Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16) (6 page)

BOOK: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16)
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110
Lately, Mom’s been trying
to give them a
hint
that it’s time to
go home by f
licking the lights
above the
garage on
and off.
But I
guess
teenagers aren’t real good
at taking hints,
because they just keep
right on playing.
So a few nights
ago Mom turned the
lights off
when it got dark
outside. But those guys
were
P
REP
ARED
, and they set
up a generator and
lights in no time.
111
Last night, Dad reached his breaking point and
called the
COP
S
, who were at the house ten
minutes later.
I thought that would be the end of it, but it
turns out cops like basketball, too.
We’ve kind of given
up on trying to
stop people
from using
the
hoop.
But I
guarantee
you
that the
first time there’s nobody
out there we’re taking
that thing down.
112
Another
reason
I’ve
been
so
tired
lately
is
because
our practices
have been
starting at
9:30 p.m.
We
’v
e
been
using
the
elementary-school
hall,
but
we
have
to
wait
until
the
other
two
teams
are
done
with
THEIR
practices
before
we
can
start
ours.
On our first night
at the hall, Mr Pate
l for
got
his bag
of basketballs
and had
to go
home to
get
it. And while he
was gone Darren Woodley
noticed
the Phys Ed storeroom
was open, so we
went
insi
de.
There was all
SO
R
TS
of fun equipment in
there, like pogo sticks and hula hoops and even a
giant parachute.
113
It had been a
long time since any
of us had
played with that stuff, and
all of a sudden
we
were like little kids
again.
114
We even made up a whole new game that used
those square four-wheeled scooters and some giant
plastic bowling pins. And it was actually
w
ay
more
fun than basketball.
But when Mr Patel came back with the bag of
balls he shut our game down.
115
Mr Patel
told us
we were
there to
play basketball,
not to goof around.
Then he made
us put
everything back in the room where we found it.
I’ve read that basketball
started off with a bunch
of guys horsing around
with a leather soccer ball
and a peach basket,
and now it’s popular all over
the
WO
RL
D
. But
if their
coach had
been anything
like Mr
Patel it
probably never
would’ve happened.
116
And I’
ll bet Mr Patel’s
gonna feel pretty dumb
when the sport we
invented goes
P
RO
.
Once we finished putting
all the equipment back
in the storeroom, Mr
Patel lined us up
at the foul
line to practise free
throws. And, even after
he
showed us the right
way to shoot, most
of us
couldn’t get the hang
of it.
After missing
a bunch
of times
in a
row, I
was
ge
tt
in
g p
re
tt
y frustrated. So
I shot
the ball
BACKW
ARDs,
just for kicks. And, believe it or
not, it went
IN
.
117
My teammates were pretty impressed, and after
that
EVER
Y
ONE
tried
making a backw
ards
shot
.
118
But Mr Patel shut
T
H
AT
down, too.
He said we were never gonna improve until we
started taking things more
SERIOUSL
Y
. I
tried to explain that I was better at shooting
backwards than forward, and maybe the way he
was teaching us was all wrong.
But I guess Mr Patel thought I was being a
smart alec, so he made me run sprints until the
end of practice.
119
On the first few nights we just worked on stuff
like dribbling, passing and shooting. But at the
beginning of last night’s practice Mr Patel said we
were gonna have a practice game.
Everybody was pretty excited
that we were fina
ll
y
gonna get to actually
PLA
Y
. But right when
we
were about to start a group of men my dad’s age
walked into the school hall.
One of the guys walked up to Mr Patel and said
we were gonna have to get off the court because
the Men’s League had the hall booked at 9:30
every Wednesday night.
120
But Mr Patel said that we had the hall until
10:30, and he had
double-checked that
afternoon.
Things started to get a little
HEA
TED
, but then
Mr Patel came up with a solution. He said we could
play those guys in a practice play, and whoever
won could have the court.
I was a little nervous about playing a group of
grown men. But these guys didn’t look like they
were in the best
shape, and I thought
we might
be a
ble
to take them.
It took a long time for the Men’s League to
warm up. I thought they were getting cold feet
and were just
S
T
ALLING
.
121
After those guys finally finished stretching, we
got started.
We
won
the tip-off,
and
I
figured
we were on our way to an easy win. But it was all
downhill after that.
122
Those Men’s League guys might not have been
super athletic, but they knew how to
PLA
Y
. And
they totally made fools out of us.
The whole time they never stopped
T
ALKING
.
And, I hate to admit it, but they were really
getting inside our
HEADS
.
