10 Points


"That's it folks, looks like your Summerville Jade Jaguars couldn't pull off the win tonight," the announcer calls over the PA system.

People begin to flow out of the gym as the teams shake hands and head to the locker room. I sneak out through the other side, choosing to exit through the classrooms instead. I only scored ten points tonight, I'm never going to hear the end of it. Through all the people telling me good game, I could hear the sarcasm. I'm the star player, scouts come to my games, the team follows my lead and I didn't perform tonight.

I know what's coming, everyone looks at me like I committed a crime for the next few days. Then when the next game comes they'll be looking at me for redemption. They act like there's nothing in this town other than basketball, at least until Football season rolls around. Then they've got something else to look forward to, some other star player to crush after one bad performance. 

I can go to the locker room any time, I just make my way through the halls until I'm outside the front entrance. Nobody is there except dad waiting in the car. He knows where I go after bad games, nobody else does. I get in, not worried about his car smelling like sweat and defeat.

"Don't do this moping shit again," Dad starts. "You can only be as good as you. They live with it or they don't. You graduate in 7 months. What are they going to do then?"

Dad is always blunt, but he means well, even if it doesn't come out that way. I'm grateful for the advice he gives me, but it never really makes me feel better until later. Still, I'm glad he tries and never puts pressure on me. Most dads who ended their pro careers because of injury would push their kids hard, but he never did. Because of that, I push myself harder, to make him proud.

"Let's go some milkshakes," he says starting the car.

"No, take me to the park, I wan to put up some extra shots," I respond. "I need the practice."

"Nope, we're getting milk shakes and watching a movie. Your mom already has the popcorn ready."

I guess I don't get a choice in the matter, I'm not mad about it. I hope it's a good movie.

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