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E - Everyone

King of the Court - 6

by yoshi


Chapter 6

Monsters

In the chilling darkness, players of Marble Creek’s boys’ basketball team speak to each other in hushed tones, in fear of breaking the silence.

As Colin does his work, everyone stares intently, hoping for the best.

"I don’t know about this, guys," Jackson whispers to everyone, "That was basically our last chance."

Alex says grimly, "I thought we could have gotten farther, but it looks like it’s the end of the line for us."

"We can’t give up just yet!" argues Dwayne, "Colin still hasn’t lost!"

Then, with a horrifying twist of fate, the robotic beeping that signals a loss is heard, and Colin leans back in the colorful arcade seat.

"Did you do it?" Alex inquires excitedly, and everyone else leans in closer to check. The score that Colin got on the Pac-Man arcade is 78230, and with great pride, he secures sixth place.

"Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for," says Dwayne dramatically.

"Whose initials were we gonna put again?" Alex wonders.

Colin grins, "I remember now."

With a quick few movements of the joystick, Colin inputs the initials MC, for Marble Creek. At that moment, Coach Miller walks into the tiny arcade, and the team calls him over. Following close behind him is Chris, with a dark hoodie over his head.

Coach Miller takes a quick glance at the high score with MC next to it, but doesn’t seem impressed, "Get out of this dump already; the bracket’s been announced,"

Coach Miller gives the little Pac-Man booth a kick, and the team hurriedly steps out.

"The bracket, as in . . . the tournament’s bracket?" asks Alex.

"Yes, now get your little butts out of here," replies Coach Miller, walking away. Following their coach’s lead, the teammates whisper excitedly to each other, already starting to place bets on who they’ll be up against first.

Alex suggested the team meet up at the mall to hang out so that everyone could get familiar with each other. Of course, instead of actually hanging out, they eventually drifted toward the arcade to play games.

Chris, who wasn’t originally going to come, tailed Coach Miller, probably curious about the brackets. Finally, in a less populous area of the mall, everyone gathers around Coach Miller, and he pulls out the paper. He scans the page for a moment, then lights up, seeing Marble Creek’s name.

"Marble Creek is up against . . ." Coach Miller begins, then pauses, rubbing his eyes as if to check if his vision is failing him.

"Marble Creek is . . ." he begins again, then pauses.

Alex says impatiently, "Who? Who are we against?"

Coach stares at the page for a moment longer, and the expression on his face begins to darken. The coach’s eyes widen, as he pulls the page closer to his face in disbelief. Alex gently takes the paper from Coach Miller, and he stares in surprise at the school underneath ‘Marble Creek.’

". . . no way," Alex says slowly.

"Who is it!?" Dwayne shouts, ripping the paper from Alex’s grasp. He points to a spot on the paper.

"Saint Helena!" he announces loudly, then after a moment’s contemplation, no doubt going through some complex calculations in his head, he concludes, "They must be some super weak team! I mean, look, their name is so stupid!"

A few of the older players shudder, and Colin speaks up, "What’s so bad about this team?"

Finally, Alex answers, "Saint Helena Christian Academy. It’s a private school, but it’s one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. I shadowed there once. They’re really strong and are basically on par with powerhouse public schools, especially in recent years, after a pair of equally talented brothers joined."

"Wait!" Colin interjects, "But we’re a public school. How are we playing against a private school?"

"Saint Helena is . . . sort of an exception," Coach Miller, "I don't know the specifics, but they're so strong, they were bumped up. But that’s not important. What matters is that they are very, very strong. I have no idea what they’re like now, but the last time we played them, they didn’t have nearly enough manpower to press. We might have some freedom on offense."

"Freedom to lose, you mean," Chris adds, "I mean, we’re basically going against the strongest team."

"Not the strongest," clarifies Alex, "But definitely the favorite team of the entire bracket."

With an air of gloom starting to settle on the team, Spencer quickly jumps in.

"I don’t really know what middle school basketball is like," he starts, looking at each and every player on the team, starting to get a little nervous, "Heck, I don’t even know what basketball is like. I’m sure this tournament will be different from whatever basketball we’ve played so far. But . . . I think . . . I think we’re strong!"

Lightening up after Spencer’s burst of optimism, a few teammates nod in reply.

Coach Miller adds, "And if we want that to happen . . . we’ll need to add a lot more conditioning to the practice schedule."

