The eighth grade steal

When I described some of my experiences of playing basketball in public school (find that here), I described a moment when I made a steal. I wasn’t sure if it had been during seventh or eighth grade, but as I reread my eighth grade journal I discovered an entry. Here, in all of its glory, is my rendition of what happened.

I’ve never been one to describe myself as a great storyteller. Mostly as a matter of struggling to figure out what details to include and what to leave out, not having that natural sense of how to dramatize a moment verbally. But it’s a different kind of thing when writing it out. I can write out what I want, rather than trying to gauge how a story is being received in the moment, attempting to make spontaneous adjustments.

Journal entry: 2.9.98
Today is our last basketball game. I was so surprised to see my brother, mom and all these cute guys in the crowd. My heart was beating so fast. I knew that I wanted to impress them soo much. During the second quarter, we went into a man-to-man defense full court. I hated that to an extreme. No matter how hard I try, I never seem to be able to keep up. While I was guarding my man, she had the ball and I stopped her from dribbling any farther. She was trying to pass the ball to a team member when it happened. I tipped the ball that was right in front of me and went speeding down the court for a fast break with the ball. Within seconds I was getting ready for a lay-up when BAM! I get fouled. Oh man I was happy now! That drive was so much fun. Well, I swished my first shot right down the middle, but my second shot was a little off. That’s okay, I still had my self-esteem and my adrenaline pumping!

During the third quarter, we were still in man-to-man on defense. On offense, we are in a 1-2-2. I’m supposed to screen down, but there’s no one there and I’m wide open! Our point guard sees this, passes me the ball, I take a dribble and score the first two points in the third quarter. Oh yeah! Now the crowd’s going wild. Well, after I made my last two points in the game, the tragedy begins. A girl from the other team talks to the ref and I notice that my right hand is red and so is the court. My fore-finger hand started bleeding and I hadn’t even noticed! Mr. Kneece takes me into the office to clean me up and in follows one of those guys I mentioned before. He said he wanted to help, I was about to melt! After I’m bandaged up again, I go back to the bench and watch the rest of the game. I was so proud of myself for sticking out the season.

**The referenced injury: A few weeks earlier, I had an unfortunate encounter with a burning candle in my bedroom that resulted in second degree burns. I had to miss at least a full week of basketball practice and games as I waited for the resulting blister to pop on its own. It was tough to be in a position of wanting to play but not being able to. Apparently during this game, the injury was still in the process of healing and had become agitated

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