Amazing Kids! Magazine

Basketball Blues

By Sarah Comer

 

“Bounce” I was balanced on my toes bouncing the ball like a toy on springs. The air was cold and crisp. I could smell the cold storm forming above me. My crisp hands could feel every ridge, every crevice, every imperfection of the ball that was resting ever so lightly on my motionless finger tips. I breathed in and released. The ball twirled around the frosted rim before falling back down to the damp pavement. I let go of the breath I forgot I was holding in and sulked back over to the ball to repeat the actions all over again. The ball looked at me in pity as I crouched down to retrieve it. I retreated back to the blue chalk line I had drawn earlier that day in hopes of perfecting my shooting form. I felt the divots lining the drab damp ball as I set up for another shot. Two bounces. One step. Two bounces. One step. My knees were stiffly bent and my back remained arched. I glanced up to see I was perfectly in line with the hoop. I could feel the stormy wind tickling my neck. I breathed in the wet air and released. I peeked up with hope in my eyes believing that this was the one the one that would finally go in. But, like the last time, I obtained defeat when the ball fell to the ground crashing in to the cold firm pavement. I was crushed.

“If I can’t make that shot then there’s no use in trying. I’ll just be disappointed again. There’s no use. I’ll never be able to make a three-point shot and who cares!” I was done with attempting to make a basket I just couldn’t make. I picked up the ball and sulked towards the rack of basketballs. Then I suddenly heard a voice. A happy, easygoing, carefree, everything’s going to be okay kind of voice. I glanced behind me quickly to see who it was. My eyes met with my older brother Nick’s eyes and his smile quickly disappeared from his face.

“Are you going inside?” He questioned.

“Yeah. What’s the point of standing out here when I’ve already tried and failed?” I responded solemnly.

“No!” He eagerly responded. “You have to keep shooting! I’m going to stand out here until you make your shots.”

“I’ve tried I’m just not strong enough to get it there!” I complained.

“I don’t believe that. You’re strong enough to get that scrawny ball to the hoop.” He said pointing at the icy hoop that stood behind us. He reached for my hand and escorted me back to the dreary line that was atop the solid concrete. A ball was abruptly positioned in my hands. I could feel Nick’s soothing voice advising me on where to put my hands. A breath in. A breath out. I gaze up to the basket and freed the ball from my strained grip. It floated through the air as if it would go on forever. I scrunch my eyes, fearful that if I let myself look I would ruin the surprise. Reluctantly I glanced through my eyelids to see the ball crash to the ground. I turned around and began to mope towards the door.

“Seriously. You’re just going to leave. Just like that you’re done with even trying?” Nick spat at me in disgust.

“What do you want me to do? Stand out here and toss a ball into the air just to be brought down again and again. I’d much rather be inside!” I snapped at him. Instantly I regretted snapping at him. He was only trying to help and be a good brother, but I was brisk and tired. I wanted to go inside and curl up to the soft cozy couch and watch a movie. I wanted to trade in my shivers for a nice relaxing night inside. But Nick had other plans. He took my hand and realigned me with the basket. I crouched down into position and breathed in a deep breath.

Wait! You’re doing this all wrong. You’re crouched down to close to the ground. And your hands are completely lopsided.” He adjusted my form and lined my hips up so I was facing the basket. Two bounces. One step. Two bounces. One step. I scrunch my eyes shut and hoped that I would make a single basket so I could escape the adverse storm that I could feel was about to arrive. I released the ball and watched hopefully as it flowed through the air. The spin was perfect. The angle was perfect. The height of the ball was even perfect. I could feel my giddy heart rising up inside of me. I braised for the feeling of accomplishment that would soon be filling me up inside. Brick. I watched as all of my hope disappeared from inside of me. Brick. I bricked my shot on the base of the basket. Nevertheless, Nick insisted on continuing the tedious act. I picked up the ball and retreated haltingly back to my line. Two bounces. One step. Two bounces. One step. Release. I repeated the endless process continuously with Nick stepping in every once and awhile to adjust my form. I felt the constant brisk wind swirling around me and screeching in my ears. I had been outside in the cold for almost forty-five minutes and could feel my fingers starting to go numb. Begging wasn’t something I tended to do often, but at this point I was desperate and would try anything to relieve myself from the cold.

“Nick can I please just go inside. I’m cold and this isn’t even helping.”

“No we’re not going inside until you make your shot.” I gave in and continued to shoot. I kept a close eye out for the perilous storm that was evident above us. I tried to relax but my frigid knees were trembling from the cold. I took a deep breath in a concentrated on my shooting form. I sprang up from my position and released the ball. I watched helplessly as it danced through the air towards the basket. I watched as it swished through the glossy delicate net. I leaped into the air satisfaction. I saw a smile creep on to my brother’s face. My heart was warm shielding my body from the cold alfresco. We strolled to the door and released it’s bundled in warmth into the coldness outside. We squished into the couch and piled snug blankets onto ourselves

We were finally out of the cold and I had learned my new shooting form! However, that wasn’t all I learned from that day. I also learned an extremely valuable lesson from my brother. He taught me that even if you don’t succeed at first you have to continue to try. You won’t always be the best, you have to work in order to be the best version of yourself. Hard work and determination have always been qualities of my brother, but that day he passed them to me as well. Now, whether I’m sitting in class or lining up at the free throw line, I remember my brother teaching me how to persevere through what’s tough in order to achieve your goals. I will never forget how Nick helped me that day because he gave me new skills to help me be a better person. I use the perseverance and persistence he showed me every day.