Conditioning, Alex knows, is the bane of every basketball player’s existence. Solely to work on stamina and acceleration, it can be a drill of never-ending torture. Everyone groans, but they already knew what Coach Miller was going to say anyway. In a much better mood than before, the team mills about through the mall, enjoying their weekend to the fullest.

Of course, once the days of practice with extra conditioning start, their life will return to a state of eternal suffering once again.

. . .

A relatively short boy with light brown, almost dirty blonde hair ties his shoes calmly, almost with serenity. He’s very quiet while his team shouts and yells at each other. They’re all swinging their shirts and pants at each other as if it’s the disgusting, sweaty sequel of a pillow fight. It’s all fun and games until someone starts swinging their belt, and finally, the captain shuts them up.

The calm boy thanks his captain and returns to tying his shoes. Most players don’t have the patience to completely untie their shoes and retie them so that their feet will completely fit in without squishing the heel. In fact, even the captain does not do this. None of his teammates understand why he spends so much time painstakingly putting his shoes on, especially since his attitude and energy on the court are basically the complete opposite of his natural personality.

They don’t really understand him, but they do understand his skill.

"Copeland," says the captain as the calm boy starts to exit the locker room, "Where are you going?"

"Just the restroom," he replies, and then grins, "What, are you, my mom?"

"Shut up," replies the captain, "Just remember that we’re still going to need you even for a first-round game."

Copeland laughs, "Don’t be so humble. I’m sure that whatever you throw at some first-round nobodies, they won’t even be able to reach."

The captain, Ethan, stands up, patting his brother on the back and pushing him towards the door. Even being on the team for a while, his teammates still find it disconcerting that there is someone that tall in middle school.

Ethan’s head, after all, nearly touches the roof of the locker room– one of the cons of being 6 foot 4.

. . .

"Remind me why we are taking this stinking old bus to the complex instead of our own transportation?" Chris groans, banging his head on the seat in front of him. Alex, seated in front of him, wakes up with a start but mumbles about pancakes for a moment before immediately falling asleep again.

"Not everyone has their own transportation, you ignoramus," Dwayne replies from across the aisle, enunciating his last word carefully to avoid pronunciation mistakes.

Chris gives him a smirk, "Using big words now, are we?"

Luckily, before Dwayne can hit Chris with a flying tackle, Coach Miller shouts from the front of the bus that they’re nearly there, and everyone’s attention is immediately averted to the windows simultaneously.

Peering out the dirty window, Dwayne notices long rows of perfectly aligned trees, along with well-trimmed bushes and large, blooming flowers.

"What’s going on?" Dwayne asks, "It’s autumn, but these trees are still green!"

"Whoever designed this place decided to fill it with evergreens, I guess," Colin replies, "But honestly, it’s a pretty smart choice. That way, the gardening can look impeccable at any time of the year."

"We’re in Ohio, you idiot," Chris replies, "It snows."

Colin does not take the comment lightly, "Hey! Evergreens are naturally resistant to cold weather!"

From the back of the bus, one of the older players shouts, "Do you guys ever shut up!?"

Dwayne seems a little overexcited about what is to come, "I can’t wait to see the complex! It’s been so long since I’ve seen it! What if they’ve renovated it into an entire . . . amusement park!?"

"Would it even be considered a renovation if you change it that much?" Colin wonders.

To the older players’ dismay, the four boys’ idle chatter continues for the rest of the ride; however, when the bus reaches its destination, they are immediately silenced.

The Ryder Moore Basketball Complex is a huge, monolithic building, with a vast collection of basketball-related activities. The actual courts are on the first floor, with a total of three full-size courts, and an extra practice court. The courts themselves, however, are not as big as the bleachers, which are what make the building appear immense. Adjacent to the courts are a track and gym, as well as a huge food court and recreation center. Above the ‘gym area’ is the second floor, which is where all the locker rooms and various storage rooms can be found.

In short, the complex is any basketball fanatic’s dream home.

After stepping out of the bus, Dwayne swivels around a few times, taking in the view. It seems as if in every direction, there’s something to gawk at. In front of him is the complex itself. To the right of him is extraordinary landscaping. Behind him is a concrete parking lot that nearly shines from how clean it is. To his left is another batch of extraordinary landscaping.

"Done admiring?" Coach Miller taps him on the shoulder, and he wobbles around a little bit, dizzy from the spinning.

"Y-y-yeah . . ." he replies, following the rest of the team the best he can.

Once they are inside, Coach Miller makes a beeline for the receptionist to sign their team in.

