Prom? Who wants to go to the prom? Not me. Whenever a guy headed my way, looking as if he might pop the question, I went the other direction. I was friends with lots of guys, actually more guys than girls. But most of them knew how I felt about getting dressed up and acting fancy. My BFF Lindsay was about the only girl I hung out with most of the time. We both loved basketball. I mean lived, breathed, and slept it. I squeezed in my homework during classes or at lunch so we could hit the courts after school and stay until my curfew, with only a quick break for dinner.
I lived for the weekends, when I played non-stop on Saturdays. On Sunday afternoons, we often headed to the city to rough it up with some of the tougher inner-city dudes. They conditioned us to play better and stronger.
The first time we showed up, they ignored us, but finally I got annoyed and challenged their best player to a little one-on-one. After I stole the ball from him for the third time in a row, he called a halt and picked me for his team. After that, they looked forward to us coming. At first they went a little easy on us, but once they realized we could mix it up with the best of them, they played harder, and it really improved my skills.
So, what’s all this have to do with the prom? Zilch. Absolutely zilch. ’Cos in my mind, proms are a waste of time. I’d rather be playing basketball. In my junior year, prom night and the annual three-on-three basketball tournaments fell on the same night. Guess which one I chose?
If you said the tournament, you’d be absolutely right. It was a no-brainer. At least for me. Sure, I probably broke some poor guy’s heart, turning him down for basketball, but if he was as in love with me as he claimed, he’d have come to cheer me on.
Senior year was even better. I had seven guys ask me—that wasn’t the “better” part. I felt bad about saying no without even telling them why. But my mom had given me permission to stay out all night on prom night, and I planned to take full advantage of it. Lindsay’s mom would be out of town that weekend, so we prepared for the best night of our lives. We splurged—not on a limo, not on a gown, not on a salon—but on a pass to an all-night gym! Thirty hours straight of basketball was my dream come true!
Coming Next…An excerpt from a fun story by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier