|Triumph (standard:drama, 876 words)|
|Author: Lawless||Added: Mar 17 2001||Views/Reads: 2296/4||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A story of two brothers, basketball, and a happy ending even after a tragic loss.|
Triumph For over a year before we headed off to college, my brother and I lived with our Grandmother following the death of our parents. Life was never the same for us after our parents' death. Still our basketball games often were wins, but they didn't seem to have any value without our Mother and Father standing in the bleachers cheering us on. Our senior year we led our team to the state championship for the second straight season. This time with a 16-3 record in the regular season we earned the number-one seed in the playoffs. It was a boost to have the press following us, and it was a grand celebration to be winning games, but we had no deep inspiration without our most spirited fans. If you had attended a Wildcat game our sophomore year and then once again our senior year - besides the quality of play that grew as we grew - you would have thought you were watching two different teams. Our parents gave their all in the stands, they created a 'following' with each crowd, during each and every game. They loved to watch their two sons play basketball. It was their passion, second only to their love for each other. We won the state championship our senior year, but the games always seemed quieter without our parents in the crowd. With Drew averaging over 34 points a game and me pulling down nearly 21 rebounds a game we had virtually an unstoppable front court. This year it would be a game of revenge. Following last year's loss, this year we would face the same team again in the state finals. Southwestern High had three all-Americans on their team, and held the state's longest winning-streak ever. They had not lost a contest in over 3 and a half seasons. Drew and I had been on fire all year, helping to earn our Wildcats a spot in the playoffs. Much of our success, of course, was due to Drew's ability to score at will, and my strong defense. When we arrived at the finals Southwestern put their stars up against us, and it was the first time that we had ever faced players that gave us some competition. We lost by three points when the final buzzer sounded, and Drew sat on the bench fouled-out and cursing like a wino outside a liquor store on a Sunday. We met them again our senior year. We were each a year older, and a year stronger. They had lost one of their all-stars to graduation, but they had kept two. My brother and I had been selected as all-Americans as well that year. The matchup had been created by the state borders, but to everyone in attendance it seemed to have been created by a higher power. From the opening tip-off, to the 12 straight points that Drew scored by himself in the second overtime, the game was an incredible event. My brother's saying was identical before every game, "Jimbo, just get the ball and give it to me." He was right, it always seemed to work out. We won the game 112-109. We had broken Southwestern's 4 year winning streak, and taken our spot high atop the "basketball-mountain." With one of Drew's silky crossovers he had left his defender 'stuck' on the right as he swiftly cut to his left and raised a three-ball. Up, and then towards the basket it went. I knew the play even before the ref's whistle blew. When the games were on the line, coach only had one guy that he wanted to have that ball. Jeff Mitchell inbounded the ball from half court with only 4 and a half seconds to go, I already knew the outcome. I was supposed to box-out down below the basket for a second chance, if the ball missed and came off the rim. But I stood below the basket waiting for the confetti to rain down, because I knew that my brother's shot was going to fall. I thought about working a position for a possible rebound, but I chose instead to watch the play unfold. When I saw Andrew put the ball on the floor and then I saw that guy get shook, I just laughed softly to myself thinking about all the times in our driveway at home that I had been that guy. I held the trophy high above my head in honor, showing the crowd what we had done. Drew snipped the net from off the rim before he too held our prize above his head in honor. We dedicated our game to our parents, and even chuckled quietly when Coach reminded us of the tantrum that our Mother had last year at this time when Mark Gordon of Southwestern had hit his magical three-pointer and won the game for them. She yelled at the referees about an offensive foul call, and then argued that the shot had been released after the buzzer; she was a wild one. She knew all the rules, I would joke that she may have known more about the game than even I did. They would be proud, if they were still here, to see their boys that afternoon, triumphant. Tweet
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