Like a Girl

"She hits like a girl. She runs like a girl. She throws like a girl." Maybe she does these things 'like a girl' because she is a girl. Can gender stereotypes be overcome when a girl joins the senior boys basketball team? Or will their season and dreams come crashing to an end before they start.

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3. Cousinly love

“Alright boys this is our year!” Brock yelled as he walked into the gym. He was answered by hoots and hollers from the ten other guys on the court. Brock ran through the group high-fiveing the boys laughing until he reached the end of the line… and Coach Adams.

“If you’re all through ‘celebrating’ the season we haven’t started yet, I’d like to start practice” Coach Adams said sternly tapping his clipboard against his hand.

“Where’s our twelfth player Coach?” Jason asked. Brock walked past him and picked up a basketball. He spun it on his finger as Coach Adams answered Jason.

“Good question Evans,” Coach Adams turned towards the east doors of the gym, “Peters! Get in here.” When Coach Adams turned back to the team he had a mischievous look on his face.

When Devon Peters walked around the bleachers and up to the team three things happened.

Coach Adams said, “Meet your new point guard boys”

The team’s mouths opened in union and formed distinct O’s.

The ball spinning on Brock’s finger dropped to the ground with a loud THUMP.

Devon Peters was none other than the blonde girl who chirped Brock in the courtyard earlier that day. She had changed into dark blue basketball shorts and a baggy purple running tank top, her hair pulled back in a high ponytail and a black headband.

The gym was silent for a few moments except for the sound of the basketball rolling away on the ground. Then the gym erupted.

“A girl? Coach you’re not serious!”

“Is this even allowed?”

“We are so loosing this year”

Devon, who was standing beside Coach Adams had an indignant look on her face that darkened with every outburst. Finally she had enough.

“Oh shut up all of you” She said loudly. When they were all quiet she continued, “You think I like this anymore than you? The ONLY reason I’m here is because the girl’s team is shit and Coach Adams approached me with point guard position. I didn’t ask for any of this.”

“Well I don’t see you refusing it either” Jason said folding his arms across his chest.

Before Devon could retort back, the sound of the bouncing basketball made the team turn towards the basket nearest them.

Brock was dribbling the ball and then made a weak shot from the three-point line. He air-balled it and then turned to the team, “Well there goes my dream of college ball”

Wordlessly Devon grabbed a basketball and stood beside Brock on the line. She aimed at the hoop, used the power in her legs to propel herself up and released the ball at the last possible second. It went through the net with a nice swish sound. Some of the team made low whistles behind them. Devon looked at Brock but he pointedly looked away. She shrugged her shoulders and walked back to Coach Adams.

“She’s a good shot and a good point guard. Ms. Peters is our best shot at winning some games, and with a little work this team could win.” Coach Adams said to the team, “I don’t want to hear anymore grumbling. I’m the coach and if you want to even attempt the play college ball, the scouts only go to the championship games, not to see the team who were beat out in the first round.” The majority of the team nodded in understanding. “Alright Keller?” Coach asked Brock without turning to look at him.

“Yes Coach” he answered in monotone.

“Good. Now go outside and do 4 laps of the track” TWEET!

As the team walked out the gym doors and onto the field Jack Smith jogged up beside Devon.

“Hey Devon, my name’s Jack. Nice to meet you” He said extending his hand as they walked onto the track.

Devon smiled but regarded Jack a little warily. “Nice to meet you too Jack.” She turned away from him as the team started their run; a fast pace started by Jason who was first on the track. Devon kept up easily and was soon top middle of the pack, just behind Jason, David and Brock. To her surprise Jack stayed with her and kept talking.

“So Devon’s an interesting name for a girl” He said starting up a conversation.

Devon rolled her eyes, “Yeah, my Dad really wanted a boy so I got shafted in the name department, story of my life”

Jack quickly did damage control, “Oh no, I love the name for a girl. It’s a good unisex name like ah Charlie or Taylor”

Devon laughed, “It’s ok really. It was always fun to mess with supply teachers at my old school; I always wore a low hat to hide my face. They were so shocked to see I was a girl”

“So where did you live before?” Jack asked, huffing a little as they finished their first lap, “What does UBC stand for?”

Devon noticed the boys in front of her slowed down a little to listen, so she spoke up a bit “It’s the University of British Columbia. I was born in the States but when I was four my dad’s company moved him to BC. We just moved back last week when he was relocated to Oklahoma City.”

“Why move to SIlvercreek? Why not live in the city?” Jack asked.

Devon shrugged her shoulders, “We moved into my mom’s old house; her parents bought a time share in Florida so we moved in.”

“Oh so your mom grew up here? What was her maiden name?” Jack asked curiously.

“Stapleton” David and Jason looked sharply at Brock. Devon could see his back tense up.

“Uhm, is there a problem up there?” Devon asked.

David hesitated before asking, “Your grandparents names don’t happen to be Beth and Rory Stapleton do they?”

Devon looked wary, “Yes they are.” David looked back at Brock. “Am I missing something?” Devon added.

Jack laughed, “Aren’t those your grandparents’ names too Brock?”

“Yes.” Brock grunted.

Devon looked confused, “I don’t remember my mom ever mentioning a sister”

“Mine did. She said they didn’t talk anymore because she put her work before her family” Brock said without looking back.

“Funny, my mom has put her work before her family all my life” Devon said bitterly. Brock looked like he was about to say something when Coach Adam’s voice cut through the air.

“If y’all are done the chitchatting, it’s time to sprint the last lap.” He called out.

As the pack passed Coach Adams on the track near the bleachers, they spread out as the sprint started. Devon picked up her pace and stayed with the lead pack until they were halfway through the lap. Once they reached the 200 meter marker Devon winked at the boys and dug in her heels, accelerating past them all. She laughed out loud as she heard their grunts of frustration behind her, willing their bodies to catch up. Devon heard loud footsteps drawing near her and her adrenaline started pumping. She didn’t know who it was but by the finish line they were neck in neck. Devon ran a few paces past the line to slow down and then turned around to see who it was.

Brock was standing a few yards from her, bent over and panting. Devon walked over with her hands resting on her hips to slow her breathing. She extended a hand to Brock and helped him straighten up.

“Guess gramps had some speed in his day, eh?” She remarked.

Brock gave her a puzzled look, “You don’t know?”

It was Devon’s turn to be confused, “What are you talking about?”

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“You have GOT to be kidding me”

Devon stood beneath the retired jersey numbers that hung on the wall behind the home team’s basket. Plaqued between numbers ‘25’ and ‘15’ was a jersey with the number ‘68’ and the name Stapleton.

“Yuuup” Brock said as he stood beside her with his arms crossed, “He’s the only point guard to also have the highest scoring average per game. He went on to play college ball for the University of Kentucky Wildcats.”

“He gave me my first basketball” Devon said in a faraway voice, “My parents were away on business so I lived with them for a week”

“Yeah well anyways, sorry about earlier” Brock said awkwardly, “If I had known you were my ah cousin I wouldn’t have-“

Devon waved her hand, “No seriously I’m sorry, I WAS being a bitch”

Brock smiled, “Ok let’s just forget about it”

“Deal” Devon said, “Now let’s work on your awful shot”

“Hey! It’s not that bad!” Brock said running after her. Devon grabbed a basketball and they played a little one on one as the rest of the team left the gym; practice was over for the day.

 

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