Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

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MigeYeFoxe
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Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » July 7th, 2014, 9:26 am

((OOC: this is a story I'm going to try and finish through July and will upload it in 10 chunks as I finish them. I added my four candidates mainly as a result of needing more characters for her to interact with. First part is mostly just her summer before the camp.))

Kresta’s summer didn’t really begin when the season ended. It wasn’t even that disheartening for her to not be in the playoffs. That was something a long time coming and she knew it well in advance. The last game of the season was just an end to one long disappointing season but she had other things to do. She set about to make some plans to actually be able to enjoy her summer for a week or two but first she had to go watch the newcomers during the combine. They all seemed just so caught up in their own little world that none of them seemed to even notice she was there. Which was fine. She was content enough to watch. And when that was over she was off for her own vacation. A time away from the FBA, from all the pressures and demands. A time to just be a normal person again.

And so she went on a tour of the world. Wasn’t as much fun as she might have liked. Every time she wanted to buy something she had to call that damnable agent again asking for the money to buy it and she did keep having to call just to check in periodically. But it was something she understood. It was an acceptable annoyance to having the freedom to be herself. If she didn’t agree to the check-ins they’d have probably just gone and hired a bodyguard for her. But it was somewhat nice being in countries where they considered her nothing more than your average Stupid American. And she definitely did fit that bill since she didn’t think to learn much of the languages before leaving. But it was still fun. Got to see the Vatican and even managed to get the headband she used in her games blessed while there.

Having her purchasing power reined in by her agent actually almost made it better. Knowing the hassle she’d have to make just to buy anything of value she didn’t really go about doing much shopping. And in some regards that was almost liberating. By placing the mental note in her mind that she wasn’t allowed to shop she enjoyed the cities far more, spending her time just walking the cities, really taking in the sights and the beauty of their construction. In France she did try snail. It was good but was not something she would ever want to do again. It was the same concept as eating chocolate covered grasshoppers. It might be so lathered in other stuff that you can’t taste what it is you’re really eating but it would not change the fact that deep down you will still know what it is you are putting into your mouth and that alone can be enough.

England was for the most part uneventful, save for one small part of it. While hanging out in a pub she got to talking with someone that did recognize her and at some point in the conversation he mentioned a group of trainers that like to hold a boot camp for members of all leagues during the month of July. Their methods were apparently unconventional and they weren’t cheap for that matter but preferred to stay unaffiliated to any league and thus were open to all. She had thanked him and asked her agent later on to check in on that and if need be sign her up. Even if she was on vacation that didn’t change the fact that eventually that vacation would end and she’d have to get back to trying to become a much better player than she already was.

Her last trip was to Asia, to visit both China and Japan. There she was definitely in for a culture shock and ended up being all the more the Stupid American, but now she was the Tall Stupid American. Even being somewhat short for an FBA player she almost towered above a lot of the people in these two countries. But beyond finding a few neat items to buy she didn’t really have much to remember these two places by beyond the pictures she took. But eventually her vacation had to come to an end and so she made her way back home to fulfill her role in the Las Vegas Invitational. It was a much smaller affair than the Combine had been, with less than half the participants, but it did definitely keep her busy for the most part. She still couldn’t quite shake the feeling that these candidates still seemed to be living in their own little world where anything or anyone that wasn’t a candidate was almost as if they didn’t even exist. Well almost. When playing against them they did seem to be more involved in the world around them, but most of these were trying to get the attention of the bigger names on the team, particularly Li Ho and Julio.

During the Invitational her agent had gotten a hold of her and informed her that they had managed to secure her a spot on that Boot Camp. They also apparently went ahead and signed up the candidates they represent this year as well. Though Kresta would rather deal only with other professionals or what have you she can’t really fault them for being put into the program. So long as that damnable agent wasn’t using her money to pay to get them in she didn’t really have any right to complain. After verifying with the coach and GM that she was okay to attend the camp Kresta went about preparing herself for the task ahead. She didn’t really know much about them, other than they were expensive, unconventional and highly praised by that man in England.

For the sake of convenience Kresta’s agent arranged to have all five of them driven to the location in the same car. Personally, Kresta would have preferred to take a cab by herself or a limo for the group but bit her lip and didn’t comment. At least the car they were using was large enough that all five could fit in there without all being too cramped. When they arrived at the destination Kresta stepped out and was honestly shocked. For fifty thousand a pop Kresta half expected some sort of resort or something. This looked like it was nothing more than an ordinary warehouse. For a quarter of a million dollars for the five of them to train for only three weeks, it was certainly uninspiring. One of the candidates, a snowy owl calling herself Bob seemed to have the most intensive stare of the lot of them, almost as if she were trying to peer inside and deconstruct the layout just by seeing the brick and steel outer walls. Red, a bull who had insisted on being responsible for driving and then unpacking the car finishes doing so then looks at the building himself.

“So what do you think?” He asks in general, “Floor and a half?”

“I’d say two and a half,” Bob replies quickly as if she had the same thought. “They’d most likely have a basement level for extra space. Possibly could have two but I’d doubt it.”

“Well I reckon it serves us no import ta be staying out here gawking at it. We best be getting in and checking in and then appraise the situation from da inside.”

Shrugging, they all grab their own stuff and head on into the building. The initial interior is what they’d expect from any ordinary place of business. Smallish ceiling, a reception area with a couple of security guards posted nearby and a few security cameras in the corners to top it all off. Feeling herself to be of the most seniority Kresta moves forward to talk with the receptionist and get them all registered, still half unsure if they were in the right area. But everything seemed to be sorted out. They were signed in and a moment later a sort of skunktaur named Araemal comes up and gathers them up and begins to give them a brief tour of the facilities.

The entire place on the interior seem to be much more like what Kresta and the others would expect from a training facility. It turns out, as Araemel informs them, there is a very good reason why it looks like a warehouse in that that is what it originally was. They bought it a long time ago and repurposed it for their own needs and just chose to never remodel the outside partly due to cost and lack of necessity but also for privacy. No one, including reporters and journalists tend to think much of a building that looks like any ordinary warehouse. Though nothing they do there is against regulations on any of the leagues, there is still usually a courtesy applied to those attending the boot camp to have some semblance of privacy.

And all of the facilities were rotated depending on what time of the year it was. During the summer it was geared for basketball. During other months it would be set up for other sports. Thus the very nature of the place. Since some sport was going on all year; that meant also that there was always at least one sport that was in its off season all year long and that’s what they used to pay the bills. And the fact that they were unaffiliated from any specific league meant that during the on season they could all help any sport, letting one most familiar with the sport they’re currently at to take charge over the activities. The side of the building seems to be more or less an apartment complex, at least it is on this floor. The ceilings are a bit shorter and San even has to duck a bit to get through some of the door frames, which is sort of odd for a facility designed for basketball players but then again this part of the building might be just left untouched. They are put into rooms with four beds a piece, the three girls being put into one room and the two boys put into another, with the remaining beds potentially already assigned depending on turnout. But they aren’t allowed to dally much in their rooms as they were mainly brought here to just drop off their things and continue the tour.

