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E - Everyone

King of the Court [Chapter 7]

by Yoshikrab


A/n: don't know if anyone will understand the art. How about we do something different this time? If it's not too much try to guess what's happening in this picture! (Use past images to find which two people are shown).

Never in his short, basketball-filled life has Alex been on a more annoying team. He has two players who can barely stand during a practice game. He has one player who's too bold, arrogant, and only has his jumping power and speed in replace of his lack of skill. And Alex has one player who's tall, but so rude that Alex cannot stand it anymore.

What's worse is that there are only five players-- the minimum for a basketball team. At least one extra player would be nice. Without the substitutes, the Marble Creek Basketball Team will have a very, very hard time.

And it's Alex's last year. He'd already stayed a year for basketball. He refused to suffer a defeat.

In sixth grade, he didn't play basketball. That was his mistake. If Alex had joined during sixth grade, he might have improved enough over time to help the eight graders win the championships, but all of his older teammates have moved on to high school already. Alex hated that feeling.

That feeling of being abandoned.

Alex had only started to enjoy basketball. He was starting to make friends, have fun, and play competitive. Before he could truly get embroiled in the wonderful sport, everyone had left, leaving him with no one.

Alex refused to let anyone else feel that. Even though there was no one else on the team at the time, Alex made the decision to stay a grade last summer. He told the teachers that he felt his learning skill was poor, and proved it by intentionally failing tests. He knew it was wrong to do that, but he just couldn't leave the basketball team behind. He had to keep on pushing everyone forward-- even if it meant that he was the only one pushing.

Alex had strained to keep the team going. The volleyball team almost took the court from him, but he successfully kept it. His foster parents almost sent him to high school, but he prevented it. Alex had tried to convince a sixth grader to join the team, but Alex apparently looked so scary that he was almost expelled for verbal assault.

Never in his short, basketball-filled life had Alex been on a more [i]broken[/i] team. Every single year, Marble Creek lost in the first match of the tournament. They were truly a horrible team. Alex resented their coach for only teaching fundamentals and not any plays. Alex resented the quitters who left the team after defeat. Alex resented those who refused to play, believing that the team would lose anyway.

Alex flicked his hair to the side, That doesn't matter right now. Right now, I'm in a game with my new team. We're going to win the championships.

The game continues to move forward, and the ball never touches Alex's hands.

Not even once.

Alex growls. The fourth quarter begins to roll around, and he manages to calm down. This is where I'm strongest.

"Whatcha grinning about?" asked Dwayne, walking up next to Alex during the break after third quarter.

"Fourth quarter is coming up," replies Alex, breathing hard. He can feel the energy and adrenaline pumping through his veins.

"And . . . ?" prompts Chris. Alex realizes that this team has never played with him before.

"I'm unable to play at my best until the fourth quarter begins," says Alex, wiping sweat from his forehead. After Dwayne and Chris give him a confused look, he adds, "It's just how I warm up."

"Why don't you warm up beforehand, then?" wonders Spencer.

"If I do, I end up getting burned out by the second quarter. It's how I roll, don't worry," Alex assures them, stretching his ankles.

"That's a pretty lousy strategy, if you ask me," grumbles Dwayne, "You need to work on your stamina."

Alex is about to reply when Colin jumps in, "You need to see how he moves in fourth quarters. No amount of stamina training can allow him to do that for more than one quarter."

"You've seen me play?" Alex raises can eyebrow at Colin.

"I've . . . I-uh . . . I did some research before joining the team," admits Colin, "I watched the last five games of this team from last year, so I've seen you play."

Alex sighs, hiding a smile. This guy is crazy. Watching the last five games as research before joining a recreational sports team? Colin is serious!

"Let's get on the court. As long as you manage to get the ball into my hands, we're good," says Alex, "I know that sounds a bit arrogant, but I refuse to leave this game with a score of zero."

Chris, Spencer, and Colin nod. Dwayne is a bit hesitant, but finally agrees.

"Let's show them how strong we really are!" roars Dwayne.

And everything erupts into their control. With a new goal in mind, to score one point, Colin seems to have calmed down, so he starts dribbling down the court, even navigating around a defender.

He sends the ball to Spencer, who is still inexperienced. Spencer hastily throws a pass in the direction of Dwayne, but unfortunately, the pass is intercepted by the other team's point guard, who wears some really sophisticated sports glasses.

Alex growls and darts in front of Glasses. The opponent is surprised for a moment, but then continues on in a routine fake-fake-spin move to get around Alex, but Alex is too smart for that.

During the second fake, Alex shoots out a hand, and the ball sails right into his fingers. He smiles and pulls back, dribbling the ball behind his back.

"You guys have no idea how awesome it feels to have the ball back in my hands again," Alex smiles, finally relaxed.

Glasses-Guy is infuriated, "Take this!"

He reaches for the ball, but Alex dribbles away, narrowly dodging the attempted attack.

Whoosh. One defender down, four to go.

He then shoots forward like a bullet, not even caring to use fakes on the opponents; he just sails right past them with overwhelming speed.

Whoosh. Two defenders down, three to go.

