He was better than me. Everyone on my team knew it, but it was my job to slow him down. The experts claimed that he was one of the top ten eighth grade basketball players in the United States. He single-handedly tore teams apart and devoured them. No one knew how to stop him. He had all the physical skills to be a legend. He could run faster, jump higher, and he was stronger than me. He beat me in every category except mental strength.
He was a hot head, a loud mouth, an aggressive player that enjoyed humiliating his opponents.
Today was different from all other Sundays; it was championship Sunday. Our previous game against Clackamas was a battle of sweat, elbows, hard fouls, trash talking, and ultimately a disappointing loss. That game was on all our minds as we warmed up. We wanted revenge. Immediately after tip off, I knew this was not going to be easy. “Don’t worry about anything but defense!” yelled Coach Mike.
“When you are in the game, follow number 26 like a dog chasing a ball. Be his shadow. No cheap or dirty tricks. Play non-stop intense defense, all out, every play. Do anything you can to stop him.” The game passed slowly, his anger building every second I guarded him. He machine-gunned profanity at me. He was not going to give up. I was not going to give up. This was going to be the most memorable game of my life. The blast of the horn called the anxious players back onto the court for the fourth and final quarter. Clackamas held a comfortable lead. I was nervous but confident because I knew we had a shot at an upset. I was running on fumes. My throat was parched, my legs ached, and my body was bruised from the hip-checks and elbows that I survived during the first three, painstaking quarters. Though in pain, I knew that I could give my best the last eight minutes.
My opponent slowly dribbled up the court towards me. He casually faked left, then exploded with a sharp crossover to the right. I’ve seen this move before and.
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