For those readers that love the motivational and emotional stories, this is the perfect one for you all. So relax, take your time and enjoy this cute short story <3
Practice Makes Perfect
The end of the bell rang, signalling to all of the kids to jump up and get out as fast as they can. Me, on the other hand, took my time packing up my binder. I'm suppose to go into the school's gym right now and practice for basketball, but who wants to shoot around by themselves? Not me.
Yanking and pulling on my bag, my locker finally decided to release it. I took as long as I could getting to the gym.
Once in, I went into the change room to... well... change. Being on the basketball team has its perks- like getting another locker in the change room to store all kinds of crap in. I replaced my skinny jeans and sweater for basketball shorts and a girl type of muscle shirt.
I grabbed my basketball shoes and water bottle before heading out to the gym. There's usually 3 or 4 senior boys practicing their shots as well, but today the gym was empty.
Taking a seat on the ground, I unlaced my shoes and slipped them on. I tightened the laces before asking one of the P.E. teachers if he could please open the equipment room for me to grab a basketball.
I bounced a couple around before deciding which one would be the best. Thanking the teacher, I made my way to one of the hoops- the one furthest from the gym doors. With my back to anyone coming in, I stood on the far end of the gym.
I lined up my shots and all of them swished in. I've been getting better and better every time I come in. My coach asked me away from the team if I would mine working on my shot a while back. I agreed to it because I knew I kind of sucked compared to the other girls.
At first my coach came in to practice with me. He would make sure I lined up properly, followed through, and all that nice stuff. I hated it. It was embarrassing to have to have 1 on 1 time with your basketball coach to practice shooting. But luckily I caught on fast and he only had to come for a few times.
Now, I still come in here and there to keep up all of my hard work. It feels good to know my practicing is actually paying off and I'm making most of my shots now. The other girls on my team are proud of me too.
I just hate coming in.
After making as many shots as I could handle within 45 minutes, I decided to pack it in. With one last shot, I grabbed the ball and started towards the change room.
I heard the gym doors opening as I got closer to an escape. A group of boys could be heard coming in. I set the basketball by the equipment room as the boys came into view.
Taking a fast glance at them, I only recognized one of the three tenth grade boys. Eric smiled at me. I blushed, looking away.
"Hey, Jessica." He nodded towards me, "Just finishing?"
"Yeah." I nodded, wanting to make a break for the change room.
"I didn't know you played basketball." A small chuckle slipped from his lips, "That's really cool."
Giving him a small smile, I looked at the ground to see that my shoelace was untied. I took a seat to retie it; even though I would be taking my shoes off once in the change room.
The three boys mumbled and whispered amongst themselves a few feet from where I was sitting. Not wanting to eavesdrop, I tried getting away before things got awkward.
"Ask her." The tall blonde boy I didn't know pushed Eric in my direction as I still sat on the ground.
"No way." Eric shook his head- I could see him in my line of vision.
"Do it." The other much shorter boy nodded towards me.
I acted as if nothing was happening and stood up to leave. Half way to the change room, I heard somebody begin to bounce the basketball I left outside the equipment room.
"Jessica," I was so close to getting away, "Wanna play 21? These guys aren't into playing." I looked over my shoulder to see Eric holding the basketball.
"That's a girls ball." I pointed out just in case he hadn't already noticed.
"Well, you're a girl." He laughed, "I'll deal with it being smaller if you wanna play."
I frowned, shaking my empty water bottle in my hand. It's been a long time since I've played 21, but I didn't want to turn him down.
"What does the winner get?" I asked, making Eric grin.
"The winner gets..." He paused, looking to his friends who only shrugged, "How about just an ice cream or something from the loser?"
"Deal." I walked towards him, nodding my head.
I was then introduced to his friends Garret -the tall blonde- and Dylan- the one shorter than the rest.
"I'm just gonna fill up my water real quick, okay?" I looked to Eric. He was dribbling the ball through his legs. I had doubts on whether he heard me or not. Just when I was going to repeat myself, he stopped bouncing the ball.
"Dylan and Garret can do it." He sent them a wicked grin.
"Yeah, we'll fill it up for you." Dylan seemed nice enough. I eventually agreed to it and sent them away.
"So," Eric and I walked over to the closest hoop, "Would you like to go first?" He stood at the top of the key, ball under his arm.
"Does first player shoots a foul shot?" I asked, feeling nervous about my ability to play.
"Uh, well..." I needed an excuse that wasn't "Oh, I think I suck at those shots actually."
"I wouldn't let him go first." Garret and Dylan returned with my water, "He's good at those shots." Garret warned, handing me my water.
"Oh come on, guys." Eric laughed behind me. "Don't scare her." Something inside me stirred when he said that. His tone of voice was firm, but some what playful- like he was just messing around, but would hurt somebody too.
As the two friends sulked away, Eric passed me the ball to go first.
"I'm not actually that good." He grinned, looking over to his friends. "They just can't play basketball." That made me laugh.
I began lining up my shot. I wanted to at least get my first one in. See, I can make all of them when I'm practicing by myself, but sometimes in front of others, I freeze up and mess up. Badly.