The locker rooms are about what Kresta is used to and each of them have their names posted on one of the lockers in relatively the same part of the room. Which Kresta guess she understands. It might be along the lines of setting up in the order they were submitted but it’d be far more reasonable to group people by the league that they are a part of, this way players can relate more fully with those around them. There are a few others here which means that they weren’t among the first to arrive and given how many of the lockers have already been messed up a bit probably among the last to arrive. What’s in the lockers themselves is a little odd. There are a few jerseys set aside for each of them but they aren’t what Kresta would expect. They are all pure white with no distinguishing markings. They don’t even have names on them. Well they do, but it’s written on the tag on the inside of the clothes, probably as a means of differentiating who gets what outfit after it being washed. But on top of that there are a few strips of LEDs embedded into the fabric itself and naturally because of which a small pouch near the bottom of the shirt and bottom of one of the legs of the shorts that is openable so that a battery could be replaced. And then there’s a pair of goggles, tinted ones too from the look of it as Fit had raised his up to stare at the lights through them. For some of them they also had a little string of LED’s attached to a harness. The harness for Kresta and Fit’s were longer than Bob’s whereas Red and San didn’t get one at all. Curious, Kresta raised hers up in inquiry.

“It goes on the tail. You’ll see once we get in there. Okay, go ahead and change and meet up in the main area. We’ll start the first drill as soon as the last group has come and finished stretching,” Araemal comments before heading off again, leaving them alone with the others in the changing room.

Being completely used to having to change in an open locker room Kresta, Fit and Red have no problem with immediately stripping down to their underwear and trying on the strange outfits. San and Bob, however, seem far more skittish about the idea. Neither of which had the usual experience of having to grow up and train around people who would have to dress and undress in the same area as them. Bob never played college ball or even went to college to begin with and San learned how to play from another country, which had a different culture. San goes so far as to try and hide in her locker as she changes, a feat almost comical from the tall panda. There are a few others in the room that seem to be rather sensitive about such a concept. One of them apparently even went so far as to take their uniform out and change in the restrooms.

Not sure if they are required to wear them or not Kresta decides to just grab her goggles and take them with them. Fit, however, decides they’re a fashion trend and wears them above his eyes and tries to strike a dashing pose.

“What do you think?” He asks, putting on his best grin.

“Let’s just get going,” Kresta rolls her eyes and leaves the locker room.

She half wondered at the fact that they did have a uniform set aside in her exact size but then again, she reasoned that since she did not actually see the application it is entirely possible that the process to do so including having to provide measurements for clothes. Which though a little creepy for her agent to know her measurements for clothes it would also only be a simple task for them to just contact the team and ask for them and as her agent the team would have no problem with trusting them with said measurements. The arena is actually fairly large all things considered. It’s about the same size as the training arena back in Las Vegas. A full length court in the middle, a few smaller quarter court hoops off in one corner for shooting drills. And then along the other side were oddly a long string of treadmills and other equipment normally found in a separate room. Kresta raises an eye at this but does not comment.

“What’s with all the lighting?” Red asks, noting how not only is the arena not all that well lit to begin with but there are a lot of lights positioned around the court that are more at waist or slightly above waist level.
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill

MigeYeFoxe
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Re: Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » July 8th, 2014, 11:35 pm

((Part 2 of 10 done))

Kresta ponders at it herself for a while but then takes a look at the others there. They apparently are all doing similar and taking a look at the five of them coming in. There is no animosity here. This is no competition where only the best advance. But doesn’t change nature and curiosity is a very strong nature. To size up the others to know how to react to each of them in the case of having to face off against them or play with them. All of them are wearing the LED outfits and a few are wearing the goggles just for the heck of it and a few are apparently leaving them somewhere nearby since they don’t have them anywhere on their person. A few of the people here she actually recognizes vaguely, mainly only those from the EFBA. She can’t tell from this distance if any of them recognize her, however.

Kresta approaches the others casually and begins stretching, doing her best to try and learn names and not come off as standoff-ish. Fit seems to move straight to some of the other female players and almost seems to be flirting with them as he stretches out, even going so far as to overplay his flexibility beyond what would be normally necessary to fully stretch out the muscles. Red stands off to the side, stretching by himself as he keeps his eyes on everyone else, apparently sizing them up in a far less casual manner. Bob stretches her own body only very briefly before finding a basketball and working out her own way of warming up by shooting the ball as one of the nearby hoops. San seems to be more interested in following everyone else’s cue rather than to be doing her own thing.

The last group is apparently a trio of taurs from some taur league somewhere for as soon as the three of them come there are a lot of trainers seemingly coming out of the woodwork, showing up from nearly every entrance to the arena. Fit gets up from the ground at the sight of all the trainers, choosing to forego stretching his hips while doing the splits on the ground to take a more cautious act of doing something similar to a bunch of them by shooting the basketball at the hoop nearby a few times. There is a definite change in the air as the tension goes way up, as does the expectation.

“Well then, I suppose it’s time we begin,” a small lemur like individual states as they practically climb partially up one of the hoops on the full court arena. “My name is Jelaine. I am going to be in charge of your bodies. I will admit freely that I am not a basketball player. That is not my sport. I don’t care who any of you think you are. I don’t care how rich and famous you might be. While you are here and while you are under my sessions your body belongs to me. You paid us to get here and I want you all to remember that fact. We are here to assist you but if you don’t like what we are doing you are free to leave at any time. We have already been paid. Our first order of business is a bit of advice. I want all of you to pee clear. I want no snickering from you on this concept. We have plenty of sports drinks and water available. At any time in between drills you are encouraged to take some of these. Do not consider it as these being free. You already paid for these. If you don’t take advantage of something you already paid us to do then you are simply giving us your money for nothing.

“Now one more thing of note. Nothing we do here will be a violation to anything your leagues have established. But that does not mean we aren’t going to push you harder than they probably will. When you are in a professional league there is a strong need to make sure not to wear out your players or ruin any performance they could get from that player. We don’t care about that. This is the off season for every one of you. After our drills you are free to do whatever you want until our next drill. If we wear you out then you simply have to recover after we are done. But I do not want a single one of you to push yourselves past your limits. If you feel faint I want you to raise a hand and step out. No one will think less of you if you put your own health above the drill. If you so much as look like you’re going to pass out or throw up we will pull you out of the drill immediately and sit you down until we are reasonably assured that you are fit to play. And as I said, your bodies are no longer your own for the duration of your stay here. If you complain at any of us we’ll just sit you out for longer and let the others learn while you spectate. And the best way to keep us from having to pull you? Pee clear. Now, get on the treadmills. The taurs go to the ones on the far left. Everyone else pick any other one you want.”

The entire assembly acknowledges silently by picking one of the treadmills and step on, grabbing the little cord so that it’ll stop if they get too far away. The lemur leaps off the hoop and follows near them, swinging a tablet that was apparently hanging around his neck and begins hitting some buttons on them, making each treadmill in turn start moving, Fit choosing to place himself in the one right next to the girl he’s been flirting with.

“Now one more thing I want you to keep in mind. These are my treadmills. None of the other trainers are allowed to use them without my permission. These are not your treadmills. You are merely on them for the time being. I do not want any of your touching any of the buttons on my treadmills. Is that understood?” he asks before getting a general acknowledgment from everyone involved. He moves over to the area in front of the treadmills, staring at them as they move on the moving surface. He taps a few buttons and everyone starts moving faster and faster. “Now if you want to use one of these during the off hours tell me and I will set one up for you to use for a little while. During those times you can set it as fast as you want but in this particular drill it is extremely important that you do not touch the controls.” He hops up onto one of the treadmills and examines the face closely of the person on it before pushing some buttons on the tablet. “I am trying for a very precise effect. I need you all to be in the exact same state and I cannot do this if you mess with my controls. Can any of you guess what it is I’m trying to do?”

“Get us tired?” Red asks.

“Exactly,” the lemur nods, hopping over to the next treadmill and staring them in the face. “Anyone can run drills when they are fresh. But that’s not what is important. Late into the game you will not be fresh. Unless you sit on the bench the entire game by the last quarter you should be tired, especially late into the last minutes. What this drill is going to accomplish is to give all of us a baseline for how you play when you’re tired. We need to know this so that we can help you. There are multiple drills you will have to participate in and each one will be aimed at a specific effect. We do not keep to only your normal drills,” he hops to one and actually reduces their speed down a bit before continuing on to the next one.

