Last night was my first HYBA basketball game. I had not played in a real game for two years, and was anxiously awaiting our tip-off at 8 o’clock. I knew several of my teammates from school and playing ball at the rec center, but didn’t know how we would mesh during a game with rules and referees. Then there were the random players that would be assigned to our team that I had never met before, and the coach, who I heard liked to yell. My shot was falling when we played basketball in gym, so my confidence grew. Our coach wanted us to come early for the game so we could discuss strategy. I arrived at the high school gym before everyone else, but I didn’t mind because my friend’s team was playing. We were going to play them next, so I did a little scouting. After watching five minutes of turnovers, offensive rebounds, and overall sloppy play by both teams, I breathed a sigh of relief. Everyone on the court looked like they hadn’t played a real basketball game in two years! Even my friend who had made varsity for our high school basketball team! Slowly players from both teams trickled into the sparsely occupied gym. It was obvious that not many spectators were expected, because only half the bleachers were rolled out. Finally the coach arrived and passed out jerseys. I got a good look at my team and was surprised to see almost everyone was tall. My friend on the team, the coach’s son, had told me I would play forward, my natural position, but after seeing my teammates I wasn’t sure. The game before ours went down to the wire, but my friend’s team escaped with a one point win. Our coach called us over and told us the starting lineup, and then it was time for the tip-off. Somehow I was the person jumping, yet I was playing guard. The game started slowly as my team tried to get a feel for how the game was going to go. By halfway through the first half we were clicking though, hustling alongside teammates who had been total strangers just minutes before, as if we had been playing together for years. The other team didn’t stand a chance. My shot was on and so was everyone else’s. After every made basket or good defensive stop everyone on the court congratulated each other and the players on the bench cheered. Later in the game, one of our players was fouled hard and my team erupted in anger, ready to fight for our teammate even though we barely knew him. We easily closed out our inferior competition for our first win of the season and left the gym together, teammates united by our passion for basketball.
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