"When’s our game?" Dwayne asks, to no one in particular.

Alex replies readily, "It’ll be in two hours. Ten o’clock."

"Can we grab something to eat?" Jackson asks excitedly, looking more excited than when he first saw the complex.

Alex elbows Jackson, and he immediately shuts up.

Dwayne stares up, suddenly feeling as if he’s in an airport. The roof is quite high, and the room is very wide for a lobby. He notices a group of people with matching sweatshirts who look strangely familiar. At the front of them is a tall and well-built Hispanic boy with streaks of red highlights in his hair. Somewhere in the group is their supervisor, but it’s very clear who the leader is.

Many of Marble Creek’s players, including Alex, turn toward the commotion, and they immediately recognize the deep blue uniforms of Pennel Creek Middle School.

"Look who decided to show up," Fernando remarks. Alex walks toward him and extends a hand.

The two captains shake hands respectfully.

"Look who decided to show their faces after that loss," Chris says mockingly from behind Alex.

"Nice to meet you as well," Fernando grins, but there’s no malice.

"Who are you playing today?" Alex asks, a little cautious. Fernando is acting overly familiar, and it’s clearly throwing him off.

"No one of value," Fernando sniffs jauntily.

A short black boy appears from behind his team captain and says, "I’m Horace. Sorry about Fernando. He’s just like this."

"No worries," Alex grins.

Fernando adds, "I saw who you are up against, though. Good luck."

Horace nods ruefully, "Saint Helena is no joke. We played a practice game against them, too. It was after the game with you guys. We’re trying to rebuild the team into something slightly normal, so it was a mess."

"I will not take the blame," Fernando says proudly. Horace gives him a swift kick in the shins.

"How much did you make?" Spencer asks, seemingly fascinated by Fernando.

Fernando replies proudly, "I made 23 points!"

"That seems a bit low, for you," says Dwayne.

"I’m working on it," Fernando replies.

"Our supervisor is signing us in right now, so we’ll just be here for a bit. It looks like your coach is done," Horace points behind Marble Creek’s players, where Coach Miller is staring at them impatiently. Then, he turns around and starts moving down the hallway to the left.

"Okay then, see you," Alex waves, and follows Coach Miller. His teammates also follow him.

They move down the hallway chattering idly. Some discuss the other schools, like Pennel Creek and Saint Helena, while others talk about a new video game that came out.

They go up a long flight of stairs, and Dwayne finally realizes how immensely huge the complex is. It feels even bigger on the inside.

Eventually, they go down a hallway leading into a locker room.

Everyone sets down their bags and backpacks, sitting down and taking sips of water.

After everyone is settled, Coach Miller starts, "We’re playing against a strong team today. You all know that."

"You’re probably scared. I would be, too, if I were in your position," Coach Miller swivels around as he speaks, making sure to speak to every single player.

"But I’m not in your position. So I’m telling you to shut up and stop complaining," says Coach Miller, "I have no doubt that you boys want that victory any less than Saint Helena. I have no doubt that you want that victory any less than any team here. No one comes to this tournament hoping to lose."

"For now, you can talk all you want about whatever you want, but the second you step into the gym, you will be focused. You will be serious. You will play this game of basketball like men. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir."

"I said, do you understand!?" Coach shouts.

"Yes sir!" everyone shouts.

Coach Miller looks around. Satisfied, he turns around toward the door.

"Warm-ups in ten. Get your shoes and uniforms on and jog to Court B. We’ve got the middle court at the busiest time today, against basically the most popular team in the area, so get ready for an intense crowd."

. . .

Spencer never thought that he would feel so amazed. When he first saw the complex, he was completely aghast. The fact that there are huge buildings like Ryder Moore dedicated only to basketball is something that really surprises him.

Coming inside, he felt like he was going into an airport. The interior was very stylish and modern. There were many athletes and teams, and Spencer felt as if he was in a world so much bigger than the one he knew.

But nothing could have prepared him for the stadium itself. A distance away from the double doors going into the stadium, Spencer can already hear the roaring crowd. He can feel the rumbling of their chanting in his chest.

Ten feet away from the gym, he can hear the squeaking of basketball shoes on the hardwood floor.

Nearly to the door, he can just barely hear the sound of basketballs slamming on the floor.

