Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you always learn.
I sound like my mother.
Last night was our school’s last basketball game of the season. This is how the system works here in good ole Nebraska, you win, you advance, you lose, you’re done. Just. Like. That.
I’ll start from the beginning. In our small town, football is as important as breathing. With most people, this is the case, others like to stay in the shadows and watch Netflix on Friday nights instead of attend the games. They are hopping, I’ll tell you that much. If I remember one thing from high school, it’s going to be the electricity of the town on chilly Friday nights. Nearly everyone who’s anyone is sitting on those cold metal bleachers. It’s a fantastic time to catch up with people, see what drama you missed that week. And it’s also a good time to lose your voice yelling for your team.
You see, cheering is what I do. I am part of the cheer squad at my school, and this makes every game more exciting. But the thing is, pretty much everyone cheers for the team, we are just the girls in uniform. You can add that to the long list of things I love about this town.
Anyways, back to present time, here we are nearing the end of February. Football season has been over for months. We drove to a small town much like ours that happened to be three hours away, and lost. A sad ending, and a long drive home to say the least. After football season, we transition to basketball. And now we don’t even have that. The stress from the game last night took off at least five years of my life. It was a thrill from start to finish. And to add to that mess, it was at least 400 degrees in there. The entire gym was full of sticky, screaming fans. Always screaming, they were. Screaming at their kid, screaming at the couch, screaming at the ref. My ears rang until this morning.
We started off the game awfully. Within two minutes we had already given up 10 points. I don’t know if you’re a basketball genius, or know absolutely nothing about the sport, but they kept knocking down threes. One after another. After a brief time out, our boys finally started scoring. By halftime we had tied it up. I think at that time the electricity of the gym was the highest. Both sides wanted this, badly. The winner of the game got to advance on to districts, and if they kept winning, state. The game resumed and our electricity remained. We kept scoring, and they kept scoring. With one minute left, they were up by just two points. The crowd and student section held their breath, and the cheerleaders held hands. I held onto the girl next to me with a tight death grip. As my knuckles turned white, we watched as they dribbled down the court.
While we were busy trying to ignore the ticking clock and remembering how to breathe, the boys scored. Tie game. 30 seconds left. In a turn of events, we got the ball again, and scored a free-throw. We were ahead by a single point, and there was 8 seconds left on the clock. But with those 8 seconds left, one of the boys for the opposing team broke free and sprinted down the court. With both sides of the gym screaming, one yelling out of fear, the other out of excitement, the boy threw the ball up towards the hoop. As the clock hit 0.0 seconds, the ball fell through the net. It was over. They won.
The moments after were kind of a blur of sadness and disappointment. By no means was anybody in that room disappointed by the boys, they played their hearts out. I think the overall disappointment was the realization that it was over. Now what were we going to do on Friday nights? Probably watch Netflix. You can’t win every game in life, but you can learn from your losses. I haven’t quite figured out what we were supposed to learn from the game last night, but when I do, I’ll let you know. If you need me, I’ll be watching Netflix and dreaming of next season.
-Yours Truly, Maddie