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Nathan’s Basketball Journey

by solid


With the sun above the head at noon, there was a boy playing by himself in the basketball court, whose vest had been soaked through. He was doing some technical practices— dribbled between the legs, behind the back, posted up and faked by shaking shoulders, then made a fadeaway shot.

“Aha,” the boy punched the air, “I know you can do this, Nathan.” There was no doubt that Nathan was really good at shooting with all these beautiful motions, but things were totally different when it came to layups. Nathan speeded up from beyond the three-point line, carried the ball at the freethrow line and jumped toward the right side of the hoop trying to lay the ball through the basket after two steps. What a standard layup except it did not go through the hoop.

“This ain’t right.”Nathan thought so when he tried to do a finger roll but it went so strong that the ball bounced over the basket.

“I hate this,”Nathan felt discouraged, “Do I really have to be good at layups? ” He picked up the ball and sat down in the shade. “Maybe it’s time to go home.” He stretched for a while after a blast of wind cooled him down.

Days later, a match was going on.

“4,3… ”

As the number counted down on the screen, Nathan ran at full speed toward the hoop.

“You can do it ! Nathan ! ” A man yelled at Nathan, who was in his forties, wearing a black sport coat with a mustache. He was Nathan’s coach. Waving his arm, he was so excited that as if he would cross the bound the next second.

Clearly Nathan had a good chance to do a layup to kill the game with only one point left behind, as long as he could pass through the guarding guy in front of him. Forced to go to his left, he knew it was not a smooth motion, but at that moment, he had to stick to it once he made the decision because there was no time left to reconsider. He did pass the guy with a nice crossover, then he rushed to the rim. After the ball was out of his hand, Nathan knew it was too strong and felt like being struck by lightning as the final whistle blew.

“Oh,no—!” The basketball went exactly how it was a few days ago—bounced over the basket.

“Woo—!”Nathan’s competitors celebrated so loud that Nathan felt like a needle was pressed into his heart.

“I should have practiced this perfectly,” Nathan felt more upset when thinking about this, “We lost because of me.”

“Don’t just stand there and stare at the floor.” The coach came to the boy and patted him on the shoulder, “Everyone would lose someday and I am glad you had it early today.”

Nathan turned up his head and looked at the coach with a confused face. “There were many geniuses who had been defeated by that one failure because their life before went so right that they couldn’t handle even only once being knocked down,” The coach said with emphasis, “The thing is how you face it, either you shun it as a shaming history and do nothing about it or you’re gonna fix it right.”

After everyone left the indoor stadium, Nathan and the coach remained.

“Now do it one more time how you shoot layups.”The coach told Nathan. Nathan started at the place where he got the pass in the game, and this time he tried to be smart and make a neat layup. Still the ball bounced over the basket after a full speed sprint.

“Now you watch me do it.” Then the coach showed Nathan how he finished a layup. In Nathan’s eyes, the coach seemed not doing anything different from him except a little bit slow down before jumping up.

“You see the difference?” The coach asked.

“I only noticed that you slowed down before jumping,” Nathan nodded, then shaked his head, “But I don’t understand.”

“You know, the secret of layups is about balance. You can’t do it with full speed, you need to slow down but not too slow, which means stay aggressive. You have to figure out the balance. ”The coach responded.

Then Nathan started his journey to figure out the balance of layups. Things went pretty well at first, he became kind of good at layups after a few times of practice, after which Nathan still felt unsatisfied, he was eager for being more professional. That was good to hear, but at that time, Nathan did not understand there was another balance to figure out. Nathan trained so hard that he did not give enough time for himself and his joints and muscles to rest, which led to his stagnation on his progress.

At that point, the coach stood out again. One day, the coach noticed that Nathan was slow to respond and random in a game.

“What’s wrong with you, Nathan?” The coach called a time out and asked Nathan.

“I’ve been in the court day and night once I have time…”Nathan tried to say more.

“That’s what you did?” The coach pulled him up, “That’s what the problem is. You can’t just be in the court training all the time. That ‘s another balance you have to figure out. You need to give yourself time to rest out. ”

“Oh! I see.” Nathan was hit.

After that, Nathan finally understood that balances were not only about layups, but also about life. For layups, he understood that he had to slow down but stay aggressive before jumping. For life, he realized he had to get some time to rest so that he could go back to practice effectively. With proper time and method to train, Nathan made progress step by step.

Years later, Nathan became a good basketball player in the youth team. When people asked him about how he got the achievement. Nathan often talked about the coach of his childhood teaching him the balance about layups and combining work and rest.

One day Nathan was doing an interview and had been asked about how he got where he was and Nathan said so:

“Balance is not just in layups, it also applies to life. Our human body is like a rubber band, which is stretched when we’re working. As time goes by, it’s been stretched harder and harder while we keep working. Eventually it will be broken. So people can not just be working all the time, like what I did when I was a kid, enough time to test is also important. You can’t do anything with an exhausted body, right?” Nathan said, “More importantly, my coach taught me how to face failure, either you shun it as a shaming history and do nothing about it or you’re gonna fix it right. Are there any lessons that could be better than this?”


