The Magic Shoes
Kathryn wanted so badly to join the school's basketball team.
Why did she have to be so short? It just wasn't fair. She was the shortest person in the class.
Last year she played, and she thought she was pretty good. But that was fifth grade. Everyone was about the same size then. But, during the summer, everyone grew taller except her. This year there would be a real team and only the best would play. They would have uniforms and play the other schools in the district.
The notices were on the bulletin board for students to join the clubs and teams they were interested in. Debate teams and Science Clubs. Cheerleaders and there it was, Girls Basketball Team. Why bother signing up for tryouts though, or even talking to the coach, she knew it wouldn't do any good. She wouldn't be chosen. Everyone knew you had to be tall to play basketball.
At home she practiced a lot. Kathryn didn't make the basket every time, but she thought she was getting better. If only she could move faster. Jump higher. She knew the coach would never choose her unless she managed to grow about a foot overnight. Oh yes, she knew all right.
One day as she was surfing the net she saw an article that caught her eye. It told about someone who could make magic shoes. She didn't believe it, but she kept reading anyway. It said the shoes could make you jump higher than you ever thought you could. You might not use them every day, but if you ever needed them, there they were. Everyone should have a pair in the closet, just in case. It went on to say, if you could believe it, that they also let you move your feet faster than normal, and run faster.
Not really believing in magic anymore, she went on with her work, trying not to think about it; but, in the back of her mind, the part she couldn't always control, her imagination was going wild. She could see herself in those shoes. And the basketball uniform. What if the ad was real? What if the shoes really worked? Kathryn went back to the ad again to check it. Did she read it right? Yes, it still said the same thing.
At supper she mentioned the ad to her father. Just to see what his reaction would be. He laughed. "There is some slick advertising, Kathryn. Some people believe everything, and will buy anything." Kathryn was disappointed, she believed her Dad, but still wished it were true.
Unable to stop thinking about those shoes, she mentioned them so often Daddy finally told her that if she wanted to spend her allowance, and pay for them herself, she could have them. Perhaps she would learn a lesson about believing all the slick advertising she saw. And they could stop hearing about such silly things as magic shoes!
Kathryn jumped up and hugged her Dad, she was so excited. She hurried to the computer and found the ad. A pair of basketball shoes were ordered. They would arrive in one week.
Every day she practiced and practiced. She didn't do anything else, just basketball, all the while bursting with excitement waiting for the arrival of the shoes. They finally arrived. When Kathryn got home from school, there they were. She put them on and hurried outside with her basketball. OH! She was fantastic! She could really make the moves. Just wait till they see me on the court tomorrow. They will want me on the team.
The morning passed slowly, then they had to have lunch. "I don't think I can stand it!"
Kathryn hurried to the gym and dressed out as quickly as she could. She put on her new shoes and went onto the court with the others. They were all milling around, talking and shooting baskets, warming up. Some were practicing their free throws. Kathryn thought, "now is my chance!" She retrieved a ball and dribbled toward the basket, jumped and the ball went into the basket. She did a few more, and someone came up to play guard. She moved around that guard and shot another basket
Standing at the free throw line she shot a few times. She knew she was good. She hoped the coach had seen her. The coach called the class to order and had them line up to practice shooting baskets. Then they began the game. Amazing. What footwork. What jumps. These shoes really are magic! The coach told Kathryn she was on the team. She thought she was going to faint, she was so happy.
They played ball with the other teams around the county. There was a game every week. All of the games were not won, but they did very well. Kathryn had so much enthusiasm, she made everyone feel like champions. The schools in the district had a basketball tournament a few weeks after Kathryn got her shoes. Everyone played very well. The team even got their picture in the newspaper.
One day the coach asked Kathryn why she had waited so long to try out for the team. Kathryn said she thought she was too short and couldn't play well enough. Coach said " You are a good team player. You should have been playing all along. That's more important than being tall. We're glad you're here now."
They had one more game to play in the tournament. It was the final game and would decide the championship. They were playing against last years champions. They were playing against the best. Kathryn's team was pumped up; they wanted that trophy bad!
Mama gave her a letter when she got home. She saw it was from the shoe company and opened it.
