Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16) (5 page)

BOOK: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16)
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88
They split us up
into four groups to
do drills in
different areas of the
gym, and my group
started
off with dribbling. I
was having a little
trouble
with the hand–e
ye coordination thing, so I kept
dribbling it off my
shoe.
I noticed that every time I messed up, some guy
with a clipboard would write down my number.
89
So I tried to stay behind the guys with the
clipboards, and the other kids who stunk started
copying me.
Every once
in a
while I’d
dribble five
or six
times in
a row,
and of
course no
one was
watching
THEN
.
But Mom
made sure
to let
the guys
with the
clipboards know
when I
was doing
well.
90
After we dribbled with
our right hands for
a few
minutes, the guy in
charge of our group
said it was
time to switch to
our
LEFT
hands. I
thought he
was joking, and I
actually
L
A
UGH
ED
.
But I probably shouldn’t have, because that just
made him write down my number.
I guess some people can do things with both
hands, but not me. In fact, my left hand is
practically
USELESS
.
One time I sprained my right wrist and I had
to take a test at school using my left hand. And
I think I would’ve done better if I’d held the
pencil in my
MO
UTH
.
91
Once we
finished with
our dribbling
drills, we
switched to
free throws.
And I
really wished
I hadn’t
learned
to
shoot a
basketball
with
a
BALL
O
O
N
, because I totally
misjudged how much
effort I needed to
put into my shot.
92
I think Mom could see I wasn’t doing so great,
so, whenever one of the evaluators got near
her, she’d snitch on the
OT
H
E
R
kids who were
struggling.
But it’s not like Mom was the
ONL
Y
parent
help
ing their own kid. Some of the
evaluators had
kids
who were trying out tonight, so I wonder
how fair the scoring really was.
93
By the end of
the night, it was
pretty obvious
who was gonna make
a team and who
wasn’t. But
I guess they needed
to decide which kid
was gonna
get the final spot,
because they made the
bottom
nine kids fight it
out in a practice
play. And all I
can say is it
wasn’t
PRETTY
.
Once that was over, they collected our jerseys.
The guy running tryouts told everyone that if
we made a team our parents would get an email by
tomo
rrow
nigh
t. But after that experience I’m
not exactly holding my
BREA
TH
.
94
Tuesday
When I
got home
from school
yesterday, my
plan
wa
s to
relax
and
maybe take
a
nap. So I was pr
et
ty
surprised when
I walked
into the
kitchen.
I was confused, because I knew for
SURE
I
didn’t make either of the basketball teams. But
Mom said she heard from one of the coaches who
said I
DID
. Then she showed me the email to
prove it.
It was from Mr
Patel, Preet Patel’s father.
Preet’s one of the
best athletes in our grade, and
during the student–teacher basketball game last
year Preet totally
DOMINA
TED
.
95
I couldn’t understand how I got on the same
team as a kid like
T
H
AT
. But Mom said the
evaluators must’ve seen something special in me,
and that’s why I made the cut.
When I thought back to the night before, I
couldn’t remember Preet actually
being at try
outs.
So now I was even
MORE
confused.
At
school today
Jabari
Bruce told
me
what
h
a
pp
e
n
e
d
.
Preet missed tryouts because
he had to
go to his uncle’s
funeral, and the rule
was that if
you skipped tryouts you
couldn’t be on a
team.
96
So Mr Patel made a
N
EW
team with Preet plus
all the kids who got cut, just so his son could play
this season.
Well, I wasn’t happy
to hear
T
H
AT
. I thought
I was off the
hook for basketball, and
now all
of a sudden I
was on an actual
team. And I
knew there was no
way Mom was letting
me out of
this, either.
Our first practice was
tonight at the elementary
school. And
when Mr Patel
saw our team
assembled
for the
first time I’
ll bet
he had second
thoughts
about taking
this on.
97
My teammates
were the kids
who were in
that last
practice play
at tryouts, and
I already kn
ew a
few
of them
from school.
Jabari Bruce
and Tommy Chu
were
part of
that
trade deal
with me
on
Sports Day.
Then there were Darren and Marcus Woodley, who
might actually be decent athletes if they weren’t
always trying to
KILL
each other.
We also had Edward
Mealy, who hasn’t said
a
word since
second
grade,
and Kevin
P
omodoro,
who nobody
can
understand
when he’s
wearing
his
retainer.
98
I guess it’s always good to have a little height on
your basketball team, so we’re lucky to have Yusef
Meskin. But Yusef likes to scoop up kids who are
my size and put them in “The Cave”.
It’s also good to have a little
T
OUGHN
E
S
S
,
and that’s where Ruby Bird comes in. And
the reason she’s on a boys’ team is because she
attacked one of the
evaluators at the
GIRLS

tryouts for writing her
number down.
