Today you’ll read “The Apple Tree” by Mansfield (see previous post or use blue text book). Then you’ll write about your “Apple Moment” in life. I’ll give you a handout and rubric to explain what I’m looking for in your three paragraphs.
Here’s a first draft of mine…
My arm was sweaty but not from playing. My teammate had leaned up against me during a timeout and I was actually a bit chilly from sitting the entire game below the air duct of the gymnasium ceiling. Growing up as the son of a coach, I had witnessed many senior nights at the end of the basketball seasons from before I was old enough to even dribble a ball. In the final few minutes, each senior exits the game to an extended applause from the home fans who show their appreciation for the years of hard work. My turn was coming, I just had to get into the game first. The red numbers glowed on the scoreboard adding up to a twelve-point lead with less than three minutes.
I told myself I should’ve transferred to my dad’s school and played for him instead. We were 19-4 and heading into the playoffs with a full head of steam. We just had one last home game to complete the regular season. With less than two minutes, our coach took out the first two seniors. The refs paused before the free throws as our home crowd shot to their feet and screamed their applause. A possession later the clock stopped again with just over a minute and a half to play and coach relieved the other two seniors. Again, the entire community stood and cheered to show their appreciation for the years of hard work. After that I kept my eyes and head still to prevent the saltwater that built up from spilling onto my cheeks. I’m not going to be taken out of the game because I’m not even going to be put in. A fourteen-point lead wasn’t safe? Had I not worked as hard as everyone else? Didn’t I deserve my moment after witnessing it for so many others? The clock expired and one last exhausted buzzer sounded for hundreds of happy people and one player whose hope had just died. There were eleven players high-fiving in the locker room, and one with his head between his knees and speckles of tears at his sneakers.
Sadly this moment still bothers me today. I say sadly, because it’s only high school sports. High school sports haven’t done anything for me in my adult life. There were probably those cliché lessons I learned along the way about teamwork, hard work, and some other type of work, but making a free throw has never come up in an interview. What it did teach me, other than the consequence of not being good enough, was that that chapter in my life was over and the failure I endured wasn’t going to affect anything from that point on. Investing too much in one thing does not always pay off.