George Weston picked up the telephone and sat on his desk. He looked at the clock, the shorthand points past the 4th hour. It is already 4 pm, it is just about time to stop the kids from training.
"Hello?... Oh, alright... Ahahaha! That's good!..."
Suddenly the door flung open. Denis came in with an angered expression. George gestured him to wait and finished the call.
Denis stood there and looked at his coach patiently.
"... Ok, I'll call you later... Please, don't bother... Goodbye!"
George put down the telephone and looked at the Captain he appointed. Looking at his demeanor, the coach new that something is up.
"What's with your temper, Denis!"
"Sorry... Coach, who the hell is that kid!"
George placed a cigarette in his mouth and lit it up. He puffed a smoke before asking who.
"The tan-skinned youth! The one from Welcity!"
"Welcity? Ah, yes... I remember now. Did you play a game?"
"What do you think?"
"Oy, oy! Is that the attitude you are going to show me? Denis!"
Denis was startled and tried to calm himself down. He looked at his coach asking for an answer.
"So did you win?"
"Of course! Who do you think we are?"
"Hahaha!" George just laughed and circled around his desk before taking a seat. After sitting down he gestured Denis to also take a sit.
"Is he strong?"
"Strong?... We won though..."
George could not understand. If they played a game, 21 points are very small, he thought. He looked at Denis for an explanation.
"I proposed to play a Half-court game, 2v2. It is a race to 11."
He was puzzled... George does not understand what has happened. He even thought that he should have spectated the game.
"Why 2v2?", George asked.
"The kid rushed here without bringing any of his teammates. He is an idiot! I did not comply with his demand for 1v1 and then someone complied to become his teammates, thus enabling him to play for 2v2."
Then he noticed something strange, "Wait... a race to eleven? You were actually pushed to extend the game to 21 points?"
"Yes... They scored as soon as our players scored."
George was surprised as he did not expect such an outcome, after all, he just complied to the kid's demand because he was pestered ceaselessly. The kid was crazy, at first George declined but the kid called him at least 30 times in one afternoon which continued on for 3 days. He wouldn't comply if he was pestered that much.
Actually, he was quite impressed by the effort the kid from Welcity gave, just to make him comply in accepting a practice game.
"Who played for us?"
"Becreux and Dawson."
Surprised once again, George did not expect that the boy actually managed to bring a tough game to one of his best player in the team.
"Levi couldn't stop the kid? Even with Dawson to help him?"
George imagined how the kid actually looked like. He hadn't seen him but he imagined a fairly tall and skilled player that can compete with Levi Becreux, a 6-foot 8 anomaly.
"So you didn't know him?"
"Yes... Haven't met the kid."
Denis heavily sighed and just repeated the name in his head, "Fin Stee... Pray that you won't meet me in the future."
He remembered how Fin drove and got past Becreux... Every magical layup he made. The kid was a bonafide scoring machine, this is something that Denis can't deny.
And then Denis felt strange as Lance's face appeared in his mind. "That kid, even though he didn't shoot even a single bucket, his movements disrupted our defense easily and made great assists."
George just laughed and said, "Alright, we are done with this talk. Just take note of him, maybe we'll meet at the nationals... Also, training's over. Tell everyone to cool down and head home."
Denis nodded and left the room.
"You lost? Figures."
Lance nodded at Liza's words and continued to chew on his dinner.
He told his aunt what happened and made up a reason why he chose to study at First City Highschool.
"Actually, what surprised me the most is you having the nerve to play against a powerhouse. I bet it was a good experience."
"Yup, it is fun."
Liza smiled as she saw her nephew smile. She is happy that her nephew begun to smile again. She could remember when Lance came into her doorsteps soaked in the rain. The time she took care of him, he was always burdened by his hate for his father, but now it is different, he began to smile more and laugh more.
"Alright, if you are decided let's go to the Welcity this weekend and enroll you to that school you want to enroll in."
"You aren't available these weekdays?" Lance asked as he reached for a glass of water. He looked at Liza and thought of her work as a professional athlete.
"Yes, the team decided to go to welfare communities and volunteer to help. I won't be here for 3 days."
"Oh, take care then."
Liza looked at her nephew and patted his head. Whenever she sees her nephew she feels happy as if he is her own son.
"Thank you, Lance."
While Liza is gone, Lance took the time to train his handles and shooting. He wanted to develop his ball sense to be able to play well.
Lance went to their backyard with a ball and begun to exercise his handles. He repeatedly dribbled the ball differently and focused on his control.
He looked at the hoop in their backyard and decided to practice his shooting from every angle.
This routine continued when his aunt is out of town. Of course, he also focused on muscle training and stamina, he can't skimp on those if he wanted to join in a high school basketball team.
When his aunt returned they prepared to go to Welcity and Liza helped him to enroll there.
The school does not have any redeeming features. It is a start-up private school with mediocre facilities. Liza even wanted to back out but Lance insisted and said, "It won't be fun if there is no challenge."
Liza complied and handed over all the required documents needed.
Afterward, they stayed for a couple of days and searched for an apartment Lance can rent which is near the school.
Finally, they found a small apartment enough for Lance to live in. Actually, Liza wanted him to rent a large apartment as he has money they have money to do so but Lance insisted that he wanted a minimalist lifestyle.
The place he rented was a good place. It was on the 8th floor of the apartment building and had a good view of the city. It is close to the school, it only takes 15 minutes of walk.
Lance also loved the spot as the place is near a park where he can jog every morning and practice basketball.
He told Liza that he wanted to move sooner but Liza insisted him to stay with her until the end of the month. Lance could not reject her as she is already like a mother to him and he knows that Liza felt the same to him.
In the rest of the month, Lance continued to do his routine every day and sharpen his skills in basketball.
He felt significant improvement within the month. His movements became smoother, his shooting became more accurate and his body has become more responsive. His daily training paid off.
He was glad he came back and because at the time he realized the significance of basketball to his life his body was already wasted and bed-ridden. He thanked God for giving another chance.
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