As the clock winds down, Jake’s teammates look up at the scoreboard with anticipation. Leading the Wolves by two points with just thirty-eight seconds to go, Jake and the Sharks are looking to seal the win. Jake passes to Chris who looks for a way to get to the basket. Just one bucket would be enough for the Sharks to win tonight. Just one bucket and the game would be over.

As Chris drives to the basket, the opposing team’s players all crash on him. He would have to get rid of the ball or it would be forcefully turned over. With a quick prayer, Chris tosses the ball behind him, just as the other team’s players surround him. A Wolves player gets a hand on the ball, stealing it and dribbling up the court. He is completely open, nobody stands between him and the basket. He takes a few more steps and completes his layup, scoring two points. The score is even, 64-64.

The Sharks inbound the ball to Jake, and he lets the clock tick as he slowly dribbles up the court. With the game in his hands, he knows what he has to do, and everybody on his team is counting on him to do it. Standing just in front of the midcourt line, Jake watches the clock. …15, 14, 13… His heart is beating with anticipation and his blood is filled with adrenaline. …11, 10, 9…. Feinting left, Jake sprints up the court, leaving his defender reeling. As he dribbles towards the paint, other defenders launch towards him trying to get in his way. …6, 5… Jake immediately stops in his tracks and jumps up. Nine faces on the court look up at Jake as his feet leave the ground. Letting go of the ball, Jake watches as it soars through the air, rotating slowly. …3, 2… The ball swishes through the hoop followed by an emphatic cheer. …1…

As the buzzer sounds, Jake is swarmed by his teammates. Like every other night, Jake becomes a hero for the Sharks, a star who is able to lead his team to victory regardless of the opponent. Scanning the crowd, Jacob sees familiar faces. Parents of his teammates smile proudly, clapping and cheering. Jake sees the parents of the losing team, their faces shrouded in disappointment. A few scouts sit in the stands, each with a clipboard or laptop in hand. Their attire, dark blazers and nice shirts, stand out amongst the other fans. Although the stands are overflowing with spectators, Jake is completely undaunted. Nobody in the stands today is someone that Jake wants to see him play. Nowhere among the large crowd is his mother.

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