Coach Miller opens the door, and Spencer rushes ahead, going into the stadium first. Once he steps onto the floor, an exhilarating sensation hits him from all sides. He turns left and right, seeing and hearing a roaring crowd in every direction. Some areas are sparser than others, but it’s mostly a jam-packed stadium. He can make out some figures in the stands. Some are seated, and some are standing. Many of the standing ones are probably relatives, cheering their children on as loud as they can.

He can feel the energy radiating from the entire stadium, coursing through his entire body. It's almost like the air itself is different. The energy and the atmosphere of the gym makes Spencer fall silent in wonder.

"Excited?" asks Alex, poking Spencer’s shoulder. Spencer turns around.

"Yes," he replies, "This place is amazing."

Alex nods, "That’s more or less how I felt the first time I came here. It never gets old."

Spencer feels a twinge of sadness in his captain’s voice. Since this is Alex’s last year, he’s probably upset about leaving for high school soon, thinks Spencer.

"Come on," Alex points toward the most crowded section of the stadium, "Our bench is over there."

"Alright!" Spencer follows Alex, ready to face whatever their next game may throw at him.

. . .

The entire team huddles around Coach Miller, fully warmed up.

Of all parts of being in a basketball team, one of Colin’s favorites is probably the huddle. Each and every one of their faces is close together, so they can hear each other over the chants and the cheering. In a huddle, Colin can see every single expression of all his teammates, and the way they’re so close together makes him feel included and close to his friends. They might have an excited expression like Spencer, or a determined expression like Alex. Or they could even have a depressed expression like Chris.

In fact, Chris is, without a doubt, in extreme disapproval of this game. Not for the first time, Colin wonders why Chris even plays basketball in the first place. The tall and skinny boy is by far one of the laziest people Colin has ever come across. Basketball, Colin knows, is an extremely tiring sport. Most of the time, a basketball player’s main job is to sprint back and forth, left and right, up and down the court as fast as they can. For many people, it can sometimes feel like pointless sprinting, and the said people might walk up and down the court instead.

Strangely, however, Colin realizes that he hasn’t yet seen Chris slacking on the court, nor in conditioning, despite his seemingly lazy appearance.

Me, though . . . am I a slacker? Colin is very much aware of his habit to fear the ball on the court. When he was little, it was a hassle just to learn how to catch the ball, as he would always shy away, scared to be hit.

By high school, Colin was, of course, able to receive passes. He also became a very skilled player, better than he ever thought he would become. However, despite his skill, when Colin stands on the court, in the middle of a game, with nine other people, and lights glaring down at him, he can barely move his body the way he wants.

Without even intending it, he finds himself shackled by expectations and his need to impress his peers. Just like in previous practice games and scrimmages, when Colin had returned the ball to Alex each possession. It wasn’t that he felt like he wouldn’t be fit to play as the point guard, or that he wasn’t confident in his skills. It was simply that his mind was racing and the only thing he could think about was that Alex was better than Colin and would more likely score if the ball was in his hands.

Colin shakes his head, ridding himself of as much negativity as possible.

Today, I will perform at my best. I will prove to my teammates how good I am. I will show everyone my strength!

Pumped up and ready to go, Colin grins with excitement. He can’t wait to watch Alex destroy the opponents, and he can’t wait to help him out.

"Here’s our starting line-up," Coach Miller declares, "Alex, Jackson, Chris, Malcolm, and Jonah. Alex and Jonah are the forwards. Chris and Malcolm are the guards. Jackson is the center. Let’s play some good basketball."

Slightly disappointed that he isn’t in the starting line-up, Colin decides to muster up all his energy when they break the huddle, shouting:

"Marble Creek . . . Fight!"

. . .

Five boys in white uniforms step onto the court, trying their best to leave an impression of confidence. They stare at their opponents fiercely, trying to convey as much intimidation as possible. Since for this match, they are the home team, they are to wear their brighter colors, meaning that for them, they will wear white with purple accents, instead of purple with white accents.

Five boys in red uniforms step onto the court at the same time, and they neither frown nor smile. They have nothing to prove, as they already know how strong they are, just like their bright crimson jerseys, they are an unwavering flame, and without careful maintenance, they can erupt from a blaze to an inferno.

Not just any inferno. A towering inferno. Alex notices an immense player on the opposing team. He’s definitely over six feet, and taller than Chris. The immense player is nonchalantly doing some dynamic stretches, preparing for the game.

Alex clutches the cloth of his uniform, barely containing a grin. He loves basketball. He can’t wait to play. He can’t wait to show everyone how strong he is.