“I think it is important to tell you about the uniforms you all have on. As I’m sure you’re all aware there are LED’s embedded into the fabric. At any given time we can set them to a particular color. We have enough people here right now for four teams of five. When I am satisfied that you are all in the same condition I will send a signal and you will be assigned to a team based on the color the LED’s become. Red and Blue teams will play on the left half of the main court. Yellow and Green will play on the right half. If you are color blind we will assist you in knowing which people are on your team and you’ll just have to memorize their faces well enough to play. You will have a full 12 minute scrimmage. Each court will have a few people to act as refs as well as score keepers. You will be given a break after the scrimmage. How long that break is will depend entirely on your score. Only make one point and you only get a one minute break. Make ten points and you get a ten minute break.”

The lemur keeps bouncing from one treadmill to the next, examining everyone closely before deciding on whether or not to change their speed and then jump to the next one. After a few minutes of this pace where Kresta has started to breathe heavily all of the treadmills start slowing down considerably before stopping. Figuring that is the signal for the scrimmages to begin she steps off it and looks down. Red. The lemur repeats the instructions on which way to go and Kresta half listens again but is more interested in who are her teammates at the moment. Of the four candidates only the owl is on her team, though the bull is on the other team.

The scrimmage itself is a rather interesting affair. There were no assigned positions to them, only which team they were supposed to play for. The rest of her team not having much direction Kresta tries to take control, playing the part of the point guard as the others pair off. Bob is certainly not much help in regards to plays. She spends most of the time just standing around gasping for breath, but is staying well enough out of range. When told what to do she’s pretty good about following them well enough, just has no sense of initiative and is perfectly content to try and catch her breath beyond the arc. Some of the larger players even go so far as to hunch over with their arms on their knees when the ball is far enough away from them. Unfortunately Kresta’s team doesn’t fare so well. Their ability to shoot pretty much was non-existent except for occasionally Bob still able to make threes. But it meant having to really drive the lane and score points near the basket which was not Kresta’s strong suit and the others weren’t that interested in fighting to get in there. Then to make matters worse a few minutes in their center gets pulled by one of the trainers, leaving her team at a four to five disadvantage that they could not overcome.

Fit’s game, however, ended up much more favorably. Though he was just as tired as everyone else he had the advantage that as point guard he paired off against the other team’s point guard. Their point guard and small forward kept insisting for whatever reason to try and dribble past Fit on their way to driving the lane so Fit kept being given opportunity after opportunity to steal the ball and he kept doing so. Then even though his power forward was pulled a few minutes later two of their players were pulled, leaving his team at a four to three advantage. Finally the twelve minutes were up and a whistle signaled the end of the drill and the beginning of everyone’s break. San, exhausted by the endeavor chooses to start her break off by lying down on the somewhat cool surface of the court. No one really seemed interested in really doing much more than trying to recover. Many have had to do conditioning drills beforehand, but not quite to the extent of “now that you’re out of breath, go play for twelve minutes.” Except for the four that got pulled everyone is still okay enough that recovery isn’t the only priority. There is still the need to get to know the others that they are training with.

Fit spends much of his break resuming his flirting with the girl from earlier. Bob ends up convincing a few of them into participating in a very slow and easy game of HORSE. Red and San just sort of relax near the side-lines, plopped down on the ground and generally having small talk with the others, though since San doesn’t have as good a grasp on the English language she does more just listening than much speaking. Kresta spends much of her time with some of the EFBA players she recognized and spends her break sipping down some Anubianade and talking plays and strategy in such a drill in case they do something like that again, which all of them assume they will.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. They were true to their word that each team only got as many minutes of break as they got points and as those minutes ended each team was rounded back up and put into more drills. Nothing as exhausting as more running or scrimmaging, mainly just simple layup drills and knockout drills, though a few of the players still “on break” joined in just for the fun of it. It was mainly just busy work. Drills of that nature were more a bonding experience than anything, a means to have them be doing something to keep that heart pumping but without anything complex enough to put those who earned a longer break at much of a disadvantage. When the last team’s break ended the lights on everyone’s outfit changed over to white and a new trainer came to the fore, dragging forward a bunch of objects on a mobile tray.

“Be at ease, this next drill is not going to be as physically intense as Jelaine’s was. You will find that this will happen quite a bit. We find it helps keep both the mind and body fresh if we alternate between very physically intense drills with more mentally intense drills. Now I want each of you to come up here and grab a pen. Your name should be printed on it so it is important that you grab your own pen and not someone else’s.”
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill

MigeYeFoxe
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Re: Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » July 11th, 2014, 9:18 am

They each make their way, forming a line out of convenience as the tray is not nearly big enough for many of them to be there at the same time. It doesn’t take them all long to learn that these so called pens are laser pointers, some of which are different colors but they all have their names on each one. Once all of the pens have been distributed their ocelot trainer pushes the cart towards the side of the curt and pulls out a flashlight from a pants pocket.

“Now, let me introduce myself. I am Jason Melif. I am going to be your rebounding trainer while you are here. Now if you would look up,” he shines the flashlight upwards towards a small box almost directly above the basket on this side of the court and what seems to be a camera facing downwards. “You will see this lovely little device. This is not a camera. It is a sensor. Each of your pens have been assigned a specific id. When you shine your pen onto the floor this little guy will pick up where you’re shining it and send that as a signal to one of our computers. So we will be able to track every guess you make.

“There are two main things to keep in mind when dealing with rebounds in a game scenario. Every second that your eyes are away from your opponent is one second that they can potentially slip right past you,” He puts the flashlight away and grabs a basketball that’s been rolled near him. “Two, as soon as this ball leaves my hands,” he shoots at the basket, though not in any way that looks like he’s trying to make it. In fact it barely even hits the rim but instead bounces off the backboard far to the side of the basket and the rim knocks it over even more. One of the taurs catch it as it falls and rolls it back. “There are no forces involved besides gravity. Unless you are playing outside there is no wind to take into consideration, not other forces acting on the ball at any point beyond gravity. And gravity is a very predictable force. If I rigged up a machine to shoot this ball in exactly the same way every time, going the exact same speed, the exact same angle and exact same spin, that ball will land in exactly the same spot on the floor every single time. It’s simply physics and predictably physics. I’m sure you’ve all noticed that you’re all wearing white right now. This is so that you can see where you are so you don’t run into each other. Feel free to move anywhere you want on this part of the court but for safety probably best to be closer to the outside of the arc than close to the hoop. For this drill the lights are going to be almost completely turned off. There will be a spotlight on me and on the hoop. However, shortly after the ball has left my hand the lights on both of these are going to turn off. Your task is to look at where the ball is going as it leaves my hand and then shine your pen at the spot on the floor you think it will land.

“How this drill will help you is quite simple. If you wait until it hits the rim to try and figure out where it’s going then you can only get at it if you are already close. If you can master this skill you’ll have an extra moment or two to get into position before anyone else normally would. If you think that it will go in, then shine your light to directly underneath the hoop. Now, let’s begin.”

The lights in the entire arena go completely off. Technically the next drill doesn’t begin right away. With the lights completely off everyone needs a moment or two to adjust to the much lower level of light. It is almost a surreal experience to look around and see nothing but outlines of people from the LED’s embedded into the clothes and makes Kresta appreciate the tail harness as she understands why they were important. If she were to sit down right now, there would be no mistaking where her tail still would be. After a moment of letting everyone get used to the situation a dull, soft light shines over the basket to let people know where on the court it is. Another couple of lights start to shine down on both the basket and the trainer.

