The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Kelvin Beats the Buzzer in Boys Basketball

Kelvin+Beats+the+Buzzer+in+Boys+Basketball
Vivian Studdert

Enthusiastic for a page dedicated to myself and the clever headline “Kelvin takes a shot at basketball,” I was in high spirits… until I found out Social Media Editor senior Ellie Yuan had already taken a “shot” at water polo in September. Ellie carefully documented her time in water polo, recording each practice and summarizing her experience in The Oracle’s September issue. Furious at having the perfect headline for my story snatched away, I promised myself to come up with one that would put hers to shame — and also write an article or something, whatever that’s all about.

The Gunn boys basketball team is divided into three groups — freshman, junior varsity and varsity — each with their own coaches and athletes of all skill levels. The freshman team, as its name suggests, is a team for freshmen. The JV team’s roster mainly consists of sophomores, and the varsity team comprises predominantly upperclassmen. However, depending on skill level, students can be moved by coaches: For instance, there are freshmen on the JV team and sophomores on the varsity team.

Although I am a junior, and as such should have joined the varsity team, I decided to join the freshman team first and make my debut bullying the ninth graders. Luckily for them, a friend recommended I would have more to write about by focusing on the JV team instead, before moving on to varsity. My original plan was to go from the bottom up, so this revised plan actually sped up my schedule.

Still contemplating a suitable headline for my story, I forgot to send an email in advance asking the coaches if I could show up to exert dominance over the sophomores. Fortunately, they welcomed me with open arms, and I happily skipped onto Titan Gym’s basketball court.

The first thing that greeted me was the color orange.Let me clarify: A basketball was hurtling straight toward my face at supersonic speed, and I saw my days of basketball glamor end before I even took my first dribble. I instinctively used my reflexes from my days of fighting crime in Gotham and narrowly avoided a career-ending injury. Unfazed, I walked toward what I assumed were my teammates for the day with a confident smile. My smile widened into a full grin as the basketball I narrowly avoided tripped a freshman behind me. As you can probably tell, I’m a very virtuous person.

I pleasantly spent the first 30 minutes of the day contemplating my life choices and making pitiful attempts at coming up with headlines.

I joined the JV team in their stretches and made small talk as the coaches prepared for practice to start. After some dynamic stretching and casual dribbling, I was already exhausted and ready to head home. A shrill whistle marked the start of practice, and everyone started warming up as I struggled to catch my breath. The warmups consisted of five ball-dribbling drills followed by “Suicides,” an exercise in which one runs back and forth across the court. Then came shooting drills, in which I proceeded to prove Newton’s first law of motion — objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by a net force — with none of my shots coming remotely close to the hoop.

The team’s contagiously energetic mood, however, encouraged me to keep going. Even with my limited time on the team, I could tell that all of the players respected one another and would not hesitate to lend a hand if anyone were struggling. The competitive yet supportive atmosphere truly showed me the athletes’ team spirit and what it meant to be a member of the basketball team. It felt like a family — only, I was that creepy uncle who fails miserably trying to fit in.

Blinded by nausea and on the verge of collapsing, I finally found a moment of respite when the coach yelled, “fast break!” in the middle of a play. I hurried off the court to find a water fountain that could quench my sorrows, only to look around and see my teammates’ dumbfounded stares. Apparently “fast break” is a basketball term for when a player quickly takes the ball and drives to score a point, not a signal for time-out. Recovering briskly, I resumed my position and explained myself to an opponent.

“Stay on your toes,” I said. “I bet you guys won’t know where I’ll pop up next — it’s my secret play.”

I proceeded to almost get sent to the hospital by a nasty misdirection crossover, but hey, at least it looked natural (I think).

Halfway through the practice, I found an opening to escape and hurriedly whipped out a notebook — specially stored in an easily accessible location for times like these — and got to writing. I made up my mind to slam the article instead of a basketball, and walked over to the coaches to catch my breath.

I was assaulted with a battalion of sores and bruises when I woke up the next morning. I pleasantly spent the first 30 minutes of the day contemplating my life choices and making pitiful attempts at coming up with headlines. Right on cue, a message from my planner reminded me of the varsity practice I still had to attend. With the deadline for my article coming up, I begrudgingly limped my way to Titan Gym. After all, never giving up is my strong suit.

I gave up halfway through varsity practice. Although I should’ve expected it, varsity was every bit as strenuous as JV practice. I sat out the warm-ups but joined in on the shooting drills, which I deemed would provide the least strain on my aching body. Everything was going as expected. My partner nailed three-point shot after three-point shot. I missed it again and again. I blinked the sweat out of my eyes. My vision blurred. Next thing I knew, I was on the ground with a ball-shaped bruise on my face. As my partner knelt down next to me and asked if I was all right, one thought was on my mind: “Kelvin beats the buzzer in boys basketball.” What a perfect headline.

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About the Contributor
Vivian Studdert, Sports Editor
Vivian Studdert is a senior and a sports editor for The Oracle. Outside of school, Vivian enjoys reading, swimming and traversing the supermarket.
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