Even 1981-1 thought that watching Robin shoot free throws was painful. He compressed his diminutive frame and then leaped into the air.
His technique is good –his body is the problem. Even thought.
Robin released the ball at just the right moment, but the ball reached the pinnacle of its arc about two feet too low, and then descended back to the floor of the indoor court. Even heard several of the other members on the team groan and whisper that this kid was smaller than most of the pre-teens. They had no choice regarding teammates -as they were created by lot for the Center’s intramural league.
Even looked at Robin’s face. If he was aware of the others’ displeasure at having him on the team, he didn’t show it. Robin ran and picked up the ball, tossing it to the next person waiting in line to shoot free throws.
“Take it easy everyone,” Even said with a haughty tone. “It’s just a 2-month season, and everyone gets a chance to play. We gotta play the hand we’re dealt in life.”
Most of the team members nodded their heads in agreement. Even loved sports. He was on every team at the Center, and usually took a leadership role. His words carried a lot of weight with the other players.
After practice, Even noticed Robin following him out of the gym.
“I’ve got some ideas for plays that I’d like to run by you,” Robin said as he gazed up at the much taller Even.
“Oh yeah? Well, I usually make the playbook for my team,” Even said.
“Why do you think I’m coming to you? They’re not going to listen to me,” Robin said.
“So, you noticed that none of them are too thrilled about you being on the team?”
“Well, I’m not too thrilled with having the body of a jockey when this shithole Center doesn’t have a race track, but we all have to make do with the situation…for now.”
Even chuckled, then said: “Tell you what. Run them by me during lunch period today, and I’ll consider incorporating some of them into my playbook, if I think they look good.”
Even thought the plays Robin suggested were better than good. They were pure genius. Their team devastated the opponents in their first game 115 to 87. Afterwards, as the other players began slapping Even on the back, congratulating him, he said, loud enough for everyone to hear:
“Thank Robin. Most of the plays we ran were his.”
Even could see admiration growing on the faces of the other members of their team.
Robin looked at Even, and they grinned at each other.
“It’s like a West Coast Stack Offense…” Robin said to Even as he pulled out a clipboard and began to draw on it with a marker. They had just finished practice, and Even had asked Robin to run over a particularly elegant play again so that he was sure he understood the details. Even looked up and saw a redheaded girl marching toward them, her hands balled into fists. Her name was Jamie.
No, wait, it’s Jeri, Even thought. He had noticed that she shadowed Robin to all of his games. She would sit alone in the bleachers, watching Robin, like she was worried to let him out of her sight. The few times she had caught Even looking at her, she had glared at him like he had just murdered her kitten.
Whatever, Even thought, looking back down at the play board.
“Robin,” Jeri said with a slight quiver in her voice. “We were supposed to go to the dance social almost half an hour ago. You said you’d meet me at your dorm, remember?”
“Oh, crap! Sorry, I forgot. We were just going over a couple of new plays, and I forgot what time it was. Let me go change.”
Robin stood up.
“Sorry, I gotta go,” Robin said to Even then ran towards his dorm.
Jeri shot daggers out of her eyes at Even for a moment, then turned to catch up.
Whatever, Even thought, and walked back to his dorm, spinning a basketball on his finger.