The Hoop

(We hear the dribbling of a basketball. CASSANDRA begins to speak in her best play-by-play voice.)

CASSANDRA: Hudson running the floor, side step, drives it in…! (We hear the ball bounce off the garage.) No good, gets the rebound…! (A bounce off the rim.) Almost! Grabbed again by Hudson, now the lay up… And it’s good! (We hear CASSANDRA let out a big breath of relief, collect the ball and dribble it more.) Now Hudson takes it to the corner, going for the three pointer, it’s up…! (A miss. A sigh. A pause. We hear her start dribbling again.) Hudson collects it, this is her wheelhouse, Hudson from downtown…! Damnit. (She sets up again.) Hudson shooting all the way from Brampton…! (Another miss.) Hudson floats one in from Red Deer…! (Miss.) From Kamloops…! (Miss.) From St. Albert…? (Miss. She yells in frustration.) God fucking damnit—!!

DAD: (from inside the house) Cassandra!

CASSANDRA: (Quietly.) Shit. (Loudly.) Sorry, dad!

DAD: Did you finish your homework?

CASSANDRA: Yes, dad.

DAD: Promise?

CASSANDRA: YES, dad! Jesus!

DAD: Cassandra!

CASSANDRA: Sorry! (She picks up the ball and starts dribbling it with less intensity.) I’m not allowed to practice until I’m finished my homework. It sucks, but I guess it’s working because I’m doing really well in school. I’ve never had grades this good before and we’re not even at tryouts yet. They’re next week, that’s why I’m practicing so much. I’m focusing on my three pointers right now. (She shoots. Another miss.) Yeah, well I’d like to see you try it, it’s harder than it looks. Kawhi has a career point 3-8-1 percentage and he’s the best player in the world right now, so I’m doing just fine.

When I make it, I’m going to be the three point specialist on my team. My school doesn’t have a girl’s— a women’s team so I have to try out for the men’s. I know girls aren’t as tall and strong as boys most of the time, but two things, 1) that just means I have to work harder, which I’m doing, and 2) you should see the boys at my school they are NOT very tall or very strong, so… and also like Kia Nurse could totally kick any boy’s ass in basketball, so it’s not all about your gender. It’s about how good you are and how dedicated you are and I’m dedicated.

I watched every Raptors game last year. I mean, I missed a few in the regular season because of homework and stuff, but I watched all of the playoffs with my dad. He says the game is changing. You still have to be skilled at everything, obviously, but what’s the most important part these days? Three pointers. And you don’t have to be 6 foot 20 and a million pounds to shoot three pointers. (She shoots again.) YES! Cassandra Hudson floats one in from dOwN tOwN!

I just know that I can do it! You don’t have to be that tall to shoot three pointers. Steve Nash is probably the best Canadian player of ever and he’s short and he was an INCREDIBLE three point shooter. My dad says if you take into the fact the amount of 3-pointers he attempted over the course of his career he wasn’t just good, he was one of the best three point shooters in history! Can you imagine? (Beat.) Okay, so I just googled it and apparently he’s still over six feet tall, but three things, 1) he’s still shorter relative to everyone else, so my point still stands, and 2) they always exaggerate players’ heights on the NBA website, so there’s probably no way he’s that tall, and 3) I’m still growing, I’m only 13 years old! My dad is really tall, so that means there’s a good chance that I could be really tall too…!

My dad says not to get my hopes up, because my mom was pretty short. But he says that about a lot of things, to not get my hopes up. He says, it’s important to dream big, but to keep your expectations realistic. That life changes all the time, so the rebound can be just as important as the first shot, sometimes even more. “And you know what’s the best rebound?” This is what my dad says. “A good education.” Thanks, dad.

(Beat. The dribbling picks up again. CASSANDRA goes back to her announcer voice.) Cassandra Hudson, 3-point specialist, here she goes, from downtown…! Close! Hudson has it in the corner, for three…! No good. Hudson, jump shot! Cassandra! Hudson over the screen, releases it! Hudson with a shot from… (Her announcing fades away into the sound of the ball. Then silence.)

Your next stop is a duplex at 10504 85th Ave. Keep walking past this house, Turn left at the corner, and then right onto 85th Ave. Your destination is right at the corner.