Ryan McNabb

The Big Shot

Throughout the season, I led my team to victory on numerous occasions and now we were in the championship game. I am the leading scorer and the captain. I am someone that everyone looked up to and that the coach cherished. It is as though I am a man among children, the way I dominate the game. My team is playing the undefeated Warriors and it is going to be an incredible game.

As the game started with the opening tip, I took the ball down the court, dribbling through two defenders and then laying it up off the glass. It is the Warriors turn now and they hit a wide-open jump shot. Over the next three and half quarters, both teams went back and forth exchanging baskets. With a made free throw, the Warriors took a one-point lead with one minute left in the game. My coach called a quick timeout after I pulled down a Warrior missed shot. As the coach began to diagram the play, I knew that my team would give me the ball, just as they have at every other major juncture in the game. Being the quick thinking player that I am, I came to the conclusion that the Warriors would also know this. As the time out ended and my team huddled up, the coach told us that no matter the outcome, they would win and lose as team.

As I take the ball out of bounds, and begin to dribble up the court, I enter a state of mind that is so focused and in tune with my body that not the chanting of the crowd or the hollering of my coach, could even begin to enter my train of thought. I start to read the Warrior’s defense, they are playing man to man and I knew that as the time began to tick away, inching closer and closer to the final buzzer, the Warriors would put a double team on me. I knew this because I had seen it so many times before; it was as if I knew the Warrior’s next move before they did. I call for isolation, 20…15…10…I knew what I have to do. It is up to me. I realize what is at stake and that this could be a defining moment in my young career. I knew that if I made it, the crowd would be left speechless and that once again I would have led my team to the “promise land”. I also knew that if I missed it, my team and myself would be left devastated and broken. There are now five seconds left, I dribble left, now right, the double team rushes at me, three seconds; would I go around them or do the unthinkable and leave my team’s destiny in the hands of one of my teammates; only I knew. I took one look at the hoop and I knew what I had to do. In one swift motion, my body began to soar into the air, the defenders ready to pounce and block my shot. I decide to take the shot! I release the ball with one-second left on the clock, as the ball floats toward the basket with the greatest of ease; I have an incredible sensation that it is going in, just as every great player does. I begin to celebrate my great accomplishment; the ball hits the back rim, then the front rim. It seems as if the ball has just stopped, and then fallen, not through the hoop but onto the parquet floor. I had missed it. I couldn’t believe it. I had lost the game for my team. As I lay on the court, a fallen hero, I knew it was over, not just the game, not just the season, but my reign on top, the end of my short, but illustrious career. I was never again going to take the big shot.


Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.