a/n: so I had a drawing for this, but YWS decided it was too big, but I promise I'll figure out how to put it on here somehow :>
The ball flies around at lightning speed. In a flash, it goes from one opponent to the other. Spencer can't keep up. His legs begin to tremble and his fingers begin to curl into a fist. He feels like an outsider at a fancy party. Like the one guy standing in the middle of the dancing, awkwardly going through the movements, but not really knowing what to do.
I don't want to feel like this again. Never again.
Spencer closes his eyes and breathes deeply. Every whoop and cheer from the crowd seems to make his heart beat faster. Every step he takes feels so indecisive and stupid. Every moment of the game makes Spencer want to puke.
"Stop," Spencer murmurs. He can't open his eyes, or he'll lose control. The reason why he couldn't shine in past games was exactly because of this. Stop being nervous. Don't be nervous. I can't be nervous.
Do what you did at practice. Make sure they know how formidable you are. Be fast. Faster than anyone. Yes. Speed. That's it. I have to be faster. There's no other choice. To match lightning, be lightning.
Suddenly empowered by a sense of confidence, Spencer gets open and shakes off his defender, a blonde with a bowl cut. In fact, to shake him off, it was quite hard. Spencer get's the feeling that all of the Jackson Wills players are great at not just defense, but in everything else as well. Marble creek will have to fight back with pure talent, to make of their relative lack of fundamentals compared to Jackson Wills.
After a steal, Colin sends the ball to Chris, who stares at Spencer. The latter nods and Chris throws the ball quickly to Spencer .
Every eye is trained on Spencer now. Especially the ferocious Jackson Wills players. I should dribble. Should I dribble? I've played in a game before. Maybe I shouldn't driblle. I even scored a bunch in past games, though. I can dribble. Why am I so scared? Don't dribble. Bad idea. I am not scared. I'm just thinking. I am capable of rational thought.
Spencer flinches at the sight of the blonde coming for him. Fumbling with the ball, Spencer throws it as hard as he can to . . . I need to find someone. Someone reliable. Someone who will definitely score. Someone who isn't as nervous as I am . . . Alex!
For some reason, when theball gets to Alex, he fumbles a bit, too. Oh no. If Alex is nervous, too, then we're doomed.
~ ~ ~
This is not the same game. This is not Saint Helena. I am not going to die. I am not dead. I will not die. I will win. We will win. This is definitely not the same game. Not Saint Helena.
Alex knows he is nervous. He won't deny it. He hasn't felt like this in a long time. During the Saint Helena game, he was actually quite calm, and he knew why.
The game against Saint Helena started off fine, and Alex knows that almost every basketball game will imitate what the first few moments are. Marble Creek and Saint Helena are evenly matched-- perfect rivals.
Jackson Wills is different. They're a perfect counter for Marble Creek and Saint Helena. The game had started off shaky, but he knows it's already starting to crumble, and Alex knows exactly which way the debris is going to fall. Not the same game. Not the same game.
Alex can't forget slipping and falling onto the ground. He won't ever forget that moment, where he felt like that one shot was everything. Where his entirel existence hinged on that one throw.
That the ten seconds left on the clock was his responsibility. He resolved that he wasn't going to make a bad decision, so he stared at the goal so intensely, that the impact upon falling was enough to make him slip and fall on his head, knocking him out.
He didn't even score the three-pointer. The point was made when Dwayne bumped it back in. Dwayne was the real hero that day. Alex was just the idiot who had to be thrown into a hospital. Lame. I won't be lame this time. My team still believes in me.
Connor, guarding Alex, gives him a glare, and Alex shivers. He tries to glare back, but can only manage a pathetic pair of narrowed eyes, that just make him look scared.
That's when Spencer gets the ball and immediately passes the ball to Alex. What is Spencer doing? He could have dribbled to the goal.
Alex reluctantly recieves and immediately shoots to the left-- his automatic move. It was the same move he used on Dwayne, and on Copeland. Left was his usual choice, since it wasn't a secret that he was left-handed.
Like Alex expected, Connor expects the fake, and stays in position, right in front of Alex.
Alex fakes left and right but can't get around Connor. With no choice but to drive, Alex fully attacks the left. Connor stays close on him the entire time. Finally, Alex manages to get a bounce pass to Dwayne, and he makes an inside shot, giving them two points.
Jackson Wills immediately retaliates. Their passes are fast and hard, and every single one of their players are fast enough to keep up with each other.
The ball goes to a blonde with a bowl cut, who pushes against Spencer, who is guarding them. Both of them push against each other with all their force, growling.
Seeing this as his moment, Alex shoots forward and steals from the Bowl-Cut Blonde, zooming down the court for a fast break.
Suddenly, Connor is there, right beside him. Alex nearly forgets to breathe. This is the the same game. This is not the same game.
Alex doesn't know whats gotten into him. He keeps on remind himself about the game against Saint Helena, and that painful fall. Connor stays right next to him, in a way that is strikingly similar to Copeland's. No! He is Connor. Not Copeland. Connor, not Copeland.
Frantically, Alex changes direction, switiching to his right hand, but Connor immediately steals the ball during the crossover.
Alex feels his stomach churning. I was stolen from. He stole from me. That's not possible. Only . . . only Copeland can do that.
And Connor spins around his defenders with ease, finally scoring a lay-up, as Alex is left to stumble around in the dust.
That is, until one of his loyal teammates pull him out.
~ ~ ~
It's painfully obvious that Alex is getting nervous. Something is bothering him. What could be bothering Alex?
Spencer ponders this as the first quarter ends with Marble Creek losing 23-9. Due to Alex playing at one-fourth of his ability, Jackson Wills dominates the game.
The other teammates, and even Jacob, know not to bother Alex, who only gets angrier when someone tries to stop him from playing. But Spencer doesn't even need to guess to know. He can see Alex's legs trembling with fear, and his fingers curling up into fists helplessly. He knows that Alex is watching the game as if he's not playing in it, and remembering past games.
Past games! That's it!
Spencer goes over to Alex and touches his shoulder. Alex gives no response.
Spencer gives him another poke. No response.
"Let me show you how to do this," Colin interjects, before Spencer pokes again, "To poke Alex, you have to do this."
Colin takes a deep breath and brings both of his fingers back in a terrifying position that looks like he's about to pierce Alex's spine.
"Alex! I'm poking you!"
And with a huge singular force that digs right into the spot below Alex's right shoulder blade, Colin knocks Alex off the bench and onto the ground. Alex, who is evidently not in a good mood, wheels around and stares at Colin for a long moment.
"What was that?"
"I was poking you!" Colin replies.
"I am . . . painfully aware of that," Alex grumbles, rubbing his shoulder.
"Alex," Spencer says, "By the way, I have something to ask."
"What is it?"
"Are you remembering the game against Saint Helena?"
Alex narrows his eyes, "Shut up."
Colin suddenly taps Alex's shoulder, "Oh! I almost forgot about that. Copeland wanted to relay-"
"You guys shut up about Copeland and Saint Helena already!" Alex shouts, "We won against them, alright!"
"I don't think that's the problem," Spencer says, "You remembering Saint Helena is affecting your basketball. Forget about them already. This isn't the game against Saint Helena."
Alex sighs, probably too tired to argue, but he still says weakly, "Just shut up."
And that's when the second quarter begins. Even though Marble Creek is at a huge disadvantage, and even though Alex is acting weird, even though Spencer still feels a bit nervous, he knows that this team is ready to win, because even if they're losing by an infuriating amount of points, this game . . .
. . . has only just started.