- Author: Tommy Greenwald
Book online «Rivals Tommy Greenwald (shoe dog free ebook TXT) 📖». Author Tommy Greenwald
For all those dedicated parents, teachers, and coaches
who do it the right way
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been applied for and may be obtained from the Library of Congress.
Text © 2021 Tommy Greenwald
Book design by Heather Kelly
Published in 2021 by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.
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We do not stop playing because
we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.
—Benjamin Franklin and George Bernard Shaw, among others
You know what’s weird?
When you’re falling through the air, about to crash into a hard wooden floor and get really badly hurt or possibly die, you have a lot of time to think.
Which is good, because I have a ton of stuff to think about as I fall. The first thing I think is, this isn’t as scary as I thought. I mean, it’s definitely scary, but it’s also calm.
Like, the world stops.
I keep falling, and I keep thinking.
I think about everything that led up to this moment.
I think about my mom and dad.
I think about not wanting to die.
I think about how much it’s going to hurt when I land, if I don’t die.
I think about what kind of injuries I’m going to have and how long it will take for me to get better.
I think about how the injuries might be so bad, I won’t be able to play basketball again for a long time. Or ever. Or maybe I’ll be able to play, but I won’t be as good as I am right now.
And I think about how that might not be the worst thing in the world.
I hit the floor.
I hear a SLAM! Then a CRACK!
And everything goes dark.
Four Months Earlier
PROWLING WITH THE PANTHERS
A MIDDLE SCHOOL SPORTS BLOG BY ALFIE JENKS
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5
Hoops Season Kicks Off with Middle School Tradition
You can feel the crispness in the air. You can try to ignore the holiday commercials popping up on television, but you can hear the rustle of winter coats being removed from mothballed closets all over town.
That can only mean one thing: It’s basketball season in Walthorne!
This is a town that takes its basketball extremely seriously; four Walthorne hometown heroes have made it to the NBA over the years and one to the WNBA, while many student-athletes have received Division I scholarships. Girls and boys all over town are getting ready for the season at every level, from the district champ Walthorne Wildcats high school team right down to the kindergarten Superkitten League.
One tradition that everyone looks forward to is the season-opening game between the Walthorne North Middle School Cougars and the Walthorne South Middle School Panthers. Since 1986, these two rivals have played each other twice a year: the first game of the season and the last game of the season. And it’s always an exciting, fun-filled event.
I caught up with key members of each team as they were practicing for the big game. Austin Chambers, fourteen, is the captain of the Walthorne North squad. A point guard, Austin is the son of Frank Chambers, local legend and former star shooting guard at Penn State. “This is going to be our year,” Austin told us. “We’ve got a strong team and a great bunch of guys. Keep an eye out for Clay Elkind, our center. He’s turning into a huge weapon for us.” Across town, fourteen-year-old Carter Haswell, a young phenom who already stands six feet, two inches tall and was all-state last year as a seventh grader, captains the Walthorne South squad. “I think we could go far,” said Carter. “I like our chances a lot, and Benny Walters is the best coach in the league. But Walthorne North is always tough, and they’ll be a great first challenge for us.”
These two young men will lead their teams onto the floor this Friday at Walthorne South gym. Game time is 4 pm. (And just a personal note: I will be broadcasting the game LIVE on our middle school radio station and website! So feel free to tune in.)
WALTHORNE SOUTH RADIO
Testing, testing 123 . . . Is this thing on?
If you’re talking to me, I can’t hear you.
Dang it! This equipment is pretty old. Mr. Rashad said he was trying to get us some new stuff but he uh . . . so, yeah, sorry, hold on a sec . . . how about now?
Oh sweet, now I got you. Yup, we’re good.
Cool. (BANGS THE MIC)
Okay, so, yeah! Welcome to Talking Sports on WWMS. It’s Wednesday, November 7th, and my name is Alfie Jenks, sports editor and head sportswriter.
So, will anyone actually, like, hear this?
What do you mean?
Like, does anyone listen to your show?
I mean, well, you know, it’s mostly just for fun and stuff, but like, I think my mom definitely listens.
(LAUGHS) HA! Cool. Well in that case, I’ll try not to swear.
What kind of name is Alfie for a girl, anyway?
I’m named after