Alex twists and turns, sending the surprised defenders flailing in all directions, wondering why they're chasing empty space.

Whoosh. Three defenders down, two to go.

He stops, and then sprints forward with explosive and aggressive speed, easily shooting past the defense.

Whoosh. Four defenders down, one to go.

Finally, it's the captain with weird hair. Alex darts right in front of the opponent, dribbling dangerously close. Weird-Hair falls for the bait and reaches for the ball. Alex speedily dribbles away and twists around Weird-Hair.

Whoosh. Five defenders down, none to go. 

Actually, there's still one to go. There's nothing between him and the goal now. He can feel the victory cradled in his fingers.

Alex prepares for the lay-up. He takes his first step.

Stomp.

He takes his second step.

Stomp.

He leaps into the air, feeling his hair fly back. The ball floats out of his hands in the direction of the goal. It floats . . . and floats . . . and floats . . . and . . .

Swish. The ball goes in-- six down, none to go.


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Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:23 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Yoshikrab,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

I'll start right away with what I noticed while reading: There is a very good split between the two halves of the chapter, which first show Alex's inner life before going back to the game. I like how he is now highlighted more deeply and you can understand him better. In the last chapter, when you learn that he stayed in school for a year longer so he could continue playing basketball here, I thought it was a bit extreme, but with the information you get here, you get an even better insight into him and you can understand him better, in my opinion.

I think Alex is now one of those characters that we've really seen in full and doesn't have much new to offer in terms of character, apart from his normal tics. (Not to be understood as a negative point).


The narration you use in the first half seems to me as if time is standing still. Alex is standing among all the others, reflecting on himself, wanting to search once more for the motivation and the will, why he took all this on himself to stand here now - to win. And yet he sees that there is still work to be done.
I really like this insight into him and you did a great job of presenting this amount of information in an orderly fashion.

Never in his short, basketball-filled life had Alex been on a more broken team.


I don't know why it's not in italic here, because the code is right, isn't it?

Alex flicked his hair to the side, That doesn't matter right now. Right now, I'm in a game with my new team. We're going to win the championships.
The game continues to move forward, and the ball never touches Alex's hands.


The transition into the second half is like a turn on a swing to the other side. You have succeeded well in getting out of the "inner life" of Alex in a surface tone that is seen from the outside, to get into his world of thoughts, in order to get back into the outside world with it. (Hope that is somehow understandable :D)


I really like the dialogue between the characters and it seems here that Alex is the unintentional centre of attention with his comment that he is at his best in the last quarter. It seems like he got the players together for the first time without them falling out straight away.

The end part where Alex takes the lead with the ball and runs to the basket looks well done, from the structure and the tension. From the look of it, it seems a bit like a kind of poem or song, where the refrain repeats itself with the "whoosh". I also see it as if the comment with the defenders comes from Alex himself, who is starting to wear blinders and only sees himself and the basket in front of him.

Actually, there's still one to go. There's nothing between him and the goal now. He can feel the victory cradled in his fingers.


Since the previous " refrains" always talk about the players, I find it a bit strange that "there's still one to go" is written here and "There's nothing (...)" is written in the next sentence. I don't know who you mean in the first sentence - the basket, which is "defended" by its height, or himself, because he has a little doubt that he can get the ball into the basket?

I like how you have this kind of switching between perspectives in your story, trying to insert onomatopoeic effects to underpin the tension of the game. I enjoyed the chapter and am curious to see how the game will turn out.

On your riddle of the picture, I'm a little unsure who is in it, I would assume in the front with the plate and the ball is Colin (?) (or perhaps Chris? Spencer seems too inexperienced to look that confident :D ) and in the back is Alex. It seems like he took the ball from Alex and swapped it with a hamburger and a soft drink? xD

Have fun writing some more!

Mailice.




Yoshikrab says...


@MailicedeNamedy Thank you for the review!

I think Alex is now one of those characters that we've really seen in full and doesn't have much new to offer in terms of character, apart from his normal tics. (Not to be understood as a negative point).


Yeah, I thought I would probably need at least one character like this. I was trying to be really careful with how I presented his history so I'm glad you think it's great!

I don't know why it's not in italic here, because the code is right, isn't it?


Wait what are you asking here?

On your riddle of the picture, I'm a little unsure who is in it, I would assume in the front with the plate and the ball is Colin (?) (or perhaps Chris? Spencer seems too inexperienced to look that confident :D ) and in the back is Alex. It seems like he took the ball from Alex and swapped it with a hamburger and a soft drink? xD


It was supposed to be Spencer, but yeah I was trying to go for a mischevious look (this IS by the way a spoiler for spencer's future unveiled personality). you got it spot on! what's happening is spencer is in the forefront, who has mysteriously switched alex's basketball and a mcdonalds happy meal and now he's appearing to 'serve' the basketball while alex is confusedly preparing to shoot a meal.

Anyways, thank you again for your review!

-yoshi





That's funny that it worked for me in the comment with the italic for "broken" , because in the text the code itself is still there instead of italicizing the word. (Because I just copied it out...) :D

That it's Spencer surprised me a bit :D I'm curious now.




I drink tea and forget the world's noises.
— Chinese saying