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King of the Court [Chapter 2]

by Yoshikrab


A/n The attached image is one of Dwayne. Hope you enjoy!

Okay, maybe it isn’t really accurate to call him short, but he really seems so short compared to the other guys, thinks Spencer, then realizing that he was one of those 'other guys'. 

“So . . . uh, what exactly are all of these positions?” asks Spencer, looking around hopefully. Maybe the nice-looking kid named Colin will help me. Maybe the captain that sighs a whole lot will tell me.

“Well,” the captain says (after sighing, of course), “There are five basic positions. Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward, and Center. We usually group them into Guards, Forwards, and the Center depending on how they can rebound, how good they are at driving, how fast they can cut in, how well they can shoot, and other stuff. ”

Spencer nods, completely discombobulated-- he has no idea what the captain is saying. Rebounds? Driving? Cut in? What in the world is that!?!?

“I’m guessing that Chris here is a good shot. I hope Colin can drive. I can probably throw in a few layups as a Forward. The only thing is, Dwayne here is . . . well . . . he’s not exactly short . . . but he’s . . . he doesn’t really seem . . . ” Alex pauses for thought, obviously trying to find the least insulting way of saying it, “. . . Uh . . . built for center.”

Dwayne, who had been on the verge of exploding already, fumes, “Well, who here is qualified for center more than me? Stickman over here has got the height, but he doesn’t have any strength!”

Chris glares, and Spencer suspects that it's more because of the nickname than the comment about his physical prowess, “Is that supposed to be a challenge?”

“You bet, Sticky,” says Dwayne, who smiles, “Bring it on.”

And all Spencer can think of at the moment is how Dwayne will probably continue the shorten the nickname from Stickman to Sticky to . . .

"Hey Sticks, you can start," says Dwayne.

Spencer can tell that Alex definitely hates this little showdown, but nothing Alex does in protest can stop the two hotheads.

Five minutes later, Dwayne and Chris are on the court, Chris with the ball, and Dwayne guarding him. Well, this will be a good time for me to learn more about basketball, thinks Spencer, and after a pause, also realizes to himself, and also a good time to learn why I should probably avoid these two guys. 

Chris immediately begins to dribble, bouncing the ball with his right hand and his left hand, alternating between each. Dwayne bends his knees slightly and stays silent, his eyes bouncing along with the ball.

For a moment, time seems to stop as the two players prepare for anything. The ball slows down, Dwayne bends his knees lower, and suddenly, Chris bursts forward. The ball slams down on the court as Chris tries to maneuver around Dwayne, twisting and turning, while the ball follows him closely.

“So this . . . is basketball,” murmurs Spencer, in awe. Despite Chris’ overwhelming height and speed, Dwayne continues to physically wedge himself between Chris and the basketball goal. Without warning, Chris hastily jumps up with the ball high above his head, in the universal symbol of I’m about to shoot.

But Dwayne jumps higher.

And with a roar, he slaps the ball out of Chris’ grasp the same way one would violently high-five a friend. Chris gapes in astonishment.

“H-how did you . . . ?” Chris trailed off, staring blankly at the basketball, which is sitting behind him.

“Arrogant.”-- Dwayne sneers and begins walking away-- “Just because you’re tall doesn’t mean you can beat me,” Dwayne sneers at him one last time and points at Alex, “When’s practice?”

Alex, who seems to be trying to keep his composure, pauses, “Well, if we want to play to the best of our ability, we should have practice every weekday after school--”

“Then see you tomorrow,” interrupts Dwayne, as he leaves the gym. The door closes with a bang, leaving Chris, Colin, Spencer, and Alex staring at each other awkwardly.

“Well, does anyone want to practice?” Alex looks at them.

Spencer really wants to practice, but seeing the weird faces on his teammates, he doesn’t really want to jump in.

If 'no' was an expression, then they would probably have it splattered all over their face right now, thinks Spencer

Alex sighs, if not for the twentieth time that day, “See you tomorrow, then.”

And the team disperses in silence, almost like the shadow of a team that was once great.


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Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:20 am
winterwolf0100 wrote a review...



Hey Yoshi! I was excited to see that you were the author of this, and definitely excited to read it!

Okay, so first off-- it's a very interesting premise. There were a few questions that popped into my head, like why a middle school wouldn't simply hire another coach or ask a current teacher to be the new coach (or why they'd let a student try to pull the basketball team together by themselves) but those are questions that can easily be addressed in later chapters.

One thing I will say to keep in mind would be that running a basketball team takes a lot more than coming up with plays and coaching players. You also have to be in charge of purchasing uniforms, reaching out to the local district league, planning and scheduling games, contacting parents, paying for rides to and from games, providing food for sale at games, collecting ticket money, etc... most teams have an adult coach and a team manager who looks after the financial side of it. Conditioning is also something that you didn't mention but most teams go through at the beginning of the season-- it's basically a really rigorous workout schedule for a few weeks designed to get the players back in shape after the summer. I can also say conditioning for every year I did it was one of the worst experiences of my personal life. I did it 7th, 8th, and 9th grade year, so they are likely at the age where they would do that sort of thing. That would actually be pretty interesting to read if Alex was the one trying to coordinate stuff like that... (Feel free to message me if you have any questions about conditioning or my experience in particular, by the way).

