Dietrich breathed in deep and reached for his toes. The five boys moved in sync as they stretched out their muscles. The morning dew was still evident in the air as the sun began to creep out of the clouds warming the boys. They had arrived a little earlier so that they could shoot around and get warmed up. A few key club officers had been working to set up the four basketball courts and stage.
If there hadn’t been banner strung up to indicate that this wasn’t actually a basketball tournament and a charity event, one could get lost in all the competition. This event was one of the biggest events during the school year. Funds were created by tickets sales and no other event sold more tickets. There were eight schools, eight teams, forty basketball players representing their pride, their home, and friends. It was either win or go home; winner take all, single elimination. None of them cared about the charity; it was all about the pride and glory.
Jane, president of Washington’s key club was not far off taking care of the administrative aspects of the team. Charlie her secretary was right next to her shadowing her with a clipboard. He was busy scrawling down notes as she spoke.
“Make sure the MC from Riverside High School is ready thirty minutes before the tournament begins just in case, and did you make sure our team was registered?”
“I’m not sure, I think Grant was supposed to get back to me.”
“Make sure our roster is finalized, and that they are registered members or else they aren’t allowed to play.” Jane turned around and shouted at the five boys. “All five of you boys get over here and make sure you’re registered with Charlie!”
The five boys looked at her and continued to stretch ignoring her order.
Charlie was puzzled not knowing what to do.
“Forget it, let them get ready. Make sure you get all the President’s together so we can run through the rules and regulations for today.” Charlie was even more confused in processing the command and stutter stepped left and right.
“Charlie, just go get the president’s here. Go!”
The five boys had finished stretching and started to shoot around. The tournament area started to fill in with students from eight different schools. A few different teams were on the court as well, some wearing jersey’s and other’s wearing school shirts. A boy wearing a Riverside High School t-shirt trotted into Washington’s court to retrieve a lost basketball.
“Hey guys, do you know what team you are playing first?”
At that moment a short girl also wearing Riverside High School let out a loud shout, almost inhumanly possible to come from such a small body.
“Can all the basketball teams report to the registration table!?” All heads turned to the girl and she shrunk back in slight embarrassment. She whispered semi-silently “Thank you.”
“My name’s Joseph. What high school are you guys from?”
Derrick responded, “We’re from Washington High School. I guess we’re the only one’s not in uniform today.”
Joseph smiled, “It’s cool. I heard you guys are pretty good. I hope we don’t have to play you first.” He took off with his team before Derrick could respond.
At the registration table Julia Kwon, the Key Club President from Oikos Christian Academy was giving out rules and regulations. They gave out five wristbands for each school, so no team could play any non-registered member. The tournament area became louder and louder as the stands came to life. The women key club presidents were frantically running around figuring out last minute preparation. Balls were collected, and forms were signed. The time had come to start the tournament.
Jane was furiously running around with Charlie shadowing her.
“The riverside MC is ready? We need to get started right now.”
“I believe she is going on stage right now.”
Music started to play as a short Korean girl moved to the center of the stage. She looked a little nervous as she waited for the music to stop and for everyone’s attention. Silence fell on the crowd as she spoke up with a small voice.
“Hello everyone! Are you ready for this year’s annual basketball tournament?” The crowd went exploded with cheers of excitement. “My name is Jinju and I will be your MC today.” Again, cheers of excitement, this time possibly not for the basketball tournament. “Let’s announce this year’s tournament bracket.” She turned around to a giant poster board covered by a giant white sheet and tore the sheet off revealing the tournament brackets. “Each group will go and meet their referees at their designated playing courts and receive directions from there. Good luck to all the teams!”
A hush fell over the crowd once again as minds began working with the chances of their tournament bracket. None of the teams were going to be easily taken. The crowds began to split up into their high schools and to their designated courts filing into their designated bleachers. Dietrich looked up to see that the eight teams were split into four on each side; with two moving into the semi- finals, and the third game being the final. Washington’s first opponent would be Diamond Bar High School. The five moved over to the court furthest from the stage. Their faces showed their nervousness. Dietrich and the fives boys looked at each other looking slightly unsure of each other. The pressure was on.
Out of the corner of his eye Dietrich saw Jeanette struggling with a large box.
“What the heck is Jeanette bringing here?” Derrick scratched his head.
“Hey guys, I got uniforms for all of you!” Jeanette plopped the box in front of them, pulling out blue and white uniforms with Washington emblazoned on it’s chest. “I didn’t know you’re sizes so I had to guess. But I’m pretty sure it’s right. My dad donated some stuff so get these on, and don’t you dare lose!”
The boy’s faces instantly changed from their nervous faces to all smiles. Anxious turned to determination.
Derrick’s face had his signature hot shot grin. “Let’s do this. Alright, All Hand’s in. Washington on three! READY!?” Washington volume level exploded.
Game time was approaching, ready or not.