Everyone takes a moment to try and find a good spot to look, various people taking different approaches. A popular location for some is the general area right behind, where one would have the best idea of which way the ball will be going but knowing that this is supposed to be teaching them real in game information, most of them aim for closer to around the side of the shooter, just inside the arc. Kresta herself moves over to where the common position of the 2 would likely stand, so that she can try and guess where she’d be at this part in a real game.

The drill itself is incredibly challenging. It is so outside of what most are used to that it takes many quite a while to get even used to the situation. One of the spotlights never leave Jason. But it is a fairly tight band around him so after a couple of feet away from him the ball disappears into the complete blackness of the room. The spotlight over the hoop also turns off, leaving only the very dim light illuminating the ground of the court and the LEDs on their clothes for light. Everyone would take a quick guess as soon as the ball vanishes into the darkness and at first that is all it really is. A complete and utter guess as to where the ball is going to go. As soon as the ball hits the ground someone above will shine a normal flashlight onto the location of where the ball landed. Granted this didn’t exactly keep the ball from bouncing into someone’s head a couple of times. In each shot there were at least a few of them who had the light shining underneath the basket, indicating they thought it would go in. Usually not everyone would do it every time and a few did go in.

Kresta actually surprised herself by how close she actually could be. Well close is definitely a very relative term here. She never got closer than five feet from where the ball landed except for when she just happened to guess right that it’d go in and it did, but she was never that far away from it either. Always close enough that if she were standing where she’d guess she could leap at where the ball would land, but it would definitely be a leap. Fit and Red fared no such luck and it started getting extremely frustrating for Red as he had thought that that had been one of his strong suits. San wasn’t doing well either but then she was basically just making random guesses and didn’t really think much of it if she got it or not. Bob could figure out what side of the hoop it’d bounce, but she was incredibly inconsistent on how far it would bounce. Ultimately, though, everyone knew that if they could get it right away then it would have completely defeated the whole point of the drill as there’d be nothing to learn from it.

After about twenty minutes of this drill the lights start coming back on, slowly so as to not blind people. But then again with a building like this it is entirely possible they are using fluorescent lamps and thus this is about as fast as those lights would come on anyway. Once the lights are sufficiently on all of the spot lights and the LEDs on the uniforms turn off completely. The room ends up being just as bright as it was beforehand. Araemel steps up and speaks to the twenty of them.

“Okay, this next drill we are going to split you off into two groups. Those of you considering yourselves to be point guards, shooting guards and small forwards please make your way to this side of the court for fast break drills. For the rest of you come with me to one of the side hoops where we will practice pick and roll drills. We’re also going to begin doing some personalized sessions at this time. When your name is called please make your wait to the second floor training room. We will begin the personalized session with Kira.”

Unlike the previous drill this one is pretty straight forward. For the fast break drill they would grab two to six people randomly assigned and would then pass it to one and it became a race to the other end of the court. They didn’t say who would get the ball and who would defend until the ball had been passed. Then to test reaction speed they brought our an RC car and put a basketball onto a stand on top of the car and proceeded to have it drive around the court with people having to chase it and get the ball from it before it could get to the other side of the court. And that thing could move. Might have even been modded. But it required people to run at almost full tilt and could almost turn on a dime, causing everyone to fall over at least once against it.

Eventually the person in the solo sessions would come back out to rejoin the group and the next one would be sent out again. But it was a little unsettling just how distraught everyone seemed to be once they came back in to the extent that some of them just sat in a corner and watched and none of the trainers really seemed to mind all that much. For the larger players it was actually three trainers working with them. One to act as the ball handler and two more to act as the plucky defenders about to get duped. But in some regards that makes more sense. When in a drill where you know what they are trying to do there’d be too much of an impulse to try and not let it succeed. By having both defenders also be trainers they can avoid this. The defenders will react the exact same way each time the drill is done. The main thing they were drilling for is timing. If the roll man left too soon then the swap wouldn’t have been effective enough and they’d ultimately just undo the entire point of the play. If done too late it’d allow for the gap to be closed and they couldn’t make the play.

“Kresta, your turn to go,” Araemal announces as another of them return from their solo session.

With some trepidation Kresta begins to head towards the exit to this area, briefly noting how Fit saw fit to make time to strike a pose and grin at her with his hand in a thumbs up position. Kresta grumbles at him and continues on her way. Though not entirely certain she knows where she’s going she’s actually somewhat grateful for the fact that they seem to have anticipated this and put signs pointing her in the right direction. Even so, Kresta also notices that there are security cameras all over the place, perhaps as a check to make sure that they don’t do anything they aren’t supposed to without having to manually watch each and every one of them all the time. The room where they’re at is open and is not actually what Kresta would have expected. It’s a rather small room, barely enough for a basketball hoop and the distance to where the free throw line would be. Alongside one of the walls is a tall border collie sitting in a chair with a stack of folders near her and otherwise an uninterested look.

“Go on up to the line and start practicing free throws. We’ll get to the point of this session in a moment.”

Kresta shrugs and moves over to the line, grabbing one of the balls from the rack and just shooting casually, not with anything close to the level of intensity she’d normally do during real situations. So at ease with this kind of shooting she half taunts the trainer by having her tail still move while shooting, which is admittedly difficult to do. Considering how much bad luck it is for the tail to move when in the act of shooting a free throw, a thing with some basis as tail movement would throw off balance a little bit and could mess up a shot, it is extremely hard to get rid of that impulse to hold it completely still. Whether or not the trainer notices, however, is not clear.

“Now the point of these solo sessions is to show just how much your playing will suffer when your mind is preoccupied.”

“Is that why the others were so upset?”

“Of course. It is important to know this impact. If you aren’t shown just how easily it is for someone to get under your skin and ruin your game you won’t take my other lessons to heart. So I want you to keep shooting as you would in a real game and I will talk to you. At the end of that time, when I am done I will ask a simple question of if you can still shoot. Seems simple enough, no?”

“If you say so,” Kresta shrugs and launches another ball at the hoop.

“You’re rather short,” the collie begins, stating it in a very matter of fact tone in a way to imply that’s all they intend to say.

“That’s it? That’s your big thing to get under my skin?” Kresta actually had to stop shooting for a moment, so confused as to the nature of that comment. It seemed just so petty and simple that it did succeed in stopping her shot this one time but wouldn’t exactly be considered to be getting underneath her skin.

But the border collie doesn’t look the slightest bit disturbed. She doesn’t grab any of her folders to the side, merely continues watching Kresta and motions for her to continue shooting. Kresta gives her a look but reluctantly does return to the act of shooting.

“It’ll be enough, you’ll see.”
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill

MigeYeFoxe
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Re: Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » July 14th, 2014, 1:04 am

“The average guard is what, three, maybe four inches taller than you?” the collie asks while getting up finally to go and retrieve the balls that Kresta had shot so far so that she can stay on the line.

“There abouts I guess,” Kresta shrugs and shoots again, not giving the trainer any mind and not even delaying her shot to make sure the trainer isn’t in any risk of being hit by an errant ball.

“Shooting Guards are probably an inch or two beyond that I’d imagine,” the collie continues, not even bothering to show any concern whatsoever about her location and the potential to be hit by a flying object. She even goes so far as to step right underneath the hoop in order to lean over and pick up a ball, taking her time in doing so.

“What’s your point?” Kresta asks, her eyes squeezing slightly tighter in annoyance. Between shots she lets her tail move a bit to keep it going stiff but as soon as she begins the shooting motion again she brings it back to center and wills it still.

