The Trainee

by Dawn Hunter

For what it was worth, the Junior Varsity coach gave me all the respect I felt I DESERVED AND MORE.  From the very beginning, he let me know that I’d be starting every game.  The assistant coach even volunteered his time to give me specialized one-on-one training on request but only immediately following our mandatory practice.  It was then that I did everything I could to surpass the threshold between Junior and Varsity.  My goal for that year had been to reach the next level, and from there continue to climb upward. Continue reading “The Trainee”

Bench-warmer

by Dawn Hunter

My teammates dominated the court at every turn.  The opposing team didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of defeating them, and I felt some awkward team spirit about it all, being the one player who’d been slighted beyond what should have been acceptable.  I spent the whole season on the bench, watching as peers no more talented than I played from tipoff until the final buzzer, their breaks scarce.  And when those moments finally did come, I had learned not to rise from my seat, even marginally, in anticipation for the coach to summon me onto the court. Continue reading “Bench-warmer”

Crosswalk

by Dawn Hunter

“It’s fine, Mom,”  I lie while deflecting her approaching hand.  She retreats, albeit marginally, and frowns.

“It’s not fine, Derek.  This isn’t the first time you’ve come home like this.  What have those boys been doing to you?”

“It’s nothing,”  I repeat, darting up the stairs.  She follows, but only to the bottom of the staircase where she listens for the all-too-familiar sound of me entering my room, closing the door and locking it.  She knows it’s pointless to come after me now.  I won’t be out until dinner.  Even then, I can’t give her the answers. Continue reading “Crosswalk”

Pusher

by Dawn Hunter

Three of my players have already been put out of the game on injuries.  The Bears play fiercely, highly offensive, and destructive to boot.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they had been awarded their mascot only after punishing the enemy team.  I can see each foul coming from a mile away, but then I have the advantage of not being on the court.  My range outdoes any of the players.  Still, it frustrates me that they haven’t gotten the picture yet. Continue reading “Pusher”