Listening to: Lose Yourself by Eminem
Happiness is what each one of us hopes for. Each thing a person everyone does is somehow related to them being happy. We work so we can be happy. We eat the foods we like so we can be happy. We spend time with our friends and family so we can be happy. A few times in everyone’s life they have those moments of pure happiness that all you can do is hold on to them as long as you can.
Friday, February 13, 2007 Morning
The next day was one of those days as a high school student that everyone lives for, a Friday off with a big basketball game at night. I woke up at about 11 so I could be at the school for shoot around at noon. I rode there with giraffe and we talked about how ridiculous some of the people were being the night before. We were hoping everyone was going to be ready to go for the game tonight either way.
We got to the school and headed for the gym right on time. We walk in and coach immediately asks us where Chiefy is. We have no idea, for all we know he could still be passed out. We all wait for a little while, but eventually are forced to start our walkthrough.
After about a half hour, Cheify and his brother walk into the gym with a bag of McDonalds eating hash browns.
Coach flipped out. Yelling at him about how he is a senior and one of the leaders on the team and that he expects more from him. We had a captains’ meeting with coach to decide what to do about Chiefy’s tardiness. We eventually decided that he would have to run for it the first practice after the game, but he would get to play that night. We all knew that we needed him if we were going to beat a team as tough as Batavia.
We all headed home after shoot around; since we had no school that day there was no reason to stick around. I tried to take a nap when I got home, but I couldn’t fall asleep because all I could think about was how much fun and how intense the game was going to be that night. After a few hours of just sitting at my house waiting anxiously for game time; I finally got up and got dressed for the game. I walked out to my car and all I could think about was the game still. This was going to one of the most fun games of my life. We went into the game with a chance to lock up second place in our conference and keep a chance of finishing first ahead of Batavia alive by beating them. It was going to be no easy task as they were undefeated going into the game with 20 wins already.
I got to the school and the parking lot was already littered with cars. My suspense was building, I knew that this game was going to be packed tonight and maybe the biggest crowd I had ever played in front of. I snuck in the backdoor of the locker room so that I didn’t have to worry about seeing anyone that I would have to stop and talk to. This would let me just focus on the game.
I was the first player to get into the locker room and I just threw my stuff in my locker and sat there for a few minutes. As I sat my teammates started gathering around me. No one was saying anything, the mood was very serious. We all knew how much this game meant, but no one wanted to say it.
After we all were dressed, we prepared to take the court. As we left the tunnel from the locker room and entered the gym, everyone’s attitude changed. The excitement in the air was electric. We were all exactly where we wanted to be. Playing this game, in this gym, in front of everyone we knew.
Prior to the game was our Senior Night celebration. We were already a team that started 5 seniors, so this didn’t really change a whole lot. Usually Senior Night constitutes starting seniors that don’t usually see the floor, but all of our seniors already played big minutes for us. We got to walk out to center court with our parents pre-game to celebrate our last home game in high school. I loved being able to walk out onto that court with my parents, the two people who have made everything in my life possible. I don’t know where I would be without them and I don’t really have a desire to think about it.
After all the seniors were honored, we headed back to the team huddle. As we got ready for the starting lineups, Jeter turned to me with a look that said, “Let’s do this.” I was as ready as he was. After the starting lineups were announced we took the floor. It was one of those moments where I was in a haze. The crowd was loud and pumped for the game to start, but I was just standing at center court and couldn’t hear a thing. The volume of the gym was muffled by my excitement. This was the game I had been waiting my whole life to play.
The game started well with Giraffe winning the opening tip and us scoring a quick basket on a layup by Cheify, immediately proving how valuable to us he was. We struggled for most of the 1st half however, trailing by 7 heading into halftime.
No one said anything for most of halftime. We just sat there, thinking. We knew that we were good enough to win this game, but none of us were playing like it. Finally, someone said, “We can do this” and everyone broke out of their stupor. We huddled up and broke it out on “Win” before we ran back onto the court.
The second half began with us trading baskets for a few minutes. They weren’t pulling away, but we weren’t closing in either. Finally we broke through at the end of the 3rd Quarter. Still trailing by 7, we finally made a run. Cheify got a quick steal for a layup. Then following a stop, Jeter and I hit back-to-back threes giving us a 1 point lead heading into the 4th Quarter.
We didn’t expect to be up at this point in the game, so we were all kind of in shock at how the quarter ended. We were finally having a discussion about holding a lead instead of getting back into the game. We decided to keep the defensive pressure up instead of back off.
That was the key, throughout the 4th Quarter we slowly kept and built our lead. Heading into the final 15 seconds we were up 4 and Batavia had the ball. They put the ball in the hands of their best player who pulled up for a long three and netted it. This put them down just one, but as the ball went through the net and bounced on the floor the game clock expired.
We looked around. We had just won the biggest game of our lives. The crowd began to rush the court. We all were just running around. I found Jeter across the court and he saw me. He ran towards me and we spent about the next 5 minute just jumping and hugging. In a moment like that, there are no words to explain it. Just the feeling of complete happiness is one that most of us with we could hold onto for just a bit longer each time we have it.