Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Chapter 2

Chapter 2: The Game
            The blog was racking up views—no one could deny that.  It had only been 3 months and they’d already broken 10,000.  But that was the least of Jake’s concerns at this point.  Tonight was the first Friday night basketball game.
            Of course, Jake knew he probably wouldn’t play.  It was a miracle he even made the team in the first place.  Every year, the 12 best players in the school made the varsity basketball team.  This year, it was 13.
            So, there they stood, in the doorway that led to the main court.  The last few seconds ticked off the clock as JV secured their first victory of the season.  Both teams shook hands and finally, the music started to play out of the surround sound speakers.  It was quiet at first; they waited impatiently as the Green Lantern theme music crescendoed, and finally they burst onto the court in a flurry that was met by the cheers of a surprisingly eager fan-base for their tiny, progressive school.
            This was Jake’s favorite part of the game.  It always had been.  Warm-ups were the only time that he knew for sure he’d be on the court.  Everyone was watching as they went through layup lines.  All Jake was thinking was: don’t miss.  And tonight, for once, he didn’t—he made every single layup he took.  He even managed to put a few three-pointers through the bottom of the net in front of the home crowd, before they huddled up one more time, and the buzzer sounded for the game to begin.
            This particular game was relatively uneventful.  They were up by 12 or so in the fourth when the crowd started a chant that they’d never heard before.  “We want Jake!  We want Jake!”  He was almost shocked to hear the fans acknowledge his existence, despite the fact that he knew he’d done a great job filling up water cups and serving as the third assistant coach on the bench all game.
            The head coach, Jason, one of Jake’s mentors turned and smiled.  He pointed right at Jake—it was time.  He ripped off his warm-up jersey and took a knee by the scorer’s table.  The buzzer sounded once again and he walked onto the court.  The fans applauded Jason for actually putting Jake into the game.  The other team brought the ball up the court and Jake played defense like he’d never played before.  They missed a shot and Dylan grabbed the rebound.  He passed the outlet to Mike who charged down the court on the fast break.

Jake was waiting in the corner and Mike found him, open for three.  He caught the pass, squared up, jumped in the air, and released.  For a brief moment he thought it might actually go in.  Air ball.  The crowd groaned in disappointment.  A couple possessions later the final buzzer sounded, marking their first home victory of the season.  As they high-fived after the game, Jake gave Jason a sheepish grin.  He was ready to reassume his role on the bench for the following game.