Finally I am at the hoop. I dare myself to make a basket without looking. I turn backward somewhere around the foul line and close my eyes. My veins are tingling and I have butterflies in my stomach. I can’t stop thinking how cool it will be to make that impossible shot without looking. I even find myself betting five dollars with my brother that I will make it. I try to relax by taking a deep breath. I close my eyes and picture the perfect shot in my head.
I’m standing to the side at a distance and can see the hoop and me in profile. The blue ball leaves my hands in slow motion and rotates as it rolls off my fingertips. The ball goes up and up against the blue sky in a perfect arc, passing in front of clouds and then comes down through the hoop. “Swish.” The sound is perfect, light and smooth like a wave crashing onto the beach.
Now I believe in myself, so I go and take the shot. It’s smooth and fast leaving my hands and I can see houses and trees and the backboard, and the ball is spinning. It dives through the net like the kids diving at the rec center pool. I throw one fist in the air and whisper, “Yes.” I turn to my brother, who isn’t really there, and hold out my hand for the five bucks.