A not so simple game

Kyle - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports
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Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I play basketball. I play too celebrate the weekend, I play to forget the failed math test, I play to play.

On the basketball court my concerns in the world seem to melt away-it is just my teammates, my opponents, and me. A breathe of fresh air in today’s polluted world. There are no such things as due dates and college applications, just a group of men doing what they want.

Everyday on the news we hear stories of dissent within all levels of society, but the basketball court is unique. It is a forum where the goal of one is the goal of all with no discrepancies and no variations – to win.

The first time I stepped onto the court at Lincoln Middle School for a basketball game I showed up five minutes late. My friends, being the great people they are, thoughtfully repaid me by putting me on a team with the four strangers they persuaded to play with us. My team was of all-star caliber as it consisted of four promising players: a skater with jeans two sizes too big, a gawky six foot kid stumbling over his own legs, and two know-it-all brothers busy fighting amongst themselves. If only I had come five minutes earlier.

However, my opinion quickly changed as our outmatched team, athletically at least, quickly got on the same page and played for the ultimate goal of a victory. I felt part of something special. It was as if my teammates were not the strangers I had met moments before, but my very friends standing in our way. As I cut to the basket the ball found its way into my hands every time. As I was trapped my teammates moved to the open passing lanes. Everything was synchronized, everything was smooth.

This is when I learned to believe in pick up basketball. Nothing else in my life has connected me with others as quickly and as easily as basketball has, and I believe nothing every will. I believe in the bonds basketball creates between strangers as they strive for a common goal, knowing that goal can only be met as a team. Merely playing with my friends would have left me void of this experience, so luckily punctuality and I are like peas in two different pods.