“Nothing, nothing,” she waves her hand dismissively before going back to collecting the balls “It’s just that it means that in any real game scenario you’ll almost always be facing off against someone taller than you. Now I’ve seen your stats. You aren’t at all impressive for passing or stealing. You usually do very little of either for your team. And being at a significant height disadvantage would mean it’ll be so much harder on you than anyone else at shooting and defense. Unless of course there is no one in front of you. Is that why your free throw percentage is so high but everything else is so low? That you can only make a basket when no one is in front of you?”

“That’s why I’m here, I want to improve on that so that I don’t have to always be at such a disadvantage,” Kresta half growls at the dog, her nails half digging into the ball and releasing it a bit too hard.

There was something about the way the collie moves that starts to unsettle Kresta. But it’s not in any way that she can accurately describe. If anything it was like she wasn’t actually looking at Kresta herself, merely looking at the wall past her, analyzing a portrait or something with a lot of intensity. Her head tilts to one side and the next, as if examining her for some kind of flaw. Deciding to not fall for the bait she goes back to shooting, feeling that if she can prove that this dog can’t get inside her head.

“You know,” the collie begins again, putting the tone into that of something designed to forcibly attract attention to whatever is said next, “I’ve always wondered.” She pauses her statement, intentionally waiting for Kresta to make her next shot. “Why not shave?”

Kresta’s mind completely derails at the comment. It is such a non-sequitor that her brain cannot even gather what it is that she’s talking about. Instead she takes a deep breath and attempts to refocus herself. The point of this session is for that collie to get under her skin and detrimentally affect her game. It is then Kresta’s own job to resist and try to block out the words completely, to maintain a game composure regardless of what comes out of the mouth of this other person.

“It can’t be from a lack of effort. No one that makes it to where you are, as little as it may be,” she puts a lot of stress on the word little, as if referring back to her earlier point, “could ever be considered to be lazy about anything. Not to mention it probably takes a lot longer binding it up every single day than it would to just shave it. And it’s not like you’re ever shown in full brush so why not just shave all that fur off?”

Kresta blinks and hesitates for a moment, knowing now full well the angle that the collie is going to try to make. She tightens her jaw reflexively and continues trying to shoot, half trying to completely tune her out but some part of her is curious on where this dog is going with all of this.

“I have my reasons,” Kresta states vaguely.

“Now the ears I perfectly understand,” she continues, hands moving up to her ears as she talks as if Kresta didn’t even respond and is more talking either to herself or to someone else about her. “Can’t risk damaging those or that might seriously mess with your game and not like shaving them would do any good. Fox ears are known for how big they are, not for how fluffy they are. By simply tying them back in a headband you get them out of the way. But the tail, now there’s a different matter. There are plenty of species out there with long tails. And it’s not like shaving it off would have any long term ramifications. Fur grows back fairly quickly. Heck I would imagine the gesture of shaving your tail would send your message far more clearly than binding it up all the time would. Not to mention no chance of accidentally shaving your tail too tightly and cutting off circulation. And it must not be that big a deal to the species if that other fox you came with does shave his tail.”

“His is for effect. And I don’t reject being a fox. I very easily could have had my species listed as canine but I chose not to do so,” Kresta comments, the ball not leaving her hands for the moment, the subject a little too touchy for her to trust how the ball will fly.

“But you don’t embrace it, either. He almost makes a joke of it. Would it surprise you to know that most of my information is coming from your agent?”

“No, I suppose not,” Krestra frowns. The truth of the matter is she quite expected much of this information came that way. The information is just too precise, too calculated to have come from just casual observation. If anything she wouldn’t be surprised if they had written out this little dialog completely. Seems like the kind of tactics they’d use.

“How does that make you feel? Do you feel betrayed that your agent has given me all the insights they have about all of your most vulnerable subjects?”

“I’m sure they have a good reason.”

“So no problem with a fox going about providing underhanded information to go along some agenda? I will say they are quite an observant individual. They gave me a lot of information to use. You know what I just realized? There is nothing at all remarkable about your appearance. No dyes, no ear rings, no tats, nothing. Nothing at all to distinguish you from any other fox beyond your headband and tail bindings. And if you took those off you could blend in. Perhaps that’s the real reason right there. I heard you went on a vacation not too long ago. Am I correct?”

“Yes, for the first time in my life I had the money to do so, so I took advantage of my break and toured the globe. What does that have to do with anything?” Kresta asks, turning away from the basket completely to face the dog.

“Why is it you toured the entire globe all at once? Doesn’t that seem like something that would have been rushing things a bit there? I mean most basketball players have several seasons that they play. Several off seasons that they can use to explore and see the world. But you, you decide you want to see it all right away, right off the bat. Doesn’t that strike you as odd in any way?”

“No, it does not.”

“But I think it does. Deep down you know you’re just a little old fox. That’s why you took all of your vacations at one time, pushing them as close together as you possibly could. You are afraid that you aren’t going to last long in this sport. In your mind you are afraid that this upcoming season will be your last. That no one will want you. That’s why you wanted your vacation now. Next year you’ll have to start managing your financials, try to stretch them for as long as you can before having to get some other job. All because you are just a fox and will always be so. You are afraid of that fact. That is why you do not mark yourself in any way. You are afraid that you are nothing more than an ordinary fox without any real talent and that one day you might have to act like one. You live in Vegas, ever do any gambling?”

“My agent has control over my account, I never have enough to do something like that,” Kresta fights off a growl. Though she knows that the question is innocent enough and a valid enough question it is the implication of the question that really is upsetting.

“But gambling doesn’t require that much money. I’m sure you can scrape by a hundred here and there to play. I just had a thought. Imagine how much it would totally screw your game if every time you got the ball the fans of the other team just started chanting ‘just a fox’ at you. Can you just imagine it? You step up to the line and all the while the crowds just start chanting. How composed do you think you’ll be with a few thousand people going ‘Just a fox, just a fox, just a fox?’”

“Okay, okay, you can stop. I get it,” Kresta pleads, her voice cracking a little.

“Deep down you’re afraid that that is all you are and all you’ll ever be. Just a short, little fox,” the collie pauses and walks back towards the other side of the room and only stops when she’s just behind the fox, her voice lowering down into a more conspiratorial tone, as if what is about to be said is for those two and no others. “They’re calling it the year of the buyout. How many times over the season do you think you expressed concerns that you were next? You never had much hope for your own success, did you? A short, little nobody on nobody’s radar. You just got lucky one took pity on you and gave you a chance. “Her voice drops even further down to almost a whisper. “What if I told you that your fears were well founded? That your new GM is just waiting to get at next season’s cap so that they could just buy you out?”

“What?” Kresta asks rather crestfallen, fighting the tears that are starting to drip down her neck in a futile attempt to continue the impression that this dog isn’t getting to her.

“Well can you really blame them?” the collie asks casually as she walks back to where she was seated when Kresta first came in. “You are just a short guard that can’t pass, shoot or steal. Why would anyone want you? And you’re cheap, only one mill to deal with. A pittance if it means they can get someone new, someone not quite so…” she pauses for effect as she looks up and down the entirety of Kresta’s figure, “short.”

Kresta’s legs give out and she collapses onto the ground, slouched over as the ball just barely held in her hands as it rests gently in her lap, the tears flowing freely down her cheeks. “But,” she starts weakly, her voice fragile and quiet as she tries to maintain at least some control over her own voice. “Why wouldn’t they have told me?”

