YA Fiction Takes New Form in Truth Runner
- Friday, November 15, 2013
Just A Game
Jonah dribbled the basketball across the half-court line, surveying the defense. The ball thudded against the hardwood, but he could barely hear it in the noisy gym. Cheers echoed all around, solely coming from one side of the bleachers. He could hear two words rise above the rest. Shouts of “Peacefield!” mixed with equally loud screams of his name: “Jonah!”
Hearing his name being yelled by the high-pitched voices of high school girls caused a smile to creep across his lips. He had experienced moments like this before—but only in his wildest daydreams.
A loud series of claps from the sidelines drew his eyes. “Come on, Jonah! Let’s go!”
Coach Marty was still as round as a basketball and somehow had managed to squeeze his way into the head coaching position for the boys’ basketball team at Peacefield High. The boys on the team privately joked that they must have given the job to the guy who shouted the loudest. Coach Marty didn’t ever speak in a normal voice—he yelled.
Jonah looked down at the kid guarding him. The kid was crouched down, trying to look intimidating, but he couldn’t hide the fear in his eyes as he looked up at Jonah. Jonah wasn’t exactly surprised by that—he towered over everyone on the court now, having grown another three inches in the past six months.
Jonah made his move. In a blast of blazing speed, he faked to the right. The boy guarding him jumped. Jonah took advantage, pushing past him. The speed he generated with his first two steps put him inside the three-point line. He was almost a blur. Control yourself, Jonah.
A quick scan of the rest of the court let him know that two of his teammates were covered, but the other two were wandering free. Grant Newsome was waving his hands frantically; he was standing right underneath the basket. A pass to him would lead to an easy layup.
Jonah instead turned his eyes to the rim. Another defender had stepped in front of him, but Jonah turned his back and quickly spun away as the helpless boy lunged for what he thought was the basketball, but turned out to be an armful of air.
Ignoring his open teammates, he leaped from just inside the free throw line, trying to remember not to push himself off too high. He had to appear normal—human, like the rest of them. His six-foot-six frame soared through the air, and he finally slammed the ball through the rim with such force that the basket shook, appearing for a second as if it would snap under his force.
Jonah hung on the rim for two seconds longer than he needed to, peering into the stands again, catching glimpses of the fans, who had increased their volume even more now and could barely contain themselves. For the extra swinging, he earned a technical foul from the referee, but he didn’t care. It was worth it.
Mercifully, after another two minutes, the game ended. Peacefield High: 103, Ashburn Academy: 54. Jonah’s teammates surrounded him in the middle of the court, ignoring the dejected players from the losing team who wandered their way back into the visitors’ locker room in a daze. Jonah let himself get caught up in the attention, the slaps on his back, the handshakes, and high fives. A couple of little kids from the stands even came up to ask him for his autograph.
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