With both palms, I pounded the gym floor as I bent down into my defensive stance. Our team had been down all game and was making a second half comeback. I was defending the point guard aggressively, trying to force turnovers.
We cut the lead to four with about 30 seconds to play. Once I got the ball, I was dribbling far too slowly while our offense got set up. My defender stole the ball at half court.
I’d put all my heart into this game. A few of us had taken it upon ourselves to rally the team. I’d gotten into it with the refs, as usual.
When he made that steal and started running uncontested for the basket to seal the game something in me snapped. I couldn’t lose like this…
I sprinted back and was able to get my hands on him. Just as he leapt for a layup, I shoved him into the padded wall behind the basket.
You should know that when a guy goes up for a running layup that is when he is most vulnerable. Even a slight nudge can send him flying. And all us players know this.
I remember only a few things after that:
A lot of people got angry. The crowd, which was mostly for the other team, started booing.
I was ejected from the game, which didn’t mean much to me since it was almost over.
My family left the gymnasium, embarrassed. I was freaked someone’s parents would come after me.
We lingered in the car a few uncomfortable minutes. For the life of me I can't remember why... It was the gladdest I’d ever been to leave a place.