Embarrassmonth: Perhaps The Worst Basketball Player Ever
I am sitting on the bench, preoccupying myself with the sights and sounds around me, per usual. The cheerleaders are whispering to each other, but certainly not about me. John just scored another basket and is running down the court, keeping pace with the opposing point guard. I think that was his 20th point. His dad, our coach, cheers but still scolds him for not using correct form. And once again, every other player’s entered the game except me. I wonder if Mom and Dad have noticed. I wonder how they work through their shame. Their 12-year-old son can’t play basketball worth a darn.
I look down at my Nike shoes and notice a scuff. I lick my hand and start rubbing the scuff off when all the sudden I feel a jab on my shoulder.
“Rennels! Hey, look!” my friend Aaron says, pointing up. There stands coach with a scowl on his face and a clipboard in his hand. He is pointing towards the court. I can’t hear him over the buzzers and cheerleaders but it seems he’s telling me to get in. First time all year.
I jump up and run to my position. Or what I think is my position. I sure hope this is my position. I look down at my shoes, checking for that scuff, and in the background the buzzer sounds. By the time I look up an orange object is sailing towards me. I reach my hand up to touch it but it’s too late, the basketball is sailing past. And there’s John, the coach’s son, holding his hands in the air and dropping his jaw.
“Come on, Rennels!” he yells. I look up at my parents in the stands but barely get a chance to see them among all the long, solemn faces. But I’m sure their heads are hung lower than anyone’s. The whole room’s moving in slow motion. “Bill! You’re in for Rennels!” I hear the coach say. I trot off the court and take my seat back on the bench, back where I belong. So I fidget with my shoelaces as the game resumes.
Meanwhile, the cheerleaders begin to whisper and giggle. This time about me.