You definitely know your basketball terms, which was awesome! It would be pretty difficult to write a story solely about basketball if you didn't have at least some sort of background knowledge on it, so I'm glad you do.

As the other review mentioned, you did switch the point of view, but I could tell it was intentional. The only thing I'd say is maybe including something at the top like we do for storybooks so it's very obvious to readers that you are switching the point of view. Simply writing "Spencer" at the top would help clarify a lot if someone wasn't picking up on it at first.

The only other thing I'd mention is trying to continue to build out those characters. You're off to a great start with characterization, but don't forget to physically describe the characters too. You've told us their height, but what about their weight? Their race? Their hair color/style? Painting a picture for your reader to see while they're reading is one of the easiest ways to keep them engaged, because it's a lot easier to pay attention to a movie when you know what the characters look like. If they're reading it and seeing it play out in their head, they'll want to know what the characters look like, so including small details like that will really help boost everything!

And uh... I think that's it! Again, you've done an amazing job so far, so really-- bravo to you for all this work. I'm excited to see the other chapters that you've already posted, but I really hope this helps! As always, I'm open to talk in PMs about writing, experiences... pretty much everything. So shoot me a message if you ever wanna! : D

Alrightyyyyy, thanks for reading!

~Winter




Yoshikrab says...


One thing I will say to keep in mind would be that running a basketball team takes a lot more than coming up with plays and coaching players. You also have to be in charge of purchasing uniforms, reaching out to the local district league, planning and scheduling games, contacting parents, paying for rides to and from games, providing food for sale at games, collecting ticket money, etc... most teams have an adult coach and a team manager who looks after the financial side of it. Conditioning is also something that you didn't mention but most teams go through at the beginning of the season-- it's basically a really rigorous workout schedule for a few weeks designed to get the players back in shape after the summer. I can also say conditioning for every year I did it was one of the worst experiences of my personal life. I did it 7th, 8th, and 9th grade year, so they are likely at the age where they would do that sort of thing. That would actually be pretty interesting to read if Alex was the one trying to coordinate stuff like that... (Feel free to message me if you have any questions about conditioning or my experience in particular, by the way).


Yes that will be talked about in future chapters.

The only other thing I'd mention is trying to continue to build out those characters. You're off to a great start with characterization, but don't forget to physically describe the characters too. You've told us their height, but what about their weight? Their race? Their hair color/style? Painting a picture for your reader to see while they're reading is one of the easiest ways to keep them engaged, because it's a lot easier to pay attention to a movie when you know what the characters look like. If they're reading it and seeing it play out in their head, they'll want to know what the characters look like, so including small details like that will really help boost everything!


ok i will remember that

Thank you for the review!





Of course! Hope it helped! :)



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Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:35 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Yoshikrab,

Mailice here with a new review! :D

That was quick, posting the second chapter. I'm very happy about that. :D

You can see one thing that is very much a priority in this chapter, and that is character development. Alex, who already sighed a little in the last chapter, continues to do so now. Also, Dwayne and Stickman get a closer look and you can sense a certain rivalry coming out of both of them. I think the synergy of the group is great, especially because there's this disagreement and they're egging each other on (in a rather negative) tone.

I was also very surprised about Dwayne, as I thought he would fall into that stereotypical personality, as a small, shy boy, but his forcefulness against Stickman is very well chosen.

"Arrogant."-- Dwayne sneers and begins walking away-- "Just because you're tall doesn't mean you can beat me," Dwayne sneers at him one last time and points at Alex, "When's practice?"


It's just here in the section that makes that clear, how he talks to Stickman in that cocky way and then turns to Alex. I also like that Dwayne now gives Stickman a nickname as well. :D

I was a bit thrown off at the beginning as the story picks up right where it left off in the last chapter. But it seemed to me like Spencer was suddenly the main character and not Alex anymore. I would change the beginning a little bit, maybe insert a very short section where Alex looks Dwayne up and down again and then the thought of Spencer comes up.
Otherwise it really seems as if Spencer is now the main character, especially because you only call Alex "captain" at the beginning. That pushes him a bit into the background.
At the same time, it's also a good way to show Spencer as a silent character who wants to learn a lot by revealing his thoughts.

Colin also seems to have moved into the background at the moment. More than having him mentioned by Spencer, he doesn't seem to have done much here. Since I think you've focused more on Stickman and Dwayne here in the chapter (with the short intervals of Spencer) and thus already have two characters in focus, I can understand why you don't hear much from him. But I'm sure you could have insert a comment from him somewhere.

Otherwise it was a great second chapter, where the characters are now developing and showing their personalities. You did a great job describing the duel between Stickman and Dwayne and the reactions of the others.

Enjoy the writing!

Mailice.




Yoshikrab says...


Thank you so much for your insights! I truly enjoyed reading your review! <3

This story is going to be somewhat alternating between the five main characters, so the point of view will change every chapter. Since there is a whole lot of character and skill development for each of the players, I felt it was needed to switch PoVs.

Again, thank you so much for the review!

-yoshi





It's an interesting way of moving the story forward. :D Looking forward to it.




“I don't talk things, sir. I talk the meaning of things.”
— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451