"What are you so happy about?" asks a boy next to him. Alex turns to see one of the opposing team’s shorter players. He has light brown hair and is a few inches shorter than Alex.

"I’m just excited," Alex replies, "Basketball’s a lot of fun, after all."

The boy turns around and faces the middle of the court, and says loudly, "Ethan, tip it to me. I'll solo this kid."

Insulted, Alex glares at the boy after he turns back around, "You think I can’t defend you?"

"Yeah," the boy replies nonchalantly, "I’m Copeland, you?"

Instead of giving him an answer, Alex stares, trying to guess what Copeland might do next.

The ref strides onto the court with a basketball in his hands. At the center of the court, inside the circle, is Chris and Saint Helena’s center. The opposing team’s center is so huge, he might as well be an entire foot taller than Chris.

The ref says a few words to the two giants, patting them on the backs and laughing.

Alex thinks in relief, At least the referee seems pretty nice.

The ref then holds the ball over the two crossed hands of Chris and his opponent.

"Red!" shouts the referee, pointing toward the direction the opponent’s center is facing.

"White!" the referee shouts again, pointing toward the direction Chris is facing.

The referee blows his whistle and with one hand, throws the ball into the air. Chris and the other center immediately react, jumping to reach the ball. Chris is, of course, a few inches behind. Saint Helena’s center, instead of hitting the ball back to the point guard, slaps it forward to Copeland as Alex expected.

When Copeland gets the ball, he drops to a crouch, with the ball still in his hands. He slowly brings the ball to the left, then to the right, scanning the court with a hint of a smile on his face.

Alex drops lower in his crouch, too, in anticipation of Copeland’s drive.

After a moment, Copeland makes his move.

It’s a casual drive, nothing serious. He dribbles the ball closer to the three-point line, and Alex follows him. Alex quickly glances back to check on his teammates and see where they’re standing. His teammates are playing a man-to-man defense, where each of them follows a different opponent. However, the opponents are spread out, leaving a wide open space in the center for Copeland to drive through.

"Ready?" asks Copeland, and without waiting for an answer, he drives to Alex’s left side. As Alex moves to follow, Copeland spins to the right, using only one hand on the ball. However, Alex is no amateur. He quickly sprints back in front of Copeland.

Copeland starts pushing forward and Alex backs up carefully, making sure that Copeland does not follow him.

For a second time, Copeland goes to Alex’s left and then spins back to the right. Alex, who was anticipating this, gets there early in hopes of stealing the ball.

However, the spin proves to be fake, as Copeland immediately reverses the movement mid-spin to take advantage of the opening Alex left. It’s all Alex can do to catch up, but Copeland, one step ahead, shoots the lay-up and scores.

2-0

The crowd goes wild. It's not every day you can see technique as good as what Copeland had just shown. Gritting his teeth, Alex runs back to the other side of the court to prepare for the next play. What the heck? This guy is a monster!

Malcolm brings the ball down. He’s playing as the starting point guard, to let Alex have more freedom offensively.

He swings it over to Chris, who attempts a drive into the paint. However, without even looking at the hoop, he passes it out to Alex.

Alex mirrors Chris and attacks the paint. Obviously, Alex is a lot more skilled than Chris and gets around the defenders easily. However, there is one final daunting challenge between him and the hoop.

A 6’4’’ giant steps in between him and the basketball rim. Close up, he’s even bigger than Alex expected. With a quick move to the outside, Alex jumps backward to get some distance and shoots the ball. The center is a lot quicker on his feet than Alex hopes because he follows Alex perfectly and blocks the shot with a slam so hard that it might as well have been broadcasted throughout the entire complex.

"Don’t think that you can shoot that easily on our court," the giant says to him threateningly, running back to the other side to play offense. Alex suddenly feels a wave of despair fill his mind. With an offensive monster like Copeland and an NBA-height giant, no wonder this team is a favorite to win.

Alex follows back to defend, trying to keep his spirits up, and optimistically telling himself over and over that victory may still be possible.


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Tue Jul 04, 2023 5:23 am
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OrabellaAvenue wrote a review...



Hello! This is a random weirdo here to review.

This new team sure is going to be difficult to defeat. What I like about your writing is that readers can't guess what's going to happen next. They've lost games before, and they've won games before. It isn't one or the other, and so this could go either way. It isn't predictable, which I find to be a big factor in whether or not I like a story. If it's too predictable, I don't really care about the story because I know what happens. But if the writer says something so incredibly unlikely that's technically unpredictable, I'm still gonna be annoyed. For (a silly) example, if you're writing a story about a robbery and your MC's a detective, and it turns out the thief was a magical unicorn who wanted enough money to buy a ham sandwich, well, it's sure unpredictable, but the readers are going to be rolling their eyes at the absurdity. (Unless of course it's been a fantasy story all alone and unicorns have been mentioned.)

