A little something about me: I am a big fan of fiction writing. And with Australia’s upcoming game against Team USA on everyone’s mind I feel it is appropriate to take things in a different direction and share a story I wrote earlier this year titled Where legends are made: An Australian basketball dream.
I hope you enjoy the story and that it proves to be prophetic for the Boomers.
Where Legends Are Made: An Australian Basketball Dream
“Gold medal games…” says an announcer with a thick American accent.
“This, my friends, is where legends are made.”
An intense feeling of pride washes over the boy as he stands at the free throw line. His green jersey bares a single word – AUSTRALIA.
He went through the routine as he had so many times before. His eyes fixed on an imaginary laser point at the back of the rim, his expression focused.
His knees bend in anticipation of the shot, as the crowd cheers, jeers, and horns sound.
“Calvin-James Allen has come a long way to make it this far…”
Players near the basket start jockeying for rebounding position, as time seems to slow.
“He first started playing his ‘ball in 2015 for his local high school in Adelaide, Australia,” adds Australian commentator, former Olympian Andrew Gaze.
In a single, fluid movement, he launches the ball skyward. A TV camera from below the basket zooms in to film the ball’s rotation, capturing a poignant image of the blue sky beaming in on the open-air arena, the boy’s right arm extending into the heavens.
The 37 thousand strong crowd roars thunderously.
The boy now races back down court in defensive position. “Get on D! Get on D!” he screams, frantically pointing out opposition players for his teammates to take account of.
Like a formation of RAAF F-18 fighter jets, the Australian team quickly organize themselves into a diamond-shaped Zone defense.
The pace is now frenetic.
Looks of shock and disbelief envelop much of the crowd; loud cheers have been replaced with anxious murmurs.
“Surely Australia does not have a one-point lead to the United States of America with forty-seven seconds to go?” the American announcer says, as if speaking for everyone in the venue.
The Americans skip the ball around the perimeter, hoping to find a hole in the Australian defense.
Bodies clash beneath the ring, causing confusion among the players, and American Lebron James breaks away from his defender and bolts straight in the direction of the boy standing under the ring.
The crowd cheers ecstatically in anticipation. The boy stands with stoic determination. He will not step back. The moment means too much for him to step back. . A TV Camera pans out to an eagle-eyed view of the stadium, packed to the rafters with flashing photo cameras capturing the spectacle in action.
Lebron launches himself at the ring and receives a beautifully-timed behind-the-back pass, flicks the ball between his legs and pounds it through the ring in a reckless show of sheer power, collecting the boy with his legs on his way down.
“Oh my good lord, I can barely even look right now,” says Andrew Gaze, the drama of the situation reaching crescendo with merely 11 seconds to go in the ball game. There are no more time outs to be called. Neither team has any fouls left to give before being penalized.
“It all comes down to this.
“It all comes down to one final play.”
An Australian player struggles to inbound the ball at the baseline as the Americans’, like a swarm of wasps, deny him of every passing option. The boy, in a moment of sudden ingenuity, sprints toward the defender closest to him and uses his momentum to slide between and through his legs, freeing himself from the opposition long enough to receive the pass.
His teammates thrash about to free themselves from the physically overpowering American’s who met their every movement.
The hopes of the nation rest solely on the boy’s shoulders.
He dribbles the ball up the court slowly, watching and waiting for a lull in concentration from the defender closest to him.
The sounds of crowd drowned out by his laser-like focus.
Then suddenly, an Australian player breaks free of the defensive tangle and sets a screen to the left of the boy’s defender.
Now is his chance.
The boy quickly thrusts himself in the direction of his teammate who knocks the defender to the floor.
The boy is free just beyond the three-point line.
American defenders scurry to compensate for the now-neutralized defender, but the boy has the space he needs.
He looks up at the clock …
There are three seconds left!
Every jump shot he had ever taken flashed before his eyes in an instant.
“The shot is up!” says the American commentator, hanging desperately on the result.
All eyes watch-on as the ball floated majestically through the air, with it the promise of a generation-defining moment.
“Oi, Calvin bro?”
The boy’s concentration is broken as he turns to his freckled faced friend, in the light green Vipers uniform.
“So, are we going to get these guys tonight or what?”
The boy takes a moment to look around at his situation. The Olympic stadium of his daydream replaced with a small, unglamorous recreation centre court. The stands packing thousands are now wooden benches seating a dozen at best.
He looks over at his opposition preparing for the game. The Vipers had never beaten them. They look less than impressive with their gangly teenaged bodies, yet to mature anywhere near the goliath-like basketball savants of his vision. He smirked as he gained eye-contact with the chubby kid who elbows him when the referees are distracted, their best player. That is not Lebron James, he thought.
“You know what, Scott?” the boy replies.
“Today, we will.”