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Corrie George: The Basketball Game
Corrie's alarm clock had failed her too many times. Everyday, she would wake up to the sound of her older sister's blow dryer, and everyday she would say that it was the last straw; and threaten to buy another clock that day. Unfortunately, she was much too wiped out and sweaty after basketball practice to go to Wal-Mart and get a new one.
So, today had been another one of those days. After basketball, Corrie had carpooled with her friends Eden Alex, Chellsie Sands, Lauren Paltrow, and Randy Rosenfels, like she did every day.
Walking through the door, her eyes met a view of a colossal mess in the usual spotless, designer magazine perfect living room. Rolling suitcases were lying around near the couch, Luis Vuitton suitcases lay open on the lamp table, and clothes were strewn all over the easy chairs. In the midst of it all, was Corrie's mother.
"Mom, what is all this?" Corrie picked up a crumpled shirt off the floor and hung it on a chair.
"I'm packing for Myrtle Beach. Your daddy got us reservations for a three day's stay at the resort. Isn't that great, sweetie?"
"Uh....when?" Corrie couldn't stand her family's beach vacations. There was never anything to do. All the rich old people went there, no families with kids, besides her own.
"We're going to be gone the twelfth through the fifteenth."
"WHAT!? No, we can't go then!"
"Well, why not?"
"Mom, I have a game on the twelfth!"
"What's today?" Corrie's mother turned on her phone.
"Thursday the third?"
"Maybe you can ask your Daddy to bump our reservations to tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday."
"When is he going to be home?"
"He should be home any minute."
Corrie stepped over mounds and mounds of jeans and shoes on her way to the stairs.
After taking a shower, she went into her room to finish her homework.
Corrie's room was the only place that she felt safe from all the rich chaos outside her door. She secretly called it her 'House' or 'The Court'. Corrie had done her best to cover everything that wasn't blue or gold or white. Her mother had done her room in flowers and sunshine with blue skies. The suns and the skies weren't that bad, but she had the WNBA logo everywhere, along with about twenty Michael Jordan pictures and articles. Corrie had New York Liberty, Indiana Fever, and Atlanta Dream posters and articles any place she could fit them. There were some spaces where there was a Jefferson Wildcat team picture, and all of her friends had signed it above their heads.
Then there were some shots of her making a layup or shooting a free throw, but not very many. Corrie's family didn't come to her games very much. Her father cared about sports much more than her mother, but his work always got in the way. He would come to as many games as he could, but her mother didn't like going. Corrie wished that her family was as dedicated to each other as Randy Rosenfels family was. To Corrie, it seemed like Randy had everything going for her.
And Corrie had other problems, too. Sometimes it looked like her parents might separate. Her father was away from home a lot, yet when he was home, he and her mother always fought tooth and nail. It was funny, Corrie thought, that her father had made reservations for them at Myrtle Beach--and just a few days ago, she had heard them have a heated argument, so bad, her father had gome to work without saying goodbye.
A door slam brought Corrie back to real life. Her dad was home.
She dropped her pencil into her notebook and ran down the stairs. As usual, he was standing in the doorway of the living room. Corrie lept across the piles of clothing and hugged him.
"Hey, sweetie. How was practice?"
"Great, Dad. Um... I have a game on the twelfth....can we change the Myrtle Beach reservation to tomorrow?"
"Well.....yes, I don't think I have anything tomorrow...." Her father dug out his iPhone and pulled up his calender. "No, nothing tomorrow."
"But you have to make sure that you get all your work from Eden on Monday. No slipping grades, or no basketball."
After Corrie's father had changed into casual clothes, he offered to take Corrie and her sister Amber out to eat before his nightly Thursday golf session. Corrie gladly accepted, but Amber announced she had plans with her friends. So it was just Corrie and her Dad, something she had been really looking forward to. Corrie and her Dad talked about basketball, grades, and upcoming school events. Then Corrie asked if he could come to the game on the twelfth. Her dad said he wasn't sure. On the drive home, he told her that he would have to leave Myrtle Beach a day early. Corrie sighed, but she accepted it as best as she could.
Walking through the front door, she noticed her sister's car was gone, and she found her mother on the phone. Corrie went up the stairs unnoticed, but she caught snippets of the conversation. And what those snippets contained was startling; so Corrie stopped to listen.
"Yes, honey, Myrtle Beach. Three days.......oh he'll be there for the first days.......just on that last day.......what...oh yeah, ok......alright......bye....." Click!!