“Because I’m lying to you,” the collie responds quickly in a matter of fact tone, her voice quickly taking on a much more English accent. “We are an unaffiliated group. We are under absolutely no NDA’s. We have as much connection to the powers that be as the people on the streets and no one in their right mind would give us such valuable information. The only source of information I have about the FBA is what is public knowledge and in your particular case what your agent has told me. As I said, they are an observant person. I’m pretty sure they knew exactly what kind of reaction this kind of information would have on you. If they had told me that your GM is getting ready to buy out your contract to be told to you on the first day of a training camp I’d honestly say you should sue them. But I never once said that I was only going to tell the truth. I did not once say that you could trust anything I said. I even told you what effect I was going for and yet look at you now. Do you think you can play as you are?”

“No,” Kresta admits almost sheepishly.

“Did I even once say something that would have gotten a player fined or suspended if they said it to you on the court?”

“No, I guess not.”

The collie stands up and walks over before leaning over and gently grabbing Kresta by an elbow and helping to pull herself up. “Come on, you. Up we go. Next time we meet it’ll be a group session and we’ll work on this problem. I won’t be helping with your fears or just how easily you gave into them as that would require someone more interested on fixing your head than I and would probably take longer than three weeks to do. But what I can help is to try and teach you a way so that when it becomes time for the game, nothing anyone says to you will have any impact. Now go on and head on out, feel free to take as much time to recover as you need. The other trainers will know to leave you alone.”

“All right,” Kresta responds quietly, her tail lodged firmly between her legs as she starts to head towards the door.

She leaves the room and starts heading back to where the rest of the training was trying her hardest to get her mind back on the task at hand but was finding it extremely difficult to do so. Exposing her greatest fears in such a way really took its toll on her and she’s all but fighting the urge to go hide in a corner and cry for a while. And some part of her mind just keeps that chant going in her mind, of being just a fox. Then to make matters worse when she gets down the stairs she sees Fit just chilling out, watching the stairs. He sees the tears on her face and she sniffs before wiping them off as best she can with her arm before reaching the bottom.

“So how’d it go?” He asks, as if completely unaware of how she looks, moving an arm as if to put it on her shoulder, causing her to spaz out.

“Leave me alone!” she cries, flailing her arms a bit to free herself of his proximity and then storms off, leaving him with a rather perplexed look.
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill

MigeYeFoxe
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Re: Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » July 18th, 2014, 9:38 am

((OOC Decided given how much time it took to do Kresta's session that I'm only going to show the reactions of most of the others rather than do the full session for each of them. I still want to do Fit's, but only because I think it's actually rather amusing on how that one goes. Though I did end up writing myself into a corner with this one and had trouble finishing this session))

Kresta returns to the main training area only to find it completely empty. Somewhat perplexed she looks around briefly trying to find one of the trainers to be able to tell her where everyone went. Bob walks up somewhat slowly and just states within earshot, deciding better than to try and offer a comforting hand after seeing what happened when Fit had tried it.

“They’re off to lunch. They gave us an hour to eat up and whatnot. You should eat too, you know. Gotta keep that that strength up, eh?” Bob informs, moving slightly closer to Kresta as she speaks.

“I suppose I should go change then,” Kresta replies quietly and slowly, noting how neither Bob nor Fit were in their uniforms at the moment, letting it sink in and half grateful for the extra time to be able to get her thoughts in order.

“Sure thing, I’ll meet you there, okay?” Bob reaches over and before Kresta can react pulls her into a hug.

Once Kresta gets over the shock of what Bob is doing she immediately pushes her away. Yet begrudgingly Kresta is unable to hide the little wag from her tail at the act. “What do you think you’re doing?” she demands.

“Sorry, just thought like you looked like you could use one is all.”

“I’m fine okay?” Kresta raises her arms in a defensive manner, backing slowly away in case the owl decides for a repeat. “It’s just, I’ll be fine. I just need a moment or two to recover from that.”

“Sure enough then, I’ll see you in the cafeteria,” Bob shrugs and absentmindedly waves as she heads back towards the cafeteria while Kresta heads back over to the locker room.

Over in the cafeteria San is looking down at her tray with a bit of guilt. Having grown up with almost nothing and constantly having to work and scrounge to get much of any food at all to be staring at a plate that has more food on it than she’d normally get in a while day was difficult to take. And this was only just for the lunch break. People in her neighborhood were probably starving or at least going hungry and here she had so much food laid out in front of her, no one else really seemed to be all that concerned with it either. She half fights a troubling thought of if that is what is in store for her when she gets money. Most of the people here could afford to get here on their own so they might be used to always eating such extravagantly.

“You should eat up,” Red states plainly between mouthfuls of food.

“But there’s so much of it,” San complains, noting Fit making his way to the table with about as much food, though with a much higher meat content than the two of them for obvious reasons.

“We aren’t here to lose weight. We aren’t here on a diet,” Red reaffirms, “athletes need a lot of calories when in training. On more intense workout schedules like we’ll be getting in training camps like these you really need to eat about three to four thousand calories a day because we’re going to likely going to be burning off three to four thousand calories a day. You need to eat a lot so that your body will have enough energy to make it through the day at full strength.”

“Doesn’t make it feel any less wrong,” she complained, barely nibbling on the food in front of her at the moment.

“Well, think of it dis way,” Fit adds into the conversation with his mouth partly full. “Dey give us all dis food and not ask for money. Dey tell us we already pay for da drinks so I reckon that we already paid for all dis food. Not good food, mind, but food. We paid fer dis food so it is ours to eat jes like the drinks are ours ta drink. If’n it bother you about the hungry let me ask y’all dis. Would dey be any less hungry if you didna eat?”

“No, probably not.”

“An if’n you fall from bein too tired from not eating all yar food will ya be helping yar case much in getting good enough to make enough ta send home so that dey not so hungry?”

“I guess not.”

“Well then,” Fit states in a cheerful manner before taking a large bite of a burger that almost has more toppings than actual burger on it. “What’s da problem? Eat now and eat all so dat later they can eat more.”

San does eat, knowing that she had no real justification for outright refusing to eat here from a simple principle of people being hungry elsewhere. There are far better places and times for such a protest and they were right about one thing, it serves her no good to ruin an opportunity to improve from guilt. A couple more people apparently are called off in the middle of lunch, so apparently the solo sessions don’t take any breaks just because of lunch time. But then again the sooner they get them all done the sooner they’d be able to move on to other stuff. Red gets called in shortly before the end of the allotted lunch hour and though he doesn’t come out in tears like Kresta had, his mind is clearly far away and carries on a rather vacant expression. It’s almost as if whatever he had just had to go through caused his whole brain to go numb and shut down. He did get dressed for continuing the training sessions but it was clear that he was little more than just going through the motions at this point.

They announced through the intercom that the next training session was about to begin, letting all those who hadn’t already done so to know to head back to the main area. It was a sort of stark contrast that made it very clear which have already done the solo session and which have not. Those that have were either still shaken up about it or kept a rather quiet aura about them. And because of seeing those that did it come out, those that haven’t yet are moving around rather anxiously, knowing soon enough their time will come. When it’s time for the drill to start everyone is told to grab their pens again, pick a spot anywhere on one half of the court and then sit down. Once everyone is in place the lights turn off, once again leaving everyone in such a way that the only source of light is the LED’s on their uniforms, which stay white which does tell everyone that it isn’t a team event. Technically it’s even darker than before. Last time they turned the lights off on everyone there were still some lights illuminating the court as well as the trainer. This time the LED’s are the only source of light available. With the relatively non-existent lighting it is nearly impossible for any of them to be able to tell what species the trainer is. They aren’t wearing anything that would illuminate them, the only clue where they are is the sound of a basketball bouncing off the ground.

