Word of the Day: Virile


Virile (adj.): 

  1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or befitting a man; masculine; manly
  2. having or characterized by strength and energy


One second remained on the clock and we are down one. I look up at the dry erase board from the end of the bench, barely hearing what coach’s game plan was while other plays are forming in my mind. One second is enough time to do what needs to be done. It’s not impossible but I’m going to need a back up plan, just in case, if we are to win. I can already tell coach’s play is going to be too predictable.

The buzzer sounds and the time to take care of business is finally here. My favorite time.

The clutch.

We put our hands together and harrumph on my countdown. Just one of my many responsibilities as captain of the team. It’s around this time, the moment talk loses its value and action replaces it, that everything starts to slow down for me. When everything makes sense for me. Talk is cheap. All I’ve ever asked from another is to show me what you’ve done. Respect lies there.

I make eye contact with coach. He has placed all of his faith in me again. That’s what that look he is giving me says. He had drawn up a play for me to shoot a three-pointer at the top of the key although my shot has been off all game. None of the other guys say anything as we make our way back onto the court after the timeout. They don’t have to. Their doubt is loud enough. Damn flakers. I don’t care for what they think I can do. I am the team’s leading scorer for a reason and performing under the pressure is what they pay me to do. But I have to admit, this night is different.

My girlfriend committed suicide this morning; a knife to the throat. Her handwriting on the note was hardly legible due to the fact large smudges had stained the paper in spots where her tears had fallen. I’m sorry was all she had wrote. News reached me first through her parents, their sobs bleeding through the phone and into my heart. Crushed thing. And now, I am playing in the most important game of the season with that on my mind. The championship game. What good are emotions if they get in the way of what you’re trying to do? My frustration is more focused on why she would do such a thing to me instead of why I can’t seem to throw the basketball in the ocean. Wasn’t what we had enough for her? Was it something I did? Something I said?

I swear at my roving thoughts. Now is not the time to teeter between my love for her and my love for this game. Such an unfair fight anyway. No wonder I’m struggling between my commitments as a boyfriend and my duties as our best player. No one should have to go through this. Not to mention, the guy guarding me is playing extremely physical. I stare him down as we get into position on the court. He is taller than me and virile, his muscles flexing with the least bit of effort. We exchange silent words of war. I have to focus if I’m to beat him this time. There is one second for me to prove my worth yet again. One second out of thousands. The referee gives my teammate the ball to inbound it and I push her from my mind with all the strength I could muster, until it hurt, and the moment becomes the moment.

Winning time.