Corrie climbed up the stairs, mulling over the conversation. Who could that have been? Corrie decided it was her grandma and grandpa. But she still wasn't sure......
She texted Eden on her phone.
Corrie: hey im gonna be gone from school 2morrow could you pick up my work?
A few minutes later, her phone vibrated.
Eden: where r u goin? Sure i'll pick it up for u
Corrie: myrtle beach
Eden: ok c u monday
Corrie then packed her blue, white, and gold Jefferson duffel bag and went to bed, knowing a good night's sleep would help her to get up for the eight o'clock flight in the morning.
"Gate eighteen B, first class, you are now welcome to board the plane at your leisure."
Corrie grabbed her Sprite and swung her gym sack around her back.
After about five minutes of showing boarding passes and counting seats, Corrie and her family were aboard the jet liner bound for Myrtle Beach. But Corrie wished she was in language class right now, though, watching Lauren torment Josh Carver. She listened to her iPod and tried to ignore the obnoxious kids in front of her.
When tbey finally reached the resort, it was about noon. The family unpacked and Corrie did what she always did; leave her dad in the hot tub and her mom and sister in the tanning room. She wandered down to the basketball courts and as usual, there was no one there. So she grabbed a ball
and started shooting some baskets. Corrie did her school-famous layup and faked out an imaginary opponent, drbbled around them, and went in for a stuff. She caught the ball after it came down from the net, and started over again. She must have done it aout eight times, because she fell on her backside after a layup. The ball went rolling towards the door way.......and right to the feet of a buff looking freckle-faced brown-haired boy wearing a New York Celtics sweatshirt, Jordan Airs, and blue and grey basketball shorts.
"Wow. You're pretty good."
Corrie stared for a minute, and then said, "Thanks.......you wanna play?"
The boy shrugged. "Sure. What's your name?"
"Corrie. What's yours?"
"How long have you been standing there?"
"About ten minutes. What grade are you in?"
"Same." He passed her the ball.
Corrie shot it and made a 'nothing-but-net' basket. Jacob scooped it up and they switched places. This went on for about another fifteen minutes, until Jacob stopped and got a drink.
"How long have you been playing?" Corrie asked, unable to contain her curiosity; this kid was good.
"Six years. How about you?"
"I'm not sure. My parents aren't big on sports. They never recorded when I started."
"Oh. Where are you from?"
"Cool. I'm from Myrtle Beach, actually. My parents own this place."
Corrie spun the ball on her finger.
"Funny, I've never seen you before."
"Yeah, never seen you before, either." He grinned. Corrie's normally calm heart skipped a beat. She glanced at the clock on the wall.
"I should probably get going."
"Yeah, me too. Hey, can I have your number?"
Corrie's cheeks turned a little red, and she gave it to him. "Sure. Same time tomorrow, then?"
Corrie walked away, hiding a smile. After almost eight years of coming to Myrtle Beach, there was finally a kid she could hang with. And that kid liked basketball. Maybe beach vacations weren't going to be so bad after all.
Corrie and Jacob met at the same spot the next day, and he brought a few of his friends with him. They played street ball, P.I.G., and just threw a few layups, each. Corrie couldn't remember, the last time she had had so much fun playong basketball. She spent the evening with her dad, and she told him about the whole street ball hing she had been playing wih the boys. He laughed and told her to have fun, and work on her free throws for hr next game. That day was her dad's last day, and so he left thr next morning. After her sister drove her back from the airport, she went to her their room to take a shower before she went to play basketball. Her shower was really kind of short, but she didn't want to be late to the court.
When she left the bathroom, she heard her mother's voice and a man's voice laughing together in the room. She turned the corner and found one of the worst sights sonce Chellsie Sands had broken her ankle at a championship game.
Corrie's own mother was sitting on the couch holding hands with her boss. It was like lightning had struck right in front of Corrie's face. She cried out;
Her mother turned and said,
"Oh, hi sweetheart."
"Wha....who...Mom...why...what are you doing..."
"Honey, this may come as a shock to you, but your father and I have decided to split--"
"What?! No, I don't believe you. You can't do that....to us.....ugh, I'm late...."
Corrie ran outside the suite and down the stairs, her shocks pounding on the stairs. She ran to the court, and realized she had been crying. Crying always came as a shock to Corrie, because, she never even thought about crying until, unconciously, she was.
When she got to the court, she was actually early. So she took a deep breath and sat down on the bleachers. Tears kept running down her face as she thought about everything that had led up to her mother's dishonesty. The fight, the phone conversation...she thought about what was going to happen to her and her sister. Her father's job was time consuming, and knowing her mother, she would move to Las Vegas or something......