I wonder how this will end. Will Alex get into his magical zone again and steal the ball for the remaining game? Only the next chapters will tell, when I finally get around to reading them. :)

The chapter title scared me, and the beginning lines were eerie and foreboding. I honestly had no idea they were playing a game for a full few paragraphs. At least there aren't any real monsters. Just really tough-to-beat-players is all.

The tension for which team they'll be playing is built up beautifully, and Alex's "No way," is perfect.

As I progress through reading more of your chapters, is there anything you want me reviewing specifically? (e.g. grammar, dialogue, description, characters, etc.) I might not be able to help with everything, but I figured I could try.

Again, an amazing chapter. (Do I even have to say this? It's quite obvious.) Hope you have an awesome day/night, and don't forget to keep writing!




yoshi says...


Thank u sm for the rev!!!

the thief was a magical unicorn who wanted enough money to buy a ham sandwich,


don't give me ideas xD

The chapter title scared me, and the beginning lines were eerie and foreboding. I honestly had no idea they were playing a game for a full few paragraphs.


As I progress through reading more of your chapters, is there anything you want me reviewing specifically? (e.g. grammar, dialogue, description, characters, etc.) I might not be able to help with everything, but I figured I could try.


I wouldn't really say I'm too picky with the review so review however you like

But I usually prefer reviews over plot and like overall stuff (but grammar corrections would be much appreciated as well)

haha actually that was the joke. I wanted to give the reader a little surprise by building up some nonexistent tension :P



yoshi says...


ummmmmm by the way the ordering of the sentences in my reply is a little off . . . ......

whoops



OrabellaAvenue says...


Haha it's fine. And it was a really creative way to begin the chapter.

Alright, I'll review how I like, but if there's a specific chapter you want reviewed differently, let me know!



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Tue Apr 11, 2023 5:20 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hi yosh!

RandomTalks here with a short review! (Also, sorry for the long wait!)

General Impression: This chapter felt like the start of a new episode, with a new team and a new game. The differences between the characters that had been evident until the previous chapter has been replaced by trust and I like how they all depend on each other now. In that context, the previous chapter felt almost like a transitory one, leading us to a new turn in the road. And there seems to be quite a number of bumps along this one as well!

***

"I don’t know about this, guys," Jackson whispers to everyone, "That was basically our last chance."

The way you started the chapter was rather foreboding, what with the guys whispering about giving up, which made me wonder if I had forgotten something or misremembered the previous chapter. However, I liked the fact that what started as something serious transformed into a fun, laid-back scene where we got to see them behave as boys and not just teammates. The way you dramatized the game was silly and entertaining and it made me smile at their antics. It was a good way to introduce us to the chapter and give us a glimpse of the current dynamics between the team members as well, especially considering I wasn't sure how things would be after Alex's one-man play at the previous game and his brief break from basketball.

They don’t really understand him, but they do understand his skill.

Here, we have another cocky and arrogant opposition member in the form of Copeland. His character does seem interesting but we didn't get to spend much time with him to get a real sense of who he is. His brief interaction with Alex one the court left more of an impression on me than the first introduction we got of his character (although the tying of shoe laces was a quirk that does give us a glimpse of his psyche!). He definitely seems more approachable than Fernando and there seems to be a better harmony among the members of his time who don't resent him for his dominating the court and winning their games.

Although, it does make me wonder. Almost all the teams we have been introduced to until now, have some amazing player who rules the court and wins the games for their teams. Maybe that's something that happens all the time in basketball? In that sense, we are not just getting to be a part of Alex's story who declared he wants to be the King of the Court way back in the prologue. We also get to watch other Kings of the court and their stories and struggles.

"Nice to meet you as well," Fernando grins, but there’s no malice.

I was so excited when we got to meet Fernando again! I didn't think we would get any mentions of him again, since his part in the story is essentially over (?). Its amazing how you got us so attached to a character, and an antagonist at that, in such a short period of time. Fernando seems very much like a changed man and the transition would have shocked me if it hadn't been accompanied by his usual cocky arrogance and over-confidence. Still, it was refreshing to see him again and even Horace's one line of dialogue, which was so typical of his character that has more of a mediating presence, made me smile. I hope we run across them again at some point in the story.