"And don't go easy on me." I put my arms down to turn towards Eric. I even tried my best for a slight glare.
"I wouldn't think of it, sunshine." He put on an seemingly effortless, goofy smile. My heart almost skipped a beat when I heard the name. Sunshine? I shook my head before taking my shot. I watched as the ball easily swished in.
"Nice shot." Eric seemed impressed.
"Well, I haven't been practicing for nothing." I laughed, teasing him a little.
"No kidding." He retrieved the ball for me, handing it back.
I made three more in a row before my fourth shot bounced off the rim, causing both Eric and I to jump. He grabbed it before it flew too far away.
Eric made his next four shots. His friends made comments from the sidelines every time he did. I did my best to ignore them.
"Sunshine," Eric waved his hand a few inches from my face, "Your turn." He was holding the ball.
Blushing furiously, I thanked him for stopping the basketball from rolling to the other end of the gym. I would never make a shot from down there.
Garret and Dylan had disappeared and I was thankful they hadn't seen me zone out and almost miss my turn.
Ignoring the nickname Eric seems to have picked to call me, I made my next few shots. Eric never made any stupid comments about me being "good for a girl" or anything. He cracked jokes a lot about his friends' stupid comments though.
"What's the score?" I frowned, waiting for him to shoot.
"I have 16." He took a shot, "17 now."
"And what do I have?"
"You're trusting me not to make something up?" Eric winked, making me look at my feet.
"Well, I mean... I kind of have an idea of what I have..." I said, mumbling it the entire time.
"I'm kidding, Jess." He laughed, but it didn't feel like I was being laughed at. He was just laughing. "You have 17 as well."
"Oooh, a tie!" Garret was highly amused that Eric might lose to me.
"Okay, so it's still your turn?" I kept my back to the boys on the bench, trying to ignore them.
"Yup." Eric shuffled to the top of the key.
I took a good look at him as I stood to the side. Eric and I have one class together. It's the only reason why I knew him when he came into the gym. Before today, I've never really looked at him. He was just some kid from class.
But now, really looking at him, I see how good looking he is. Honestly. His dark brown hair is a mess from the many times he's run his hands over it during the game, but it still looks good. His hazel brown eyes light up every time he laughs or grins. Even his personality seems to be great.
I had to stop staring at him when I realized his shot was rebounding towards me. Catching it, I took my turn and ended up with a point.
"18-17." Dylan cheered from the side of the gym.
As I made my next shot from the top of the key, I brought my points up to 20.
"You're gonna have to miss this one to get to 21." Eric warned me. He was trying to help.
"If I were playing one of them," Eric pointed to the guys, "This is when I'd chuck it as hard as I can at the backboard, so they'd have to shoot from the other end of the gym."
"I'm not going to do that." I laughed, making him smile.
"I didn't think you would."
I accidentally made it smash off the rim, creating the ball to fly to the left.
"Whoops." I apologized to Eric as he chased after it.
"No biggie," He was still fairly close to the hoop. He'd made many shots from that spot earlier. I almost hoped he would score and end up winning. I wasn't sure whether beating a guy in front of his friends is the best way for him to like you.
Sighing, I watched as he let go of the ball to shoot. The ball sailed through the air. It honestly looked as if he was about to score. The four of us in the gym stayed silent as the ball flew closer to the hoop. At the last second, it seemed to lose air and drop down towards the rim.
I ran forwards without thinking to grab it. My new shooting spot was almost right under the hoop. It would be embarrassing to "miss" this shot, but I didn't want to embarrass Eric either.
"You've got this, sunshine." Eric's voice encouraged me.
As the ball swished in, I knew I had just won. I actually just beat Eric in a game of 21.
I looked over to see him smiling. He didn't seem upset about losing to a girl in front of his friends. Not one bit. He really did look happy about it.
"Is that the game?" Garret came over to us with a huge grin.
"Yeah." I nodded, staring at my feet again.
"You won?" Dylan came up beside me.
"Yeah." I gave him a half-smile.
Dylan and Garret just stood there staring at Eric. Eric stood there smiling- almost laughing.
Before anyone could stop them, Dylan and Garret burst out laughing. I bit my lip as I looked at Eric. He was shaking his head at his friends, which made me laugh. His whole reaction to losing made me laugh. Not able to control it, I burst out laughing as well.
The three of us who were laughing couldn't stop. I felt bad, but I wasn't laughing at Eric. Suddenly another laugh joined in with us. My mouth shut when I realized Eric was laughing too.
"Good game, Jessica." He slung his arm over my shoulder, laughter still audible in his voice.
"You too." I nodded, not sure what exactly was happening anymore.
"Are you gonna come like that," Eric pointed at my clothes, "Or are you gonna change first?"
"Come where?" I frowned, taking a step back from all of them.
"For your victory ice cream, of course!" He grinned, taking a step closer to whisper, "You can come dressed like that if you want."
"I'm all sweaty." I shuddered, making him laugh.
"Then I'll wait in the hallway for you."
Nodding, I ran to the change room. I some how managed to dress as fast as I could. I washed up before exiting the gym. Who knew something I used to hate coming in to do could turn into that.
I guess practice really does make perfect.