It was just then that she realized Jacob was standing next to her. She wiped her cheeks and dried her eyes. She was about to apologize, but Jacob sat down next to her.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"How 'bout after we play some?"
Jacob smiled and picked up the basketball.
After a few passes, Corrie stopped.
"Where are your friends?"
"They all decided not to come today. I think you'd be glad about that, huh? Don't want them to see your crying face."
Jacob cleared his throat.
"You wanna know what happened, don't you?" Corrie looked at him.
"Well, yeah, I wanna know what's wrong with one of my best friends."
Corrie's head snapped up. "I'm one of your best friends?"
"Yeah, you didn't get that?"
"Well, no......um....I...I guess I never really thought of it.."
"W-well, you're actually more than a friend, really..." Jacob's cheeks turned pink.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well, I like you.....um....how do I say this.....you're....hot?"
Corrie laughed. "Wait, you were serious?"
"Well, yeah.....you're hot.....um....you're one heck of a basketball player......you're funny...."
"Well, if you must know, my parents have been fighting a lot lately. And my dad was going to spend all three days here, but, business got in the way, so he left this morning. So I took a shower after he left and when I came out of the bathroom......well....my....mom..." Corrie's voice broke. She took a deep breath and turned away from him. "My mom was sitting on the couch with her boss. Holding hands. She acted like it was normal, so I left and ran down here. Before I knew it, I was crying. It's kind of funny......I never notice I want to cry until I am crying..."
She turned back around. Jacob was standing closer.
"I'm really sorry...." He looked down at her. "That must suck for you, man. What are you going to do?"
"Well, I don't know if my dad knows yet. My sister has always been my mother's little pet, so they'll probably go live in Vegas somewhere.....I don't know....."
Before Corrie could react, Jacob hugged her.
She tightened up, like she would on a cold day with no sweats. But then she relaxed and let him hug her. They were like that for about two minutes. Jacob let go, but held her by both hands.
"Sorry about that." He turned red.
"Um....when are you leaving?"
"I......uh....how do I say this.....I'm going to.....miss you?"
"And I'm going to miss you too........"
Jacob hugged her again. Corrie hugged back this time. She never thought she would find herself hugging some hot basketball player in Myrtle Beach, of all places.
Jacob drew back, and looked Corrie straight in the eyes. His head bent down towards hers, but then stopped.
"So, do you like me, or what?" he whispered.
"How about yes?" Corrie smiled.
Jacob bent down again, but chickened out and hugged her. This time it was more of a hold: Corrie's insides tingled.
They said goodbye, but Corrie walked away feeling a little bit sad and a little, teeny weeny bit disappointed....
Corrie turned around. Jacob lifted her chin and kissed her. Corrie's eyes closed and a million thoughts ran through her head. Jacob hugged her for the last time.
The buzzer sounded. Randy, Corrie, Chellsie, Eden, and Lauren stood in center court with the Jefferson Wildcats logo under their feet and on the ball in Lauren's hands. The opposing team, wearing their red uniforms, approached Jefferson's eighth grade girls team. The referee followed them.
The ball was batted to the Reds's side. A blonde number 20 passed the ball to a redheaded number 13. Lauren stole it in mid pass, and dribbled down to the net. Corrie faked out her opponent and got open around the basket. She caught the ball in mid-throw from Lauren and stuffed it in the basket for the first points of the game.
There were four minutes left in the last quarter, the score tied, 24-24. Chellsie's asthma was taking a turn for the worst. Erin wasn't feeling as chipper as she had been at the beginning of the game. Chellsie was replaced by Breanna
Joyce, while Erin went in and out of the game, trading with Mackenzie Anderson. Randy, Lauren, and Corrie were the only ones left standing from the first five. The Reds had played a tough game.
Corrie's coach called in a huddle.
"We can beat these guys. You need to dig deep and find that heart in you. I know all of you have the talent for this. But, down to business. Randy, Lauren, Corrie, Mackenzie and Breanna: play it easy, but firm, the first minute. After that, go as hard as you possibly can. This is what you have trained for. This is how you get to the top. Fight hard, play fair. Go get 'em!"
Corrie ran out to the court, where the referee was waiting.
