Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16) (9 page)

BOOK: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16)
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178
Mr Patel told Mom that our team was hopeless at
basketball and he wasn’t willing to put us through
any more misery. And,
even though it sounded
a
little harsh, Mom didn’t
argue with him.
A week later, Mom
invited the whole team
to our
house. I thought this
was one of those
end-of-
the-season parties where you
have pizza and maybe
watch a movie or
something, but it was
a whole
other
T
HING
.
Once everyone
got to
our house,
Mom said
she had
an announcement
to make.
She said
she was
going
to enter
us into
the Second
Chance Tournament
and that
SHE
was gonna
be our
coach.
179
Then she
said we
were going
to enter
the
tournament as
a whole
new team
for a
fresh start,
and she
started handing
out uniforms.
Everyone got kind of excited, because these
uniforms looked
EXPENSIVE
. The
jerseys had
blue
-and
-gol
d st
itch
ing, and each kid’s last name
was written on the back. There was no sponsor
this time, so I’m guessing Mom paid for these out
of her own pocket.
180
On the front of
each jersey was the
picture of
one of those sledge
dogs you see in
Alaska. And
Mom explained that our
team was gonna be
the
HUSKIES
, just like her
middle-school basketball
team.
It was pretty obvious Mom was just trying to
relive her glory days through
US
, but I didn’t
really care. Because, like I said, those uniforms
were
NICE
.
Mom said that this time around we were gonna be
WINNERS
. And that sounded a whole lot better
than being accountants and puppeteers.
181
Thursday
The big tournament is less than a week away, so
our team doesn’t have a ton of time to prepare.
But after our first practice I’m kind of glad we
DON

T
.
Mom’s coaching style is completely different from
Mr Patel’s. Instead of working on our basketball
skills, we did a bunch of touchy-feely team-building
exercises.
I just hope Mom knows what she’s doing, because
I don’t see how that stuff is gonna help us win
any games.
182
One of
the exercises
was supposed
to help
us get
to
know each
other better.
We stood
in a
circle, and
when you
threw the
ball to
another player
you had
to tell
everyone something
about yourself.
So, when
it was
my turn
to throw
the ball,
I said
that I
liked mint
chocolate-chip ice
cream.
But when
Edward Mealy got
the ball he
finally
started
T
ALKING
. He
told us how his stepmom
is really strict and how she doesn’t like his pet
turtle that he got for his birthday.
In fact
, he went
on for
so long
that Mom
had to
take the
ball from
him and
hand it
to someone
else.
183
After that,
we played some
actual basketball. Mom
tried teaching
us a few
plays that her
team used
the year
they reached the
state finals, but
we
were having
trouble getting the
hang of things.
I didn’t think the
fact that we were terrible was
such a
BAD
thing.
I’ve seen a bunch of those
movies about teams who
are underdogs, but then
they pull together and
win in the end. And I’ve
been wondering if
WE
could do that.
But the players who
are on those teams never
make any money, because
they’re not the ones
telling the story. So
I’ve been thinking that, if
we turn into one
of those teams that inspires a
movie,
I

M
gonna be
the one to cash in.
184
So before practice tonight
I put together a
permission form and got
my teammates to sign
it.
The only person who
gave me an issue
about it was
Yusef, who said he’d
have to ask his
parents before
he could sign the
form. But after I
promised to
give him my lunch
snacks for the next
three days
he was on board,
too.
185
All we need to do
NOW
is win this tournament so
I can sell the rights to one of those studios that
makes feel-good movies. And I can already see
the poster in my head.
186
Sunday
The Second Chance Tournament
was halfway across
the state. I guess
my teammates’ parents were
burned out on basketball,
because none of them
wanted to make the
drive.
So yesterday Mom rented
a big van to
get the
team to the tournament.
She said there was
a
chance we’d play for
two days, so everyone
had to
pack an overnight bag.
Some kids packed
W
AY
too much for one night.
Yusef brought two loaves of bread and a bunch of
supplies for sandwiches, plus a backpack filled with
chocolate-covered raisins.
187
Jabari brought his video-game system and a
computer monitor so we could all play games in
the van. But I guess it was too
much for the
vehi
cle’
s electrical system to handle, because we had
to pull into a garage when the circuit board got
overloaded.
We made another pit stop when Yusef needed
to use the restroom after eating half of the
chocolate-covered raisins all by himself. And, even
though we left two hours earlier than we needed
to, we barely made it to the tournament on time.
Since this was a
big competition, I thought
it
would be held at
a college campus or
a convention
centre or something.
188
So I was pretty disappointed when we pulled up
at the old prison that’s scheduled to be torn down
next year.
But I guess that’s
just the way it
is when your
team is one of
the worst in the
state.
ST
A
TE PRISON
189
When Mom
went to
the desk
to register,
she got
some bad
news. There
was already
a team
called
the Huskies
in the
tournament, so
she had
to come
up with
A
N
OT
H
E
R
name. And
I guess
Mom was
feeling
stressed
that
we
were
late,
so
she
just
wrote
down the
first name
that popped
into her
head.
But when I saw the names of some of the
O
THER
teams we were competing against, I
didn’t feel so bad about ours.
190
The games were being held in a big open area that
must’ve been used as a cafeteria when the prison
was open. There was a sign with a list of rules
written on it, and I’m not sure if it was for
US
or for the prisoners.
The courts were side by side, which meant there
wasn’t any room for fans to watch the games.
But that was
OK
, because it looked like nobody
ELS
E