“I want you to hear this. For this drill all that matters right now is this sounds,” he states, moving around the court. “As was said earlier the longer you keep your eyes off your opponent the more time they have to sneak something on you. But in the same way your own eyes will betray your every intention. If you look at the ball they can see it and will know to guard the ball more closely. Further with your eyes off your opponent’s eyes you may miss subtle clues about how they are going to move. Ideally this would be done in complete darkness but as you may be able to guess, I need to still be able to see where you all are located. For today’s drill I’m just going to dribble the ball around you for a while, explain things to you and what I want from you. Whenever you thing the ball is in the perfect spot for you to make a steal attempt I want you to shine your pen at the floor. Doesn’t matter where. All that matters is the timing. There is something you all have already learned but do not generally think about. There is a pattern to these bounces. It doesn’t matter where I am in relation to you, on a normal, regular dribble the ball will take almost exactly the same amount of time between each time that it hits the ground. And there is going to be an optimal time for you to reach for the ball whenever you are close enough.

“My drills are obviously going to teach you how to steal. But I’m not going to teach you in the way that everyone else likely did. I don’t care about where the ball physically is or to learn the mechanics of gravity. That you already know. Stealing the ball is all about timing and positioning. For this first week I am only going to address the notion of timing. Though you will never see the ball. What I am going to try to teach is how to steal the ball without ever once looking at it. Shoulder position, arm position, stance. These are all you’ll ever need to see to know where the ball is at any given time. That and the cadence of the bounce. If you really take my lessons to heart by the end of these three weeks you’ll have some part of your brain that will always key in to this sound and begin timing it. It doesn’t matter what all is going on, you’ll hear and track the bounce. And if I do it right you’ll hear a second sound, not in something anyone can hear. It is the sound of an impulse, for that small gap when it becomes the perfect time to steal the ball.

“It looks like some of you are way off on the timing, so that’ll just have to be something we have to deal with. The best time to steal is not half way between bounces as some of you are guessing. Halfway between each bounce the ball will be in the hand of the dribbler. A much better time would be closer to the one quarter spot, though three quarters would work as well. With the one quarter spot the ball is about halfway from the ground to the hand and is heading up to your hand. The three quarters isn’t as good since it means that the ball is moving away from your hand, meaning your hand has to move faster than at the one quarter. Too close to the bounce and it’ll be beyond your reach. Too close to half way and you risk a contact foul. Of course there are things that make it more interesting of a challenge,” he states before he starts to dribble in a somewhat erratic pattern. “Many players will start to dribble in an irregular pattern like this when they are getting ready to make a move or call a play. It helps protect the ball by making it harder to predict when the ball will be coming up, giving them also more control over where the ball is going. Once they start to move, that is your best window. You see it’s basic physics. The shortest distance between the ball and the hand is straight down. As soon as that ball is going to start moving forward it’s going to take longer for it to hit the ground and thus longer to get back to the hand. Add to that the ball will have to move further away from the person in order for the ball begins moving and you get a very brief window where they cannot protect the ball that well.”

The rest of the drill continues on in much the same manner. The trainer dribbles the ball all around them, being careful to not step on anyone or bounce the ball at anyone by using the LED outline their clothes provides. Of the five of them Fit was by far the best at this drill. Well, he was the most likely to forget to push the button on the pen but when he did he was usually about right where it should have been. Fit even went so far as to constantly move his hand out a bit with each bounce, further accentuating the point of what the drill is about. Bob surprised herself by how well she was doing. She half expected to do horribly but considering it was a timing thing she would catch on pretty quick. Each time the trainer would try to change up the pace of the dribble it would throw Bob off quite a bit for a moment before she got back into the rhythm. A few times the trainer would pass it off to one of the other trainers as suddenly the pace of the ball and the location of the ball would be fairly different.

Eventually the drill ends and the lights start to come back on. Everyone is instructed that for the next drill they’re going to need their goggles so they’d be given a few minutes to go get them if they didn’t have them on hand already. During the break Bob is called to go do her solo session. Oddly as far as everyone else could tell she seemed perfectly fine coming out of it. Not shaken up, not distant, just perfectly fine. Except, of course for the fact that whenever someone tried to talk to her for a little while she’d spontaneously move to give them a deep, embracing hug. No words or explanation behind the hugs, just suddenly a hug and then after doing that for a few seconds would let go with a reaffirming smile though her eyes didn’t match her expression.

Fit was considerably confused as to what would be going on at these sessions and spends much of the time waiting for those lagging behind to try and figure out what exactly happens in these sessions. Of their little group of five one came out in tears, one came out with their mind off in another world and one seemed to have been transformed into some kind of hugging monster. Hopefully his won’t be too big an issue.
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill

MigeYeFoxe
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Re: Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » July 24th, 2014, 9:31 am

For the next drill a bunch of the trainers were out on the court, each and every one of them carrying some sort of large air gun. All twenty of them are told to stand in a line side by side, one of the trainers stepping up to address them, one hand on the trigger to the air canon.

“Now, before we begin I am going to hit each and every one of you with this full blast in the face. Can any of you tell me why that would be?”

“So we don’t take the piss?” one of the EFBA players comment.

“Just about. If you know that this won’t actually hurt you there will be less flinching and panic from getting hit with one of these. But this is why you need the goggles, for though they don’t have enough force to actually harm you it could still mess up your eyes if it blew something into them.”

And true to the trainer’s word he begins walking down the line firing it off at everyone’s face. The force is usually enough to cause all but the taurs to stagger back a step or two but no one seems to be ultimately all that distraught from being hit with it. One of the players ends up getting their goggles knocked off by the blast, in which case some of the trainers immediately went straight to them, half making sure that they were still perfectly fine and to help them put their goggles on correctly so that they wouldn’t be blown off as easily next time.

“Now that you all know how harmless these are we can get to discussing the drill in question. Your goal is quite simple. There is a rack of balls right next to you. To get one point you simply to dribble your ball all the way to the other basket. You do not need to score. You simply need to get there. However, if for any reason you lose control of the ball and it hits the ground again without your hand touching it then that run is over. You have to grab your ball and head back to the beginning and try it all over again. If every single one of you can get five points in the next half an hour then we will give you all a special treat for dinner. If you have already gotten your five points you can choose to help out another player, being someone they can pass to in order to take the pressure off themselves for up to two trainers. The person with the most points at the end of the half hour will be paired off with the lead trainer in the next drill.”

To say that no one did well their first run on that drill would be an understatement. Not a single player was able to get past the first trainer on their first try. The first ones to try it, figuring themselves faster and more skilled fared the worst of all of them. So unprepared for just how much that air canon would throw the ball out of control they didn’t even make it past the first firing of the canon. Eventually some of the others started to figure out how to work around that, using their bodies as shields against the air guns but then came the next tricky spot. As soon as they have almost gotten past one they suddenly have a small range where they now have to protect the ball from two different locations, each more than willing to knock the ball out of their grasp. Near the end of the half hour a few of them did start to get close. Once having figured out the knack of getting around two at once making their way down most of the court became much easier. But even with a full half hour at their disposal only a single one of them actually made it to the end. The last ten feet are made far more difficult by having three trainers try and knock that ball away, and unlike the others they actively move and try to position themselves to get at the ball. The only one to make it past was a taur that mainly used their body as a shield for the entire time.

At the end of the training Fit was called to go do his own session. Knowing what the reaction of all the others have been he strives to prepare himself for the worst possible scenario. In some regards, he reflects, the later on the worse it gets because there becomes this apprehension of just how bad is it going to be. When he enters there is a border collie seated fairly comfortably just a little bit behind the spot directly under the hoop. She points at the rack right next to the mock free throw line but doesn’t say anything until he’s actually reached the location.

“I suppose I should probably tell you why you’re here,” she states in a very southern accent. “This thing is fairly simple. You shoot, I talk. If at the end of the session you still feel like you can shoot then you won’t have to see me again at all for the remainder of this camp. If however you do not feel like you can perform up to snuff then you’ll just know what benefit my teaching you can be.”