Part of the letter read:
Miss Kathryn L. Pace
This is to notify you that the company from which you purchased basketball shoes is no longer in business. There were many complaints of false advertising. There is a law suit pending. The shoes are NOT magic. They are just plain shoes. You may return them for a refund of your money...and so on.
Kathryn couldn't believe it. How could this be? The shoes weren't magic? They had to be. She made the team because of the shoes. If the shoes weren't magic she couldn't play tomorrow. Crying, running to her room and slamming the door, she threw herself down on the bed. She stayed there a long time. Finally, she told herself, "don't be stupid! You knew there was no magic in a pair of stupid shoes! You're short, not dumb!" Her tears dried up and she came out of her room.
Mama and Daddy told her that since the shoes were not magic, it must be her talent that put her on the team. And didn't she think that all the extra practicing helped her become a better player? The better she became, the more she practiced.
They told her how good a ball player she was. Of course she was good enough to be on the team. She was always good enough, she just didn't believe she was. Being short was not a hindrance. Unless you made it one.
At first, Kathryn didn't really believe them. She thought they were just trying to make her feel better, like parents do. She knew the shoes were not magic but hoped they were, way down inside where she was still very young and unsure about things. After awhile, as she was remembering, and thinking about what they said, she began to see what they meant. She WAS good. She knew she loved the game and didn't want to quit the team. If the shoes hadn't ever been magic, then it must have been her own magic she had used. She felt better after talking to her parents, but there was still a doubt. How would she do tomorrow?
The bleachers were filled with people, and they were all talking and laughing so much that the noise vibrated from the walls. Everyone was excited and scared to be playing the best team in the whole county. The whole school was here. Parents were here. Even the newspaper reporter was here!
And they did play well! Everyone was doing their best work ever. Both teams were good. At half time the champions were two points ahead. The coach told them how well they were doing, and gave them some tips. She told them they were the best. One of Kathryn's team took a shot and made the basket. They are tied!
The opposing team are really moving now. Worried but determined to win. The game is almost over. There were ten seconds left to play when one of the other team players got too excited and pushed Kathryn down. Kathryn got two free throws.
This is it. The game's almost over. She had to make this basket to win, but Kathryn was so nervous she was shaking. Her knees felt like jelly. "I can't do this! I'm scared. I will miss." She felt her mouth tightening up, tears blinding her. "oh no,stop it! You have done this before,it's easy, do it now" The opposing team was yelling things at her. Like:
SHE CAN'T MAKE IT!
SHE'S TOO SHORT!
GET THAT BABY
OFF THE COURT!!
making her more nervous than ever. Then she heard her team yelling back, telling her she could do it. She told herself, " I CAN do it."
Kathryn stood there a minute, turning the ball over and over in her hands. The goal looked so far away. "I have done this shot dozens of times before." Sometimes she missed, but not this time. She would not miss this time. Taking a deep breath she held it, then let it out slowly. After a couple of blinks to clear her eyes of the tears, and a little prayer, she was ready. She couldn't hear anything anymore. She was alone for a moment.
She looked over towards the team. A few gave her a thumbs up sign. Some nodded their heads to her. Some smiled encouragement. One thing they all had in common was tenseness. She took another deep breath and took her shot.
The ball went up, up, and out, seemingly in slow motion. Over the net, down it went, circling the rim. Which way will it go? There! Right through the basket! There were some cheers and groans, but it quieted quickly. She still had another shot. It was so quiet now that Kathryn could hear her heart pounding. "All right, let's do it again", she told herself.
"O.K. Kat, one more time!" she heard someone yell.
The ball didn't move so slowly this time. It centered over the basket and hit the rim. As it circled the rim it almost fell off. Kathryn held her breath. The ball sat on the rim a second or two, then went into the net perfectly!
The gym exploded with noise! Everyone was cheering! She did it! She did it herself! Oh, she was awesome! She heard the team doing a cheer; a cheer for her!
SHE MAY BE LITTLE
SHE MAY BE SHORT
BUT SHE'S A FIREBALL
ON THE COURT!
She felt wonderful!
Although the shoes weren't magic,she still wears them. They are comfortable and look good.
Anyway, that is what she tells her parents.
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