99
Anyway, I wouldn’t have
blamed Preet or his
dad
for walking out as
soon as they got
a good look at
us. But Mr Patel
gathered the team round
him so
he could give a
SP
EECH
.
Mr
Pa
te
l s
ai
d t
ha
t we might not
have the
most
talented team,
but we
were going
to out-work
everyone else
in the
league. And
he said
we were
gonna learn
to play
the
RIGHT
way, starting
tonight.
I figured that, if this was the guy who taught
Preet how to play,
maybe he could teach
the
RES
T
of us, too.
Tommy Chu raised his hand and asked how come we
were meeting in the elementary-school hall instead
of the
GY
M
.
100
Mr Patel explained that
the two other teams
booked all the gym
time for the season,
so we were
gonna have to make
do with the
LEFT
O
VERS
.
I didn’t understand how
we were supposed to
play basketball when we
didn’t have a
HOOP
, but
Mr Patel said that
we were gonna start
with the
fundamentals and work up
to shooting later on.
We did some dribbling
drills, and then moved
on
to passing. But, with
all the tables set
up in the
hall, there wasn’t a
lot of room to
move around. So
half of us had
to go on the
stage, which was set
up for a kindergarten
play.
101
Even though we were
trying our hardest, Mr
Patel was getting frustrated
we weren’t picking
things up more quickly.
And every time one
of us
made a mistake he’d
make us run sprints
to the
other side of the
hall.
But that just made
us tired, so we
made even
MO
RE
mistakes. And
after a while everyone
except Preet was running
sprints.
Personally, I don’t think
coaches should use
running as a punishment,
because all it does
is make
kids hate to run.
102
And I doubt the track coach forces his team to
play
BASKETBALL
whenever they’re slacking.
The thing I hate the most about running is that
it makes you
SWEA
T
. My theory about swea
t
is that it’s your
body’s way of telling
you you’r
e
working too hard, and you need to take it easy.
But when I shared my thoughts with Mr Patel he
just made me run more sprints.
103
When
I
got
into
the
car
after
practice,
Mom
wanted
to hear all about it. I told her how our team was
basically just Preet and a bunch of B-Team players,
so we weren’t gonna be any good this season.
But Mom
said
I’d
probably get
a
lot
of playing
time
on this team, which got me
W
ORRIED
. Every kid
dreams about
hitting the
big shot
to win
the game
for their
team, but
there’s a
FLIP
side.
And that’s
being the
person who
blows it.
104
There’s a guy in my town named Anthony Grow,
and twenty years ago he missed a kick at an
empty net and lost a game against Slacksville,
who’s our town’s biggest rival.
And now he can’t go anywhere without people
reminding
him about it.
105
If I was Anthony, I’d just move to Slacksville,
because over there he’s a
HER
O
.
I made the mistake of telling Mom how I was
worried about messing up like Anthony Grow,
and she told me a story that made me feel even
MORE
nervous about things.
Mom had been the
backup point guard on
he
r
middle-school basketball team, and in the
championship game the regular point guard got
H
U
RT
. So, with the score tied in the fourth
quarter, Mom had to go in and take her place.
106
Mom said she actually did pretty well, but with
the clock winding down she got flanked. So she
had to heave the ball up as the buzzer went, and
her shot came up short.
Mom says she’s
GLAD
it happened because it
taught her to deal with failure and made her a
better person. But I’d be willing to bet Mom’s
teammates just wished she hadn’t
C
HOKED
.
107
Thursday
I should’ve
done a little
more research
before I
decided on
basketball as my
sport, because
the
schedule is
B
R
U
TA
L
.
We’ve got practice three
days a week plus
one game
on Saturday and another
on Sunday. And, on
top
of all that, I’m supposed to keep up with my
homework and get enough
sleep to make it
through
school the next day.
It’s hard
ENOUGH
getting sleep with all the
racket outside my window every night. And that’s
because we
put up
a basketball
hoop in
our driveway.
108
Wh
en
I
m
ad
e
th
e
basketball team, Mom went out
and bought a backboard and hoop for above the
garage. I guess she was hoping I could throw
extra shots on the nights I didn’t have practice.
But I haven’t taken a single shot on that thing,
because, the second it went up, the teenagers in
our neighbourhood swooped in.
109
Ever since they took down the outdoor hoops
at our school, there haven’t been a lot of places
where kids can play. So now they come to our
house, and Dad has
to park down the
street
when he gets home from work.
Dad told Mom he
wanted to take the
hoop down,
but Mom said she
was happy that kids
were
outdoors having fun.
I guess I wouldn’t
have minded too much,
either,
but the teenagers don’t
know when to
s
to
p
.
And when we’re heading
to bed for the
night
those guys are still
out there going hard.
BOOK: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16)
13.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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