October 1st was officially the worst day of my entire life. I stood outside of the gymnasium doors, my mouth gaping open. I could not believe what I was reading. The white piece of paper posted there on the doors, was bearing a message that would shoot my school year straight to Hell. “Loon County High School is sorry to announce the cut of the Senior Girl's Basketball Team due to the lack of coaching staff. We are available to answer any questions. Sorry for this inconvenience.” I was shocked. How could there be no basketball team for me to play on? Basketball was my entire life! I lived for the practices; The suicides, the shooting drills, the boxing out and goofing around. I thrived off of the adrenaline rush that came just before a game, when the referee blows the whistle and you stand to walk onto the floor. The court was my home. And now, I was just supposed to give it up, all because nobody would sign up to coach us? This just could not be happening. I had spent all summer perfecting my offence, and improving my defence. My shooting was better than it had ever been. I was ready to get out and dominate, until I saw this nightmarish message. I had to do something.

   After storming into the principal's office, demanding answers, I had finally gotten time to, uh, “speak” with the principal. “But maybe we could coach ourselves! We know what we're doing, just give us a chance! Please Mr. Gunn! This is so important to all of us!” I stood before the leader of the school, begging and pleading for some type of solution. “I'm sorry Liz, but there is just no way that could work. 16 and 17 year-old girls cannot coach their own basketball team! Besides, we have given your gym slot to a badminton club for elderly folks. They're paying us very well for the time.” Bumped out for a bunch of grannies playing badminton. This was humiliating. I looked long and hard into Mr. Gunn's eyes, searching for a sign of surrender. Nothing. I took a deep breath. “Thank you Sir, I understand your situation completely. Sorry to disturb you.” I gave him a slight nod and exited the office, my mind running wild with ideas. I may not be able to win this fight, but one thing was for sure; I was going down swinging.

   After returning from my week-long suspension, I had come to accept the fact that my basketball career was over. It was like there was a hole the size of a ball right in my gut. Ever since I was 9 years old, I had a basketball in my hands. Everything just felt wrong. All of a sudden, I had tons of free time on my hands. I wasn't used to taking the school bus home every afternoon, or having weekends free of tournaments. I started growing used to the feeling of being bored out of my mind. As the long, dreadful weeks passed, I also began moving apart from many of my “best” friends. It turns out that basketball was really our only common ground. Without it, we were totally separate people. Not having a sports team sucked big time. And apparently, starting a protest and causing “disturbance” in the cafeteria is not the way to solve things, and is against school rules. Go figure.

2 Months Later

   It was the last day of school before Christmas Break, and I was still moping around the house like I had lost my best friend (which in some ways, I had). At school I did the usual-Go to class, try not to fall asleep, eat lunch by myself, suffer through more classes, and take the bus home to my even more boring house. When I got home I fixed myself a bowl of Shreddies (my favourite) and settled in for a Say Yes To The Dress marathon. My typical, out of control, wild Friday night. I was numbly sitting and listening to some rich girl sob about how nobody could find her the perfect dress, when the TV was suddenly flicked off. I didn't even have the energy to say anything. I just kept staring at the blank screen, as if my show would reappear if I stared hard enough. My Mom coughed and I turned my head slightly in her direction and let out a small grunt, to let her know that I was sort've paying attention. “Elizabeth Barbara May, your Father and I have had enough of your moping. It is time for you to get up off of your butt and do something productive. We miss basketball as well, but we've learned to let it go. Now, it's time for you to do the same.” I threw my head back and laughed sarcastically. “Okay Mom, sure. I'll get right on that. Let me just continue on, without the sport I love most, without any friends or hobbies. I'll do that. Okay, great talk. Now if you could please turn TLC back on, I don't want to miss Randy's opinion. Thank you.” She shook her head. “No Liz, I am not allowing you to spend your entire break eating cereal and watching reality TV.” I sighed. “Mom, you really don't seem to understand my dilemma. I have to know which dress this girl picks, or I will spend the rest of my life wondering. Help me out here.” I was just trying to get her to leave me alone, to let my stay in my funk. “Your Dad and I have decided, as a way to get you out of the house, we are going on a vacation. The whole family.” I scoffed at the ridiculous idea. “Are you for real? You and Dad hate vacations, and our entire family can't get along for more than 30 minutes. It will just be a big waste of money.” She looked at me with a glare that shut me up immediately. I gulped. She was serious all right. “We're going to that nice ski resort in the mountains for the entire break, and we're all going to enjoy it. I know how much you love winter, and as long as there is a buffet of food every day, your brother and sister will be just fine.”

    I thought about it for a minute. This actually did sound pretty sweet. Winter had always been my favourite season, and not just because it meant basketball. I loved the cold wind that turned my cheeks red, the snowstorms that gave us days off of school, and I loved being outdoors and doing everything, from skating to sledding. I also started daydreaming about all of the fan-fictions I had read about meeting a hot snowboarder at a ski resort on a vacation. I quickly snapped back to reality and nodded to Mom. “Okay, whatever you say boss.” She looked at me expectantly. “...What?” I asked. “Get packing! We're leaving after dinner you nimrod!” She said, half joking. I cracked a smile at this-Nimrod was my favourite insult. Silently, I walked up the stairs to my room, trying not to show that I was actually looking forward to something. Who knew, maybe this could be just what I needed.

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