Something felt different when I woke up that day. It was a Sunday, I was tired from staying up late the night before but I felt different. I got in the shower and it was a good one. My favorite underwear and socks were clean and good to go. Breakfast was, well, I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast but I’m sure it was good but different. I was ready. I was ready to play in the 3rd place game of my Jr high winter basketball tournament.


I got to the gym about 45 minutes before the game started and I still felt different. We had no business being in that 3rd place game to begin with and the 60 or so people in the crowd were mostly supporting the home team. Odds were stacked pretty high against the Warriors but I felt different. Everything was going my way. My parents, along with my girlfriend were there to watch but didn’t feel or look different because I asked them a few times. Didn’t matter, I felt different.


My shoes laced up perfectly the first time, it felt like my feet were being hugged by angels. My Powerade was just chilled enough because my mom put it in the fridge because I forgot. We stretched, did some layups, joked around and the starters took the floor while I went on the bench. It was time. It was time to crown the 3rd place Jr High winter basketball champions?


The first few minutes was back and forth with the bad guys pulling ahead slightly. Curtis, our lanky power forward accidentally knocked over my Powerade, but it was fine because mom bought two! Me not getting upset about the Powerade is what I think, was the spark, to the eventual explosion that was about to take place.


Curtis and I could do no wrong. We walked off the court after our first shift knowing something was different. Halftime came and I can’t remember the score because it was a grade 9 basketball game from 17 years ago, but this isn’t about that, this is about…..


I felt like a Harlem globetrotter (the first and only time I would feel like that in my life) during the second half. I was playing defense like Gary Payton, passing the ball like John Stockton and shooting like Larry Bird. I literally could do no wrong for that 20 minutes. For 20 minutes, I was confident, feared, respected and in my opinion, terrifying.


We won the game and I was picked MVP. For my 20 minutes of downright scary play, I was rewarded a McDonalds coupon for a free Big Mac combo (the greatest tasting big mac I have ever had) and a medal. I don’t remember the score or the stats from the game but I remember feeling that things were going to be different. Now, 17 years later, if I wake up feeling like that again, I’m going to destroy my kids in a pickup game.

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