Lauren batted the ball towards her team's net, and unfortunately one of the Reds lunged for it. The ball hit her and bounced off of Randy to Corrie, who caught it and ran towards her net. One minute had passed. Corrie kicked in her unknown fourth gear. She felt like a human machine. She shot at the basket. It went in. It was now 26-24. Two minutes had passed. The redhead scored again, tying it up to 26-26. There was a minute left to go. Corrie's muscles were getting more and more tired. There was some unlucky shots by the Red team, and then one that finally went in. So now the score was 28-26. Twenty seconds left to go. Corrie got the ball from Randy. She dribbled down the court and faked a layup; instead, she passed it to Lauren and then ran around to the other side of the net. Lauren threw it back to Corrie. Ten seconds left. Corrie dribbled away from the hoop and then faked out the redhead and went around her to the net. Five seconds left. Corrie dodged the blonde Red and went in for another layup. After her launch, Corrie felt a sudden twinge in her foot, through her ankle. Time seemed to go in slow motion after that. Corrie lifted the ball up and thrust it in with two seconds left. She looked in to the crowd and saw Jacob, sitting in the bleachers. Her body went into shock mode. Her hurting ankle hit the gym floor and buckled underneath the pressure. It rolled and the blonde landed on top of her. The blonde rolled off, but Corrie's ankle was purple.
She laid down on her back and tried to get up, but couldn't. Her teammates ran over.
"Are you okay?"
Corrie laid her head back on the gym floor. She had won the game for them. Her head rolled to the side where Jacob was sitting. She saw him, but he was standing. She motioned for him to come down. He ran down the bleachers to her. She reached out her hand and he pulled her off the ground. She stood on her good foot. He hugged her, and when she pulled out of it, she noticed tear stains on his shirt.
"Oh, great, was I crying?" Corrie grinned.
"No, you were hurt. That doesn't count." Jacob wiped them off her cheeks. By this time, the families were out on the court and the whole gym floor was crowded.
"Come on, Corrie. Let's get a doctor." Corrie's coah and all of her team except Randy and Lauren went ahead of them to the chairs. Jacob hugged her again and whispered in her ear:
"I love you!" and carried her to the chairs. Her dad came over.
"Dad! I thought you couldn't make it!"
"Hi sweetheart. I am so proud of you. You did beautifully. Take care of that ankle...." He paused. "Well, I got a change. My job is at home now. We're going to live in our same house. Your mother and Amber are going to L.A.. I have to go. Randy's mom will drop you off at home!"
"Bye Dad!" Corrie turned to Jacob.
"What are you doing here?"
"We're moving here. My grandparents took over Myrtle Beach. I'm going to your school."
"Anyway, I'm proud of you. And I want to know what's wrong with your ankle so you can play in your next game."
Corrie laughed. "Call me!" She made the phone sign with her hand.
Jacob grinned and made a heart with his hands.
For as if the first time, Corrie noticed Randy staring at her.
"No, not technically......"
The coach walked towards her with a doctor, fighting crowds of congratulating families. Her ankle's swelling had died down, but the pain was still present. Lauren brought Corrie's bag over to her.
"Corrie, I think someone's trying to call you, because your bag
Corrie opened the bag and picked up her white iPhone.
Jacob was calling her.
"Hi! What's up?"
"They got the doc working on me right now. The swelling went down, but it still really hurts."
"Well, get better. They really need you out there."
"How much of that game did you see?"
"All of it."
"Oh." Corrie winced.
"What!? You did fine."
"Whatever." Corrie grinned.
"No, really." The doctor looked up.
"Hold on a minute, Jacob, the doc's got news." Corrie took the phone off her ear.
"Ok, here's what happened. You stretched a ligament in your ankle and you sprained it. Your ankle should be healed by your next game, but time will tell whether you are ready on that ligament."
Corrie shifted in her seat. "How bad's the sprain?"
"Well; it could have been worse, which is the good news. But it also could've been better if the other girl hadn't have landed on it. You should be better by next game, but no practice whatsoever until it has completely healed. You'll be on crutches in school on Monday, though. Rest, ice and elevation is the advice I can give you." He picked up his things and walked away.
Corrie returned to her iPhone.
"I'll be alright probably just in time for the next game. It's a srretched ligament and a sprained ankle. I'll be ok. Now I have to text my dad."
"Ok....I guess I should go, then. Love you, bye."
As Corrie texted her dad, she thought about what she had gained in the past few days. Her mother was gone now, out of her life. Corrie missed her, but she didn't miss having a dishonest person in her home. And she had gained her father back. And she had gained a new friend; oh, and a stretched ligament and a sprained ankle. Oh well.