A single bead of sweat rolls down my forehead. My heart pounds in my chest like a drum. And fatigue sets into my muscles as I keep sprinting. Suddenly, I feel the warm leather brushing against my palms. I stop and stare at it as if to question how it even got there. But it’s only for a second because I know exactly a second after receiving it, I launch it in the air and close my eyes. They reopen as the swish echoes through the silent gym. Moments later, chaos breaks out. Moments later, the crowd gets to their feet and cheers.Moments later, the buzzer calls out. Moments later, the team lifts me up onto their shoulders. Moments later, we had won the game.
Okay, okay. None of this actually happened, but I have the right to dream. At thirteen I was a bit of a dreamer. Okay, you caught me again. I was a full-fledged dreamer. I wasn’t dreaming for things like a snow day or twenty dollar bill tucked in the couch cushion. No, I was dreaming for things bigger. Better. Impossible.
My name is, well, my name doesn’t matter. Nor does my appearance. Or grades. Or athletic ability. I don’t buy into any of that stuff. If I’m a six foot beast, that doesn’t mean I’m any stronger than the four foot shrimp. And it doesn’t mean our talents are any different either. But if you’re wondering, I am not either of those. All that matters about me is my dreams. My goals. And my tenacity.
Tenacity. According to the dictionary, it’s a noun originating during the sixteenth century that means, and I quote, “the quality of being tenacious, or of holding fast.” So be it. To me, the word is just who I am. I have never given up. Never backed down for no one. And maybe that’s why I am where I am...on the bottom.
That my friends is the truth. Hard work has never gotten me anywhere. I pour my brains out over school work only to do as good as the next kid. I run each and every morning, even when sick, to keep in shape, and I still finish in last each field day. And basketball- my only passion, mind you- is where I play the wonderful position of bench. Apparently, five hours of practice a day isn’t enough for them. Yet, I still work harder.
Call me crazy, insane, a complete idiot. The truth is, I don’t care. I’ve heard them all before and I’ll certainly hear them many more times before my time’s up. Especially when tryouts begin in three days.
I know when I’m not wanted. The grimaces as I lace up. The moans as I mess up the play for the eighteenth time. The curses when I lose my dribble in the middle of a game. They all tell me loud and clear. But like I said, I don’t care.
I’m a dreamer. And even when I end up down there on the bottom, I know what I have to do. I don’t have to get up to the top- I don’t belong on the very top. In my dreams, yes, but not in reality. The top’s already reserved. What I have to do is lace up my sneakers for another season, take a swig of water from the plastic bottle, and just shoot.