Chapter 62

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ELEVEN MONTHS LATER

The crowds were alive with energy. Excitement buzzed from every single corner of the stadium, and it was infectious, invigorating, and slightly intimidating. There was only thirty seconds left on the clock, if only Freddy could get the ball…

“And Crewe steals the ball, dashes down the court, he’s boxed in, passes the ball to Shaykh, who side steps Woods, and…SCORE! Another amazing show of teamwork between best friends Freddy Crewe and Houssam Shaykh for the game winning point! Another amazing win for the Knicks!”

Houssam jogged down the basketball court, flying into a group hug of his teammates.

“Woot! Shaykh and Crewe! Unbeatable!” Freddy screamed in his ear, and Houssam laughed, before linking his arms around two other members of his team, and jumping up in down with them. Eventually the celebration died down, and they began to walk back to the locker room.

“Man I’m so pumped!” Freddy exclaimed, jumping up in the air, and Houssam shook his head, before punching his friend in the shoulder.

“How can you still have energy?! I’m beat!”

“Well you were on fire tonight!” Freddy said, “It seems every time you play a game, you get better than the last time MashaAllah!”

Houssam smiled to hear his friend say ‘MashaAllah’. Lately he had been using terms like ‘MashaAllah’ and ‘InshaAllah’ and ‘Alhamdulillah’, and had even come to the Masjid for Jumuah prayer with Houssam a couple of times. Houssam was trying not to push his friend, he wanted him to go at his own pace, but he was praying that soon his friend was going to become Muslim.

“So you ready to get some dinner?” Freddy asked, and Houssam grinned.

“For sure. I’m feeling Mexican tonight! I want as many tacos as I can carry!”

Freddy snorted.

“Please bro, like Coach is going to let you eat that many carbs without punishing you at practice later!”

Houssam shrugged.

“I’d take the punishment for some fresh guacamole and chicken tacos! Plus, Coach doesn’t have to know. Harold is taking us and our managing team out so it will be our secret!”

“Score!” Freddy exclaimed, and Houssam laughed, pushing his friend as they approached the locker room doors.

“Houssam! Babe! Beautiful game tonight!” Harold exclaimed as they walked in, and Houssam grinned, peeling his sticky jersey away from his body and slinging a towel over his shoulder.

“Thanks man. Glad you could make it out!”

Harold waved a hand in the air.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Both of my boys were great. You hear that Freddy?” Harold called.

“I hear you boss!”

Harold nodded in satisfaction.

“Now Shaykh, listen, I know you want to hit the showers and get going for dinner, but you have an interview.”

Houssam scowled, and whipped his towel against his locker in annoyance.

“Aw come on Harold! You know I hate post-game interviews! No I won’t do it.”

“Oh I think you will.”

“I will not!”

Harold glared at him, and put a hand on his hip.

“Babe, I have been your manager close to ten years. Have I ever mislead you before?”

Houssam squinted at him.

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