understand anything about me. All he does is yell at people, especially me, about the stupidest stuff. I’m tired of it. He does this everyday to me, and I don’t feel like I deserve it,” Devan pleaded.

“I’m telling you, you just make it through, and you will be on to bigger and better things in your future.”

Devan put his head down, not knowing what to say.

After a slight pause, Michael asked, “What’s wrong?”

Devan looked up in fright and answered, “Dad, I quit the team today.” Suddenly, silence entered the room. Everyone stopped not knowing what to say.

“Are you kidding me?” Michael said intensely. “You have so much goin’ for you, kids would die to have your talent, and you’re gonna waste it, just like that.”

“Dad, I’m tired of it. I told him I’m done. I can’t play for this guy. He thinks I don’t care at all”

“Do you understand what a mistake you’re making? I really don’t think you know what you’re doin’. You need to think about it.”

“But I already told Coach Edwards.”

“I don’t care, you need to be playin’ basketball and you know that just as well as I do. You have a future in the sport. I wish you could see that.”

“Your future for me might be playing basketball, but mine isn’t, at least not in this situation. I love basketball but I can’t take this.”
Devan left the table and went into his room. Devan’s parents talked about the situation and later his mom came and talked to him about everything, telling him she wishes he would rethink his situation because she think it would really help him to stay with the sport. She talked him into going and apologizing to Coach Edwards and asking him to be back on the team. Devan agreed because he thought about the situation and knows that he made a mistake and overreacted.

The next day, Devan arrived at school early in order to find Coach Edwards. Devan went to the coaches office and knocked on the door.

“Hey Devan, What’s up” Asked an assistant coach.

“Is Coach Edwards here? I need to talk to him about something.”

“Yeah, just a second… Hey Coach, someone is here to talk to you.” Coach Edwards came to the door and Devan immediately says.

“Coach I’m really sorry for what I did after practice yesterday. I’ve thought about my effort as of late and the whole year in general. I feel bad for my performance and I owe a lot to you and my teammates. I have not been working hard at practices and I want to apologize and say that I will do whatever it takes to get me back on this team. I overreacted and I’m very sorry. I hope I can get a second chance, Coach.”

Coach Edwards thinks for a minute then replies, “Well, I think it is terrible the way you have been practicing, as well as your attitude in general. I’ll think about it today and come and see me before practice and I’ll let you know.”

Throughout the day, Devan became very nervous and did not know what to think. He knew he messed up and hoped for that second chance. Finally, the last class ended and Devan headed toward the coaches office.

“Coach, have you made your decision.” Devan asked

“Yeah, I talked to the assistant coaches and our team captains and we decided that you will remain on the team, but will miss the next two games because of your behavior.”

“Coach, I really appreciate this. I promise that nothing like this will happen again.”

“Oh trust me, it won’t, and if it does, you are gone for good, you’re skatin’ on thin ice already. One more mess up and you will be gone. You’re effort will have to improve otherwise you won’t play either.”

“Yes sir, I’m telling you that I will be much better.”

“Alright, well go get ready for practice.”





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