The front door clicked shut at a run-down house. Gronk leant back, sighed and looked at his shoes. It had been a bad day. A really bad day. His satchel dropped to the floor by the coat rack in the hallway and he sloped upstairs. In the narrow landing, Gronk turned left and into his bedroom. He closed the door and sat against it, head in hands.

The end of year sporting events between Bosworth and Goodson had concluded. It began with athletics and Bosworth won a deserved victory. But in the football, Goodson somehow sneaked a winner. Gronk was not in the athletics or football teams, but he made the basketball squad due to his height. And today had been the basketball match. It was the decider. The game had gone well enough, but Bosworth was one point behind with seconds to go. Gronk was in a great position and waved his arms around for the ball. And then it happened. A teammate actually passed to him. The ball arced through the air in slow motion as he recalled the end of the football match the day before.

In the closing throes of that game, the teams were drawing 2-2 as Bosworth attacked. Four of the bigger lads forced their way through a flimsy defence and the Goodson keeper ran forward. The Bosworth captain took charge and lobbed the keeper. The ball was heading for an open goal when the bustling crowd noticed Steve Nobody running back to defend. As the ball was about to cross the line, he did an overhead kick and the ball went over most of the Bosworth team pushing for glory. It landed at the feet of the main Goodson striker, who ran forward, rounded the keeper and smacked the ball into the back of the net. Open-mouthed, Gronk watched his beloved Bosworth lose and all because of that idiot Steve Nobody, who was even carried off the pitch shoulder-high to cheers. It made Gronk sick. He seethed with a deep hatred.

But now it was his turn and he held his arms out. All he had to do was catch the basketball, turn, hit the board and score the winning points. And that would ensure a personal strike for victory, not just kicking a ball away like Steve Nobody did. Gronk could almost taste success as the ball went straight through his hands and bounced off his head. Disorientated, he fell backwards and the ball rolled away as the buzzer sounded the end of the match. Bosworth lost and it was his fault. To the sound of the crowd chanting “Gweirdo, Gweirdo, Gweirdo,” he opened his eyes and looked around his room. His time at school was never a laugh a minute, but that day would stick in his throat for a long time.

Copyright © 2021 Callum Stanford.  All rights reserved.

Author: C.Stanford

Writer, blogger, outsider, survivor.

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