The Long Loved Game, Basketball
|Paperback Storyteller: The Long Loved Game, Basketball.|
Talking about getting induced and valiant, I was a guy who loved sports more than anything and this anime called " Kuroko no Basuke " which is interpreted as " Kuroko's Basketball " in English, which conducted to an immense contraction in my life. Comical right? Yeah I know it is. How can someone be influenced with some petty cartoon? Even I don't know, but I was.
I still remember I used to play football with my friends on that minuscule rooftop, which apperantly had a hoop installed. My seniors were more into basketball and those quarrels about which game was to be played there was gold. It wasn't long enough till I got into basketball as well, not only me, but all of my friends. All the reason was that anime which somehow insanely got into us, grew in us and made us love the game more than anything else.
So there was this character called Aomine Daiki in the Anime, who was displayed insanely strong and I admired the character more than anyone else. I was being so unrealstic, trying his shots that were shown in the anime. So much obsession about basketball that we played the same game every day, every free periods and sometimes by skipping classes as well. We were below average, our seniors were way better than us but supportive and congenial as well. It was not like they were professionals because we never had a coach nor a good court or any faculties, but their game was something worth admiring.
Something worth learning from, the most burnished among them was Antar bhaiya, Tahsin bhaiya, Mashroor bhaiya and Raiyan bhaiya. All with different personalities and different adroitness. The first time we played against them, obviously comitting an umpteen of fouls both technical and offensive, I noticed something. Something I had never noticed before, Antar bhaiya was an incredible player given the time he practiced.
We played with them everyday. Felt like we were getting better and better everyday. From missing shots under the basket to shooting long three pointers which made everyone go, "WOAHHH!!". Most of the games ended with a devastating loss like 44-0, 50-4, 32-2 and so on. But we felt it, our confidence kept growing with each loss and that melodrama is something that cannot be asseverated with words.
The amount of benefaction the seniors provided is what kept us going. We improved and improved. From that school's small quarter court to big courts at Physical field and Abohani indoor. However, sometimes when we monitored the other school players play, it only depreciated and decreased our confidence. They were on a different league. Age doesn't matter when it comes to basketball. What matters is how much you put into the game and what we saw in them, was something we didn't have. It was courage. We messed it up big time with confidence. Courage and confidence are not the same contrivance. Our seniors had both the courage and confidence. Unlike us who became presumptuous when a mere shot went in. Just a getting a shot into that hoop isn't everything, basketball is a contact sport. You either let the game go out of your hand or sacrifice yourself for the game. Its not a game to be played selfishly. The most important measure of how good you play a game is determined by how much better you made your teammates play. Commitment separates those who live their dreams, from those who live their lives regretting the opportunities they have squandered. You have to be strong. You get hurt, you bleed but you keep in your mind that the game itself honours toughness. Yes it's a sport that cohesive. But we feared this toughness. We were more into show off rather than playing for the love of the game. Basketball is actually a beautiful game when 5 players on that court play with one heartbeat.
We once played an underground tournament. Our fears came true. When we got out there, it was nothing like we'd imagined. No rookies to show off to. It was just us, and some pumped up strong monsters against us. The nervousness, the discomposure, the jitters, where did all that impudence go?
We saw our seniors play. Like I have mentioned before they were not professionals, but the way played, their steps, their hard work, their determination and their unconditional love for the game, it was stunning. I wanted to be like Antar bhaiya, I wanted to be him, I wanted to beat that guy, I wanted to touch the rim, I wanted what he had and this is when I realised, this is where it all begins.
I, in fact we all worked unquestionably hard to augment ourselves. We practiced and practiced for that one game, a game of our fantasies. A year had passed and it was time we participated in a real tournament. And so we did, it was time to get into that court and make our dreams come true. Explicitly, we won our first game. My confidence elevated. We were into the finals and it undeviatingly felt like a dream. The last match started; the ball was in Mashroor bhaiya's hand. He dribbled through, with everyone cheering, he passed to Tahsin bhaiya and the next thing you know is "Swoosh". An outstanding 3 pointer to start the game and escalate the team morale.
The ball in opponent's hands, crowd cheering "Defense! Defense !". *Thok* Antar bhaiya steals the ball and is onto a spectacular drive, he passes to me and I pass to Raiyan bhaiya. He shoots, the ball hits the rim but fortunately Dulok gets a splendid rebound. He passes back to me and I score. My first point ever in an official tournament, I was overjoyed beyond limits. My stamina boosted up as we continued the game. About mid way through the game, the opponent team had a 9 point lead and stopping their momentum seemed impossible. It was the third quarter and no way we were going to lose after coming this far. Scores were 42-51 and we were sipping up some water during the timeout. "Are we going to win?" I asked, everyone was quiet. We went back to the game and Antar bhaiya had the ball in his possession. Everyone was utterly drained with no stamina and confidence left to play. But he was different, or rather I would say he seemed different. With the ball in his hands, it insinuated like he was in his own world, he drove, he drove past everyone alone to the 3 pointer line finishing with a step back and swoosh. Now we were trailing by only 6 points. We gained some confidence back and suggested that he should pass the ball now, but he didn't and went all the way by himself taking all the pushes, charges and swishing another 3. We were only 3 points behind now and nothing seemed impossible. It all got more blood rushing when the so called Aomine of our team shot another 3, which was from the half court. But this time the 3 point took too much strain on his body and he collapsed instantly mid game.
The quarter was over, the scores were tied and there was no way Antar bhaiya would be able to get back into the game.
The fourth quarter began and I was the one to take over his position. The ball was in their hands and they drove past us to score with a smooth layup. Score was now 51-53 with them leading. I dribbled past them and passed to Dulok. He took the shot but it missed due to too much finger contact from the opponent. Rafi took the rebound and he passed outside with me swishing a 3. Scores were now 54-53 with us leading. They scored again and again and so did we. Both teams continued doing their best till the end of the game. Now only 32 seconds were left with the score 70-71 and them leading. There was no time, we panicked but still managed to get past the full court pressure. We drove slow on the inside. The pressure, the cheering, everyone's attention in the game, all these made me more confident yet nervous as well. I ran, I realised there was nothing to fear as long as I have love for the game. With 16 seconds left the ball was stolen from me! We hurried back but fortunately they couldn't handle the last minute pressure and Rafi managed to steal the ball from their hands as well. He passed. A long pass & I caught the ball. The path ahead of me was empty. I ran! I ran faster. My teammates shouting because of all the hope I am carrying. I jumped! I jumped high. I was going to make it. I felt like it. Until I realised there was a shadow behind me, covering me up tremendously fast. The ball was released from my hands and it was about to enter the hoop. A soft touch of that shadow is what fucked up all of my dreams, all of our dreams in fact. The ball circled around the rim and recoiled back to ground...the whistle blowed, the game was over. My last shot had missed and we lost by 1 point.
I felt devoured. I messed up not only mine but everyone else's dream as well. My seniors' tears, the crowd's criticism, this was something that I feared since long. I walked off the court, took my bag and left the place without uttering a single word. I gave up. I know it was petty to do so, but I could never forgive myself. That was it for me, the 17 year old kid who wanted to be so-called "Aomine Daiki", failed up on his dreams. Reality is harsh and I accepted it. I never went back to a basketball court again. Its been 10 years since that incident took place. Sometimes I die to get back there, but it isn't possible anymore because of the compound fracture on my left hand which was caused by a road calamity when I was galloping back home after that finals game. I regret giving up back then, now that I finally realize, ball really is life.
- Fardeen Islam