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Mon Jun 10, 2024 12:17 am
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Que wrote a review...



Hi solid!

Que here to give you a review today. :)

I'm going to break this review out into a couple of different topics and then I'll give a little overview at the end.

Plot

Overall, your plot had all the key elements: there was a clear problem, some various strategies to overcome it, and a good outcome for the main character! I think that people without background knowledge of basketball would still have a good idea of what's going on and would be able to follow along with the story.

One thing I might note is that while Nathan's ultimate takeaway is about balance between life and basketball, readers don't really see anything outside of basketball! It could be helpful to include some little pieces of the rest of Nathan's life so that readers, too, get a little of that balance.

Some things that the story leaves me questioning are, what age is he? Is this a school team he's on? What are the stakes? It could be interesting to see a little comment when he's working day and night on basketball that he stopped doing schoolwork, or that his mom was worried about him. Just a small something to show a bit of his life outside of basketball, even though this story is primarily about the basketball element.

Character

I liked Nathan's growth throughout the story, which is important since he's the main character! The coach also seemed very kind and forgiving instead of being too hard on Nathan -- he takes the time to teach him important lessons.

One thing that I thought could strengthen the story might be the inclusion of Nathan's teammates. While the other team does briefly celebrate, and the coach supports, I was really curious to know what Nathan's teammates thought! Were they ashamed of him and upset about it? Or are they friends and told him to just try again next time? I feel like the reaction of people his age would be really influential in how he trains and participates in the game! I think something like that could help flesh out the story and conflict a little more.

Dialogue & wording
Finally, although there were some really nice emotional moments in this piece, I think sometimes the phrasing felt a little cumbersome.

For example, this phrase gets repeated when Nathan is interviewed in the future:

Either you shun it as a shaming history and do nothing about it or you’re gonna fix it right.

Since the story is so brief, it can be important to work on even the small details! For me, I really liked the essence of this quote, and it was clear the impact that it had on Nathan. However, "shun it as a shaming history," doesn't feel like something someone would really say, and "fix it right" fits in a little oddly with the rest of the phrase. I feel like if you simplified the quote to something like this (just an example!), "Either you let shame keep you from doing anything or you work to fix it," that could help to have more of an emotional impact.

That was just one moment that I sort of tripped over, but the main thing is just doing a closer read of your own story and paying attention to the language you're using so that the story is as clear as it can be.

Overall

To sort of close things out, I think you wrote a really nice, heartfelt story! My impression is that maybe you have some experience in basketball, too? It made me happy to just see a good outcome and such a positive influence from the coach, and to watch Nathan improve his life and find balance.

I think you did a nice job with the emotions and the plot overall, and it was nice to have the ending a little ways out into the future. My main suggestions would be adding some other elements of Nathan's life into the mix, maybe including his teammates, and refining some of the dialogue.

Overall, nice job! You're welcome to take or leave any of my suggestions. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

-Q




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Wed May 08, 2024 1:02 am
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: This is a lovely little piece here. Its quite simple but the message it conveys is truly a powerful one and it really leave you with a smile on your face.

Anyway let's get right to it,

With the sun above the head at noon, there was a boy playing by himself in the basketball court, whose vest had been soaked through. He was doing some technical practices— dribbled between the legs, behind the back, posted up and faked by shaking shoulders, then made a fadeaway shot.

“Aha,” the boy punched the air, “I know you can do this, Nathan.” There was no doubt that Nathan was really good at shooting with all these beautiful motions, but things were totally different when it came to layups. Nathan speeded up from beyond the three-point line, carried the ball at the freethrow line and jumped toward the right side of the hoop trying to lay the ball through the basket after two steps. What a standard layup except it did not go through the hoop.


OOoh that's a lovely bit of description to get us started off here. Immediately establishing exactly where we are and what we're getting up to. I think the depiction of Nathan's skill is also nicely done to show us where he's at here.

w“This ain’t right.”Nathan thought so when he tried to do a finger roll but it went so strong that the ball bounced over the basket.

“I hate this,”Nathan felt discouraged, “Do I really have to be good at layups? ” He picked up the ball and sat down in the shade. “Maybe it’s time to go home.” He stretched for a while after a blast of wind cooled him down.

Days later, a match was going on.


Hmm well you can certainly understand that frustration of being so good at most aspects of the sport but just being unable to do that one thing and you really do find yourself wondering if you truly need it but if past experience is anything to judge by that will come back to bite him.

“4,3… ”

As the number counted down on the screen, Nathan ran at full speed toward the hoop.

“You can do it ! Nathan ! ” A man yelled at Nathan, who was in his forties, wearing a black sport coat with a mustache. He was Nathan’s coach. Waving his arm, he was so excited that as if he would cross the bound the next second.

Clearly Nathan had a good chance to do a layup to kill the game with only one point left behind, as long as he could pass through the guarding guy in front of him. Forced to go to his left, he knew it was not a smooth motion, but at that moment, he had to stick to it once he made the decision because there was no time left to reconsider. He did pass the guy with a nice crossover, then he rushed to the rim. After the ball was out of his hand, Nathan knew it was too strong and felt like being struck by lightning as the final whistle blew.


