The Weight of Expectations | Teen Ink

The Weight of Expectations

October 9, 2019
By johnjensen BRONZE, Temperance, Michigan
johnjensen BRONZE, Temperance, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Expectations hover around you every second of your life. You may not always see them but they are there. An infinite game of hide and seek awaits you at every time of your life.

The creak from the gym doors echoes up into the rafters and vanishes. The fluorescent lights administer a piercing white light that engulfs the gym. Basketballs lay scattered throughout the gym, like lost pets. I sit down, put on my shoes, and prepare to get to work. The court is like an empty canvas waiting to be painted with all sorts of moves, cuts, and scores. As I dribble the ball, the gym is filled with repetetive thuds of the ball hitting the hardwood, then coming back like a yo yo. For a split second, there is silence. The ball arcs through the air, like a bird returning to its nest. All net. A swoosh echoes throughout the gym, and that marks the end of the night. Feeling tired yet satisfied, I pack up and head home.

Later at night, a thick black encases the room. The drone of the fan fills the room with a monotonous buzz. A few lights can be seen out of the window and the silhouette of the trees stand tall on the skyline. Various items, shoes, a basketball, clothes, lay scattered on the floor. I cannot sleep. Thoughts of failure and disappointment run rampant in my mind. What if I am not good enough? What if I get on the court and cannot keep up with the competition? These thoughts keep me up until I finally fade into a heavy sleep.

The next day I awake to the shrill tone of my alarm. I go through my routine and before I am fully awake, I am sitting in a classroom. The day goes by like a blur. I can barely remember what happened that day, as I was too focused on the upcoming game. Walking into the locker room with a straight face, I begin to change into my uniform. I am tall, around 6’3”. My brown hair sits atop my head parted to the right. My jersey is tucked into my shorts evenly and my feet are held inside a nice pair of sneakers. I am ready for the game.

The arena is full of chants from fans, commands shouted by coaches, and the on court trash talk between teams. Squeaks from shoes rubbing on the wood floor break through the deafening roar of the arena. Each team sprints up and down the floor, attacking the basket and scoring at every opportunity they get.

Eventually, I get the ball in the paint. Feeling out the defense, I clutch the ball at my chest like my life depends on it. I turn lightning quick towards the basket, beating my defender. I fake the shot, and he jumps sky high in an attempt to send my shot out of the building. As I see him sail by, I laugh a little in my head. He has given me a free basket. I explode off the ground with the rim in my sights. Just when I believe I will be able to gingerly  lay the ball in, I see a defender launch himself towards me. I brace for impact and let the ball gently kiss of the backboard. I hear the sharp sound of the whistle as I fall to the earth, almost in slow motion. The ball rattles around the rim, then falls into the cylinder. And one. The crowd erupts with joy as I head to the line to sink the freethrow.

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