It was simply that his mind was racing and the only thing he could think about was that Alex was better than Colin and would more likely score if the ball was in his hands.

Really loved this part and how you gave us a glimpse of Colin's insecurity and the lingering fear of not being good enough. I love how the story isn't just about Alex, but about these other players as well who are not in the background, but standing shoulder-to-shoulder and complementing and enhancing each other's performance. This part stood out for me the most, especially because there was no resentment or jealousy on Colin's part, just a supreme lack of confidence in himself.

Although, I know Euphory has already mentioned this, but it did take me a moment to realize which character we were focusing on since we shift frequently and seamlessly throughout the chapter. Even though I knew it was Colin we were talking about, I faced some difficulty in connecting his struggle with what we already know about him as a character. Now I suppose this is because you have mentioned about wanting to lead with an omniscient narrator, which is great for a story with so many characters. But even with an omniscient narrator, I had no trouble in differentiating Fernando's narration with Alex, because they are both very distinct and strong. So maybe you could try adding more personality to the narrations so that they are more different and identifiable from one another? This way we get to meet and know each of the characters as their own persons instead of a singular entity who are carrying the story forward.
***

Final Impression: Overall, this was a great chapter. The game at the end has certainly turned intense with our team already lagging behind the opponents'. It was still easy to follow, and I was entertained throughout. However, I am not going to make any predictions this time around since I am sure whatever I guess is only going to be wrong. Still, I am excited to find out!

Now, I'll be heading over to send some super late replies to your comments on my reviews.

Until next time!

~RandomTalks




yoshi says...


Hey random! Thank you so much for the rev!!!!! <3

Although, it does make me wonder. Almost all the teams we have been introduced to until now, have some amazing player who rules the court and wins the games for their teams. Maybe that's something that happens all the time in basketball? In that sense, we are not just getting to be a part of Alex's story who declared he wants to be the King of the Court way back in the prologue. We also get to watch other Kings of the court and their stories and struggles.


Ahahaha, so at this point, this is definitely something that can make readers wonder what basketball is really like, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty sure I dramatize it a LOT. As a basketball player myself, this story is mostly a reflection of my inner 'fantasies' about basketball, so to speak? Typically, what you'll see on an irl basketball team, and strong one's especially, is that every single player is amazing, and no one player stands out among the rest.

Although, I know Euphory has already mentioned this, but it did take me a moment to realize which character we were focusing on since we shift frequently and seamlessly throughout the chapter. Even though I knew it was Colin we were talking about, I faced some difficulty in connecting his struggle with what we already know about him as a character. Now I suppose this is because you have mentioned about wanting to lead with an omniscient narrator, which is great for a story with so many characters. But even with an omniscient narrator, I had no trouble in differentiating Fernando's narration with Alex, because they are both very distinct and strong. So maybe you could try adding more personality to the narrations so that they are more different and identifiable from one another? This way we get to meet and know each of the characters as their own persons instead of a singular entity who are carrying the story forward.


yeahhhhhh, i've been thinking about this actually. WHAT IF, instead of the three dots, I just put the name of the character i'll be shadowing . . .

again tyyyyy for the rev

-yosh



yoshi says...


Hey random! Thank you so much for the rev!!!!! <3

Although, it does make me wonder. Almost all the teams we have been introduced to until now, have some amazing player who rules the court and wins the games for their teams. Maybe that's something that happens all the time in basketball? In that sense, we are not just getting to be a part of Alex's story who declared he wants to be the King of the Court way back in the prologue. We also get to watch other Kings of the court and their stories and struggles.


Ahahaha, so at this point, this is definitely something that can make readers wonder what basketball is really like, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty sure I dramatize it a LOT. As a basketball player myself, this story is mostly a reflection of my inner 'fantasies' about basketball, so to speak? Typically, what you'll see on an irl basketball team, and strong one's especially, is that every single player is amazing, and no one player stands out among the rest.