Well there we go, the karma comes in instantly there. I really love the way you set that scene up with the coach and Nathan's own thoughts. That really captures the essence of everything so well and really puts us into the power of this scene here.

“Oh,no—!” The basketball went exactly how it was a few days ago—bounced over the basket.

“Woo—!”Nathan’s competitors celebrated so loud that Nathan felt like a needle was pressed into his heart.

“I should have practiced this perfectly,” Nathan felt more upset when thinking about this, “We lost because of me.”

“Don’t just stand there and stare at the floor.” The coach came to the boy and patted him on the shoulder, “Everyone would lose someday and I am glad you had it early today.”


Well that's quite a lovely set of reactions. Nathan of course having the reaction most of us would have in a moment like that shouldering the responsibility of that but that's quite a good coach there stepping in and giving the right advice for that situation. I think you've done wondering job capturing both reactions there.

Nathan turned up his head and looked at the coach with a confused face. “There were many geniuses who had been defeated by that one failure because their life before went so right that they couldn’t handle even only once being knocked down,” The coach said with emphasis, “The thing is how you face it, either you shun it as a shaming history and do nothing about it or you’re gonna fix it right.”

After everyone left the indoor stadium, Nathan and the coach remained.

“Now do it one more time how you shoot layups.”The coach told Nathan. Nathan started at the place where he got the pass in the game, and this time he tried to be smart and make a neat layup. Still the ball bounced over the basket after a full speed sprint.


Oooh well this coach is really going above and beyond there and its quite incredibly to see. The coach truly does seem to care a lot for Nathan and is using this moment to teach a valuable lesson. Once again I adore how this is being portrayed.

“Now you watch me do it.” Then the coach showed Nathan how he finished a layup. In Nathan’s eyes, the coach seemed not doing anything different from him except a little bit slow down before jumping up.

“You see the difference?” The coach asked.

“I only noticed that you slowed down before jumping,” Nathan nodded, then shaked his head, “But I don’t understand.”


Oooh loving these little details here, how its just about such a small little thing sometimes thats preventing the wider move from happening despite theoretically Nathan knowing everything that Nathan should be doing.

“You know, the secret of layups is about balance. You can’t do it with full speed, you need to slow down but not too slow, which means stay aggressive. You have to figure out the balance. ”The coach responded.

Then Nathan started his journey to figure out the balance of layups. Things went pretty well at first, he became kind of good at layups after a few times of practice, after which Nathan still felt unsatisfied, he was eager for being more professional. That was good to hear, but at that time, Nathan did not understand there was another balance to figure out. Nathan trained so hard that he did not give enough time for himself and his joints and muscles to rest, which led to his stagnation on his progress.


It seems Nathan went a little hard on the training there. You can really see his dedication through that and also the fact that he's quite committed to the point of of neglecting himself there. Once again I love how much information you bring across through just description.

At that point, the coach stood out again. One day, the coach noticed that Nathan was slow to respond and random in a game.

“What’s wrong with you, Nathan?” The coach called a time out and asked Nathan.

“I’ve been in the court day and night once I have time…”Nathan tried to say more.

“That’s what you did?” The coach pulled him up, “That’s what the problem is. You can’t just be in the court training all the time. That ‘s another balance you have to figure out. You need to give yourself time to rest out. ”

“Oh! I see.” Nathan was hit.


Hmm I love the coach being quite direct there. I think its perfectly done here. Once again there isn't a whole lot of dialogue in here but what little there is ends up adding so very much to the situation at hand here.

After that, Nathan finally understood that balances were not only about layups, but also about life. For layups, he understood that he had to slow down but stay aggressive before jumping. For life, he realized he had to get some time to rest so that he could go back to practice effectively. With proper time and method to train, Nathan made progress step by step.

Years later, Nathan became a good basketball player in the youth team. When people asked him about how he got the achievement. Nathan often talked about the coach of his childhood teaching him the balance about layups and combining work and rest.


Well that's quite a nice little journey to go on there. I think its quite beautifully captured here. You've really done a wonderful job bringing it together and it really comes together to send a lovely message here too.

One day Nathan was doing an interview and had been asked about how he got where he was and Nathan said so:

“Balance is not just in layups, it also applies to life. Our human body is like a rubber band, which is stretched when we’re working. As time goes by, it’s been stretched harder and harder while we keep working. Eventually it will be broken. So people can not just be working all the time, like what I did when I was a kid, enough time to test is also important. You can’t do anything with an exhausted body, right?” Nathan said, “More importantly, my coach taught me how to face failure, either you shun it as a shaming history and do nothing about it or you’re gonna fix it right. Are there any lessons that could be better than this?”


I think this is very well done here. Its the perfect way to tie up the journey that Nathan has gone and show how much he's grown and the way that he's now passing on the lessons he's learnt onto the younger generation. Its a beautiful ending.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall this was a lovely tale here. I think you did a wonderful job bringing that journey across through conversations and actions before getting to that final beautiful summary. Very nicely done.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Kate





Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.
— Euripides