S
parents had come to this thing, either.
Our opponents were already warming up on Court
Three. And, I have to admit, I was a little
relieved that we were playing the Mathlete
All-Stars in round one.
191
But I shouldn’t have
underestimated them, because
th
es
e g
uy
s made up for their lack of
basketball
skills with their
B
RAINS
.
192
Th
ei
r
te
am
w
as
l
ou
sy
on defence, so we scored a
bu
nc
h,
to
o.
Bu
t w
e couldn’t do anything
to stop
their
OFFENcE
, a
nd
at the final buzzer the
score was 37—30, Mathlete All-Stars.
Me and my teammates were pretty bummed out
because we knew this was our big chance to finally
get a win, and we blew it. Plus, we felt a little
dumb for packing overnight bags.
But then Mom told us something that was pretty
shocking. She said that in the Second Chance
Tournament you played until you
WO
N
.
193
That meant the Mathletes were going home, and
we were
S
T
A
YING
.
Well, that changed
EVER
YTHING
. It meant
we were actually
ST
U
C
K
in this place until we
got a victory. And now it made sense why they
decided to
hold
this
tournament in
a
P
R
ISON
.
Mom checked the results for the first-round games
to see who we were facing next. The name of the
team was the Brawlers, which sounded a little more
intimidating than the Mathletes.
But then Mom got
the scoop. The Brawlers
was a
team made up of
all the kids in
the state who got
thrown out of games
for
FIGHTING
, so I guess
the “second
chance”
thing
wasn’t just
about
WINS
.
When we got our first look at these guys, we
knew we were in trouble.
I was
glad Mom didn’t
put me in the
starting
l
ine-up, because the
game was a fight
from start
to
f
i
n
is
h
.
Right after
the tip-off,
one of
the
Brawlers clotheslined
Kevin.
So
Ruby Bird
jumped
on
that
kid’s
B
AC
K
, and
then
EVER
Y
ONE
joined
in.
195
I don’t
think the
refs wanted
to get
in the
middle
of a
fight, so
they just
let it
go. And
I’m pretty
sure they didn’t blow
their whistles
ONCE
.
Since there wasn’t a lot of actual basketball being
played, it was a low-scoring contest. But the
Brawlers edged us out in the end, and the final
score was 6—5.
Our team was pretty pooped from playing two
games in a row, but we weren’t done yet. We had
to face a team called the Stage Whisperers in the
third round, and they looked tired, too.
196
I couldn’t figure out what the deal with these
guys was until we started playing. They must’ve
been a part of the theatre group at their school,
because they were all great
ACTO
R
S
.
Every time one of our players would get anywhere
NEAR
one of those guys, they’d f
lop and act
like they were injured. And, even though we never
touched them, we picked up fifteen personal fouls
in the first quarter.
Their
team
scored
almost
all
their
points
from
the
free-throw
line,
and
we
ended
up
losing
that
one
33
—17
.
And
if
we’d had
to
play another
game
after
that, I don’t think
we could’ve actually done it
.
Luckily the next round
wasn’t until the mo
rning
, so
we went
to a hotel
a few
miles away, where
I was
looking forward to getting
a good night’s sleep.
But I guess Mom didn’t think we’d still be playing
this late in the tournament, so she hadn’t booked
our rooms ahead of time. And by then there were
only two left in the hotel.
So Mom booked one room for her and Ruby, and
one for the
RES
T
of us. I don’t know what it
was like to share a room with Ruby, but I can
tell you it sure wasn’t fun sharing a room with the
guys on my team.
BOOK: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (Book 16)
3.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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