Although, I know Euphory has already mentioned this, but it did take me a moment to realize which character we were focusing on since we shift frequently and seamlessly throughout the chapter. Even though I knew it was Colin we were talking about, I faced some difficulty in connecting his struggle with what we already know about him as a character. Now I suppose this is because you have mentioned about wanting to lead with an omniscient narrator, which is great for a story with so many characters. But even with an omniscient narrator, I had no trouble in differentiating Fernando's narration with Alex, because they are both very distinct and strong. So maybe you could try adding more personality to the narrations so that they are more different and identifiable from one another? This way we get to meet and know each of the characters as their own persons instead of a singular entity who are carrying the story forward.


yeahhhhhh, i've been thinking about this actually. WHAT IF, instead of the three dots, I just put the name of the character i'll be shadowing . . .

again tyyyyy for the rev

-yosh



yoshi says...


Hey random! Thank you so much for the rev!!!!! <3

Although, it does make me wonder. Almost all the teams we have been introduced to until now, have some amazing player who rules the court and wins the games for their teams. Maybe that's something that happens all the time in basketball? In that sense, we are not just getting to be a part of Alex's story who declared he wants to be the King of the Court way back in the prologue. We also get to watch other Kings of the court and their stories and struggles.


Ahahaha, so at this point, this is definitely something that can make readers wonder what basketball is really like, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty sure I dramatize it a LOT. As a basketball player myself, this story is mostly a reflection of my inner 'fantasies' about basketball, so to speak? Typically, what you'll see on an irl basketball team, and strong one's especially, is that every single player is amazing, and no one player stands out among the rest.

Although, I know Euphory has already mentioned this, but it did take me a moment to realize which character we were focusing on since we shift frequently and seamlessly throughout the chapter. Even though I knew it was Colin we were talking about, I faced some difficulty in connecting his struggle with what we already know about him as a character. Now I suppose this is because you have mentioned about wanting to lead with an omniscient narrator, which is great for a story with so many characters. But even with an omniscient narrator, I had no trouble in differentiating Fernando's narration with Alex, because they are both very distinct and strong. So maybe you could try adding more personality to the narrations so that they are more different and identifiable from one another? This way we get to meet and know each of the characters as their own persons instead of a singular entity who are carrying the story forward.


yeahhhhhh, i've been thinking about this actually. WHAT IF, instead of the three dots, I just put the name of the character i'll be shadowing . . .

again tyyyyy for the rev

-yosh



RandomTalks says...


Mentioning the character's names sounds like a good idea to me!

And as always, you are very welcome!



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Sun Mar 26, 2023 11:59 pm
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Euphory wrote a review...



Hi yosh! <3 this is a review brought to you by The Crimson Critics!

OHMYGOSH. THEY'VE GONE ALL THE WAY TO TOURNAMENTS!!!!

CHARACTERS
YOU GAVE US SO MANY GLIMPSES INTO THE TEAM THIS TIME AROUND! Especially in terms of how they all interact with one another, starting with the arcade scene in the very beginning, the scene in the bus on the way to the stadium, as well as the individual POVs as well, like Colin, and Spencer!

It's funny, I really wouldn't have thought it would be possible to develop so many characters as well as you have, but you've done a fine job of it, while also making them relatively likeable. They don't have distinct voices however, so whenever you do a POV change, there's not a lot of idiosyncrasy or individuality shining through, but I think you make up for it by giving each character their 5 minutes of spotlight as well as their own goals and motivations!

AND FERNANDO <3 Seeing the change in him here really capped his redemption arc quite neatly! Thst proud "23!" :'D I'm proud of him too! Fernando and Horace are precious, and I love their chemistry! <3 I think what you did with Fernando's character is one of the highlights of your story!

I CAN'T WAIT FOR MORE OF COPELAND AND THE OPPONENT TEAM !!!! Copeland feels a little similar to Fernando so far, so I can't wait to get more of him in the net chapter. I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE MATCH TOO!




yoshi says...


thank u sm<3333



yoshi says...


WASSUP

It's funny, I really wouldn't have thought it would be possible to develop so many characters as well as you have, but you've done a fine job of it, while also making them relatively likeable. They don't have distinct voices however, so whenever you do a POV change, there's not a lot of idiosyncrasy or individuality shining through, but I think you make up for it by giving each character their 5 minutes of spotlight as well as their own goals and motivations!


Yep I was kinda hoping for the POV's to change seamlessly like in a movie or TV show, where everyone's thoughts are shown, but I wanted to keep the narrator non-ominiscent, so this is what I settled with.

Plus, I can skip over stuff I don't wanna write by doing this.

thanks for the rev <33333

-yosh



Euphory says...


You're welcome! <33333333
You absolutely nailed the POV hopping, in my humble opinion! It is very reminiscient of TV show scenes for sure!




Life is about losing everything.
— Isabel Allende