The gym smelled the same as the gyms of my teens, like sweat and floor varnish and sweet spills of fizzy soda. Sneakers squeaked, the buzzer blared, the ref’s whistle pierced while his arms flailed. The cheerleaders couldn’t have been less interested, hands on hips, gossiping by the door. They left at half time carrying big bags. Feet stamped on the bleachers. Players fell to the floor to wrestle over a ball. The score board ticked upwards. The coaches, well dressed, called out instructions, set an example. Girls held their babies, younger siblings their cell phones. The crowd erupted when a ball cleared a hoop. Five of us were there to cheer Keenan, who played his best game. Assists, steals, plenty of baskets. His team won by eight. On the floor beside his coach after the game, he glistened with sweat. He beamed.
February 17, 2015