Isn’t it always fun to watch the top team lose to a Cinderella? But what if the top team becomes the Cinderella halfway through the season, or through a game. Upsets are the very thing that makes sports so fun to watch and participate in. Even if the sport is in a local gym in Oakland. No cameras or glory, barely enough space for fans to watch a simple game of basketball. But this season of basketball meant the world to me and my friends.
The journey starts off with a close group of friends with a similar passion, basketball. All putting our greatest efforts out there and beat our best friends, but also maintaining a fun and equally competitive game. An opportunity arose when we heard of a basketball league involving other schools from Topeka. It was an opportunity to assemble a team to win the league, and play some competitive ball. The Police Athletic League, otherwise known as PAL, was an intermural league that all but 2 teams took very serious. One team’s reason of defeat was due to being the opposite sex, and the other was because they played just pitiful, but they had fun. We knew to avoid all problems, because beating every team and winning the tournament at the end was all of our determined goals. Bonding our friendship was inevitable because of the amount of time we spent together. Practicing together, hanging out together, and eating all together. What we could accomplish was almost too easy to see. Sadly we were under the impression that pure athleticism and having a nice shot would win us all the ball games. When we practiced we didn’t even play full court, why waste energy when you’re going to blow every team out of the gym by 40 points.
The night before our first game I found myself watching exciting dunks and top highlights of the night on Sports Center. The topic tonight was Eric Gordon who had a stellar performance scoring 32 points and despite being down he brought his team back and won with a buzzer beater. His advice to younger players “Take every possession seriously.” That was a big factor into our first loss. Reality set in that we had to value the ball, play as a team and use your team. It didn’t hit us until halfway through our mediocre season. Practice started to become more frequent, and the attendance grew. Attitudes changed for the better, we stopped playing for ourselves and refocused on the goal of winning. Thus, the winning formula started. We needed every next game to get into the playoffs. Those including teams that previously beat us by double digits. We remained confident and determined as we sailed by every team left on our season schedule. We had our team figured out, we knew what to do; finally, to win the tournament.
Our first game was against an old friend who played sensational, despite his efforts we had beat them in a game that needed all teammates tuned in and aware of their situation. We were headed to the championship! Celebration is mandatory with this kind of news and that night there was a party....