Sunday, July 18, 2010
The Perfect Shot
The sound of the ball bouncing off the old wooden floor echoed in the gym as I dribbled down the court with only a few seconds left in the game. As I approached the half court line the defensive onslaught started and I passed the ball off. I received the ball back and instantly made a brake for the goal and was fouled, but the shot went in! We were now one point down and there were three seconds on the clock. The question of what to do now exposed itself with a resounding pulse in my fingertips that were full of blood being cursed by the veins that carried it and it’s straining pressure. Do I make the free throw and have a chance to go into over-time, or miss and plan on the rebound being awarded us, and a shot to win. The coach signaled for me to miss the shot…. I knew he would because of his young ambition. As I lined up for the shot, the gym was so quiet you could hear a pin drop and then the opponents started to yell and scream with the intensity of a space shuttle launch. I shot the ball as planned. It rolled of my fingers effortlessly and headed for the rim. When the two collided it sounded like someone had hit the edge of a huge bass drum with a baseball bat. The ball made a quick jump back in my direction. I jumped and caught my own rebound and looked to the clock for the most important of all information, the time. One second just went off, and the tenths were starting to roll off like rocks down a steep hill. I dribbled and took a few steps towards the paint. I jumped and then released the ball with only a couple of ticks left, then the horn sounded like an alarm for a tornado drill, or some other emergency. The game had ended with the ball still live after my shot. If it goes in we win, if not then we lose. The ball had rolled off my hand perfectly with the groves gripping my fingertips like tape and the arch was perfect like a surgeon with his scalpel, and the shot looked textbook. It was the most important shot of my young life, and it seemed to take place in slow motion as the crowd now silenced watched the ball headed for its target spinning backwards in perfect harmony with the air. The crowd screamed.