It was all corny
stuff that only grown-ups
would
say, but it really
worked. And the more
they
talked, the more we
struggled.
123
124
The person who was getting the most frustrated
was
P
REET
. And I could tell he really wanted to
stick it to these guys.
But they had figured out that Preet was our only
good player, and whenever he’d get the ball they
were all over him.
At one
point,
Preet
stole the
ball and
sprinted to
the other
end of
the court
for what
should’ve been
an easy
lay-up. I
think Preet
wanted to
make a
statement, because
he decided
to
DUNK
it.
We were all pretty excited to see Preet throw it
down. But I guess he needs to grow a few more
inches before he’s ready for that.
125
Preet landed awkwardly on his ankle. And, even
though the game wasn’t officially over, I think
the Men’s League saw it as a
WIN
.
126
I thought Preet just
twisted his ankle and
he’d
be back to normal
for the next practice.
But when
he showed up at
the school hall tonight
he
was
on
C
R
U
TC
H
E
S
.
It turns out Preet
BR
OKE
his ankle, and
he’s
out for the whole
season. And that’s bad
news for
the rest of us,
because without him we’re
toast.
It’s even
worse
news
for Mr
Patel,
because
now he’s
stuck coaching
this
team
for the
rest
of
the season.
And I’m
sure
he’d
rather be
spending
his
free time
watching
TV
or
learning
to juggle.
But at the beginning
of practice Mr Patel
gave a
spee
ch.
He said injuries are a part of the game,
and the rest of us were gonna have to step up.
127
Then he ran us through some plays that were
supposed to make it easy to score. We started
with five on three, but nobody could make a
basket. So we went to five on two, and then five
on one, and we
S
T
ILL
couldn’t score.
We finally hit a shot when it was five on
Z
E
RO
,
but the play didn’t go the way Mr Patel drew it
up. So if we actually score in our first game this
weekend it’s gonna be by blind
LU
C
K
.
128
At the end of practice, Mr Patel said he had a
surprise for
us and
opened a
big cardboard
bo
x.
Then he started handing out
UNIF
OR
M
S
.
I noticed the uniforms looked kind of familiar,
and I recognized the
SMELL
, too. Mr Patel
explained that there wasn’t enough time to get
new uniforms for the team, so they had to recycle
the ones from tryouts.
129
But there
was something
DIFFERENT
about
the jerseys,
because now
there was
a logo
printed on
the back.
Mr Patel
told us
that every tea
m h
as
a s
po
ns
or
to help pay for stuff like hall rentals, and our
sponsor for the season was Marconi’s Deli Bar. I
guess it was tough finding a good sponsor, because
I’m pretty sure Marconi’s is still closed for health-
code violations.
130
Saturday
Today was our first game of the season, and it
was at the elementary-school hall. Coach Patel
asked everyone to get there half an hour early so
we could go over the plan and warm up.
Mr Patel showed us a few new plays he designed,
which looked like they
must’ve taken all night
to d
raw
up. I just hoped the other guys on
the team understood what all the little symbols
were supposed to mean, because it was complete
gibberish to
ME
.
131
While we were going over the plays, the stands
started filling up. I was nervous to play in front
of a crowd, but it turns out I didn’t
need to
worr
y about it. Because when Coach Patel put in
his starting line-up I wasn’t in it.
We were playing against Franklin, which is a town
that’s twenty minutes down the road from us.
Things got off to a rocky start when Franklin
won the opening tip-off and took it all the way
down to the other end for a lay-up. And that
set the tone for the rest of the game.
132
Kevin Pomodoro
was our
point guard,
because he’s
th
e only
kid on our team who can
dribble while
look
ing up. But Kevin was basically playing one-
ha
nd
ed
, because every time
he
needed to
yell out
one
of Coach
Patel’s plays
he’d have
to take
his retainer
out so
people could
understand him.
Eventually the Franklin players caught on, and
whenever Kevin
would call a
play they’d go
for
the steal.
133
Our team was trying its best to
follow Coach
Patel’s new plays, but I don’t think anyone knew
who was an
X
and who was an
O
, so it was
just
pure confusion out there.
Coach Patel started yelling at the kids on
the bench like what was happening out there
was
OUR
fault. And I just acted like I was
ashamed because it seemed like that’s what he was
looking for.
Coach Patel started subbing kids out of the game,
and I was getting worried he was gonna put
ME
in. So I moved to the end of the bench and just
prayed he’d forget I was there.
But Mom was in the stands, and she wasn’t
exactly helping.
BOOK: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16)
7.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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