you be agile.

he was on his way to a basketball game. he didn't even want to go, but he did it anyway. he would've much rather stayed at home and played his wii, or else played a star wars game on the computer. who the hell wanted to go to a stinky gym full of a bunch of assholes who didn't matter in the first place? hell was other people. he was only in fifth grade, but he knew that much already.

everyone on his team, except for maybe three other kids, were white. it was a weird thing, putting on a jersey and having to slap hands with other white kids from other catholic schools. he didn't like wearing that jersey. he felt too exposed in it. it was the year 2010 for christ's sake. no one wore tanktops of jerseys. not even jay-z.

and all the other kids looked like idiots. they were all curly hair and moles and skinny arms. what even gave them the right to be on the court with him? ten bucks said they'd rather be at home watching icarly with a box full of mcnuggets and a mcflurry waiting in the fridge. that was the life. not this being in a gym on a saturday morning business. who gave a shit about sports, about cheering, about getting a ball across a court and into a hoop, anyway? mcnuggets and mcflurries, motherfucker. ain't nothin' else.

and then the game started, but he didn't. he warmed the bench for the first ten minutes. he watched, but he wasn't watching, really. he was just nervous for the moment the coach was gonna blow the whistle and look at him. coach would say, "you're in," and then he'd have to get off the bench, and it'd be like going off to war, para-trooping. it sucked. he could be in bed, instead, listening to miley cyrus on his ipod.

he didn't know it then, but moments like those were just preparing him for what life was gonna be: doing a bunch of shit he didn't wanna do. the alarm clock waking him up for school. registering for classes. visiting with the in-laws. networking with grownups who had better haircuts, better suits. traveling to a conference. dental appointments. signing up for e-billing.

the chinese kid on the other team, sacred heart, stole the ball from him mid-court. he chased after that chinese kid, but he just couldn't catch up. lay-up, two points. he could hear his dad screaming from the bleachers. "look alive! hustle, hustle hustle!" his team lost that one, the first of many in a seemingly endless losing streak.

on the car ride home, they stopped at mcdonald's, his reward. they were waiting in the drive-thru when his dad told him, "you be agile, aggressive." and he thought this, but of course he couldn't say it: jesus christ, dad. not all of us are cut out for this.

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