“And I suppose that ya have all of my biggest, darkest secrets ta exploit at me?” Fit responds somewhat skeptically as he grabs a ball and spins it in his hands before tossing the ball at the net.

“Nope. I have absolutely nothing on you. I will admit for most people I have quite a bit of information given to me,” she gestures at the files sitting under her desk, some of which are visibly bloated with pages. She then singles out the one on top, a very thin little folder. “Can you guess whose this belongs to?”

“Mine I’m guessing?” Fit asks, shooting another ball at the hoop.

“Correct. Your agent failed to give me any information to go on. And since I don’t know you I don’t have anything to use against you. So I guess you win by default. Congratulations.”

“Great,” Fit replies sarcastically, shooting another ball. The collie picks up a long stick and begins pushing the balls back towards him. “Does that mean I kin go?”

“No, you are scheduled for this time slot, we might as well use it. It’d probably not come off well if I simply let you go because your agent didn’t find the time to get me anything on you in time. So how about this, you just keep shooting and we’ll have a nice little chat for a little while and then you can be on your merry way.”

“Seems fair I guess,” Fit shrugs and grabs one of the balls on the floor by his feet.

“So are you into sports?” she asks in an innocent, casual manner.

“Really?” Fit exclaims, having to hesitate mid shot and bring it back down, so stunned at the ridiculousness of asking someone applying to be picked up in the number one league in the world if they are into sports.

“My bad, my bad,” she responds, putting on a very southern bell inflection. “SO what do you think of the Texas team this year? Think they have any chance?”

“The Lone Stars? I guess so?”

“No no, sugar. I’m talking football. Do you think Texas has any chance of making the superbowl this year?”

“What.”

“I suppose you’re right. Their quarterback isn’t really the most impressive of the lot. He just doesn’t quite have as much experience at the moment, too prone to just lobbing it out there when under pressure and hoping that one of his team picks it up. I’m sure once he gets that out of his system and learn how to juke a bit better he’ll be right as rain.”

“You really want ta talk about football?” He asks in an annoyed fashion. “Are you sure your file is empty?”

“Why whatever do you mean?” she asks, picking up his folder and flipping it open, showing not a single mark or paper inside. “What, is talking about football an issue with you? I just recognized your accent and saw on your folder what college you had attended and assumed like any good Texan you’d be all enthusiastic about how well your football team will do this upcoming year.”

“Ya were mistaken in dat,” Fit takes another shot, though it ends up a bit wide and he curses himself slightly before redoubling his efforts to focus.

“Oh, I’m sorry dear. I did not mean to intrude. It’s just. Well you see. They’ve probably told you at the start that we aren’t all basketball people, right? That we cater to many sports throughout the year?”

“Yes, they did mention something of that nature.”

“Well there you go. You see, child, basketball is not my primary sport. It does itself a fine thing when it’s on but I don’t typically watch it. I am more of a football fan myself, though I do quite a bit of work with baseball as well. Most of my work comes with helping quarterbacks during the summer and then pitchers during the winter, players who are very critical to the game and need all the help they can get to focus under pressure. But football is by far my favorite sport. Where each play is a buildup of anticipation and tension and then there’s this moment of release when the play begins and you are either left with a minor disappointment of a small play or the thrill of seeing something big and extraordinary happen. Have you ever played?”

“No, I do not play.”

“Your loss,” she shrugs, rolling more balls back at his feet. “I suppose with your body you’d probably be far better suited for a receiver than a quarterback But who knows, you might not have been able to catch a ball or run plays well enough.”

“Can we talk about something else please?”

“Sure thing. How about the World Cup going on? You think the US will have any chance of winning?”

“Huh?”

“You know, soccer? I know it’s not as big here in the states as it is in the rest of the world but surely you must have heard something about what’s going on. Personally I’m not as big a fan of the Men’s soccer as women’s soccer, though I may be a bit biased for obvious reasons,” she states, further accentuating her point by resting one of her hands on top of her chest. “It’s a lot better team play and a lot less of the flopping. That’s something that’s always annoyed me about the men’s version of the sport; just how much they always play up their injuries. I can just wonder how much putting them into a sport like rugby would just chew them out. Male soccer players must be among the most childish of players of any sport and probably would run home crying if they were put into a really physical sport. Though basketball can be just as bad. You wouldn’t believe how often I see people get the smallest possible tap by another player and leap at the ground as if they had been shoved really hard in an attempt to draw a foul. But rest assured, that is not a skill we teach here.”

“Thanks fer da vote of confidence,” Fit half growls before taking his shot.

“You want to know why I think you don’t like football? You’re not good at it. Your body type would suggest you’d probably be best at maybe the wide receiver. You definitely look like you could theoretically be fast enough. My guess is that you were never that good at catching the ball. But then again I imagine the fact that you’re a digi would make your viability in such a high contact sport more in question. It’s a proven fact that digis have poorer balance than normal people,” she states, emphasizing the word ‘normal,’ “Not to mention it’s a lot harder to have adequate protection for your legs even after taking into consideration how much you’d need it to be specialized for digis. Granted digis do have a fifteen percent smaller chance of getting a knee injury but they make up for that by having a forty percent greater chance at an ankle injury. Then again, it’s not like anyone expects much in football from a slinger.”

Fit scowls and throws the ball at the dog’s head, who catches it before rolling it back. “That is not a word you are allowed to use.”

“Now now, dearie,” the collie responds as if nothing had at all happened. “If you did that in a game they would have thrown you out and likely suspended you for a good while. So, are you sure you’re able to still shoot as you are?”

“I can, I am a professional.”

“Well then, let’s prove it shall we? A simple matter of accuracy. I’ll give you ten shots. If you can make at least seven of them then I will believe you and you will never have to see me again. I’ll even be nice and not say a single word while you are in the middle of your shooting motion.”

“Fine.”

“So do you know what they call a receiver that can catch the ball only seventy percent of the time?” She asks, stopping for a moment as he has begun his shot motion, it goes in. “That’s one. They call him third string. Do you know what they call a kicker that only makes a mid range shot seventy percent of the time?” Fit does his best to ignore her and once again it goes in. “Two for two, not bad. I don’t know the answer to mine actually. They generally aren’t kept in the league if they do that badly.” The third one misses. “Ach, and you were doing so well, honey. Oh well, you just need to make five of the next seven, not too hard I would imagine,” she pauses, waiting for the shot. “That’s three of four, you only need four more to do it. You might win. You want to know why I like football so much more? It’s the anticipation.” A second shot misses. “Too bad, you only have one more miss. You see with basketball plays happen too fast. There is no buildup. In most games each team will score at least once every minute.” Another one goes in. “Four for six, only four to go. But with football there is far more anticipation. Each drive can last several minutes long.” A third miss. “You’re in trouble now, Mr. Normello. You’re out of misses. You now need to make all three of your last shots to win our little bet. With football there’s just so much more anticipation between the rush of a team scoring than in basketball.” A fifth shot goes in. “Just two more for you. Though I have to wonder, are you and that other fox an item?”

Fit stops mid shot to bring the ball back down, knowing the trick she just tried to pull. He takes a few deep breaths, knowing she did say she wouldn’t talk until he made or missed this shot. “No, we are not,” he shoots.

“And it looks like you won’t win. So sorry about that. I suppose it was rude to ask if you were seeing her, it’d be far too unprofessional. Or is it you swing for the other team? I would have no problem with it if you do. After all the FBA seems to be teeming with people with such an orientation.” Fit shoots his tenth ball. “And that’s game. So mister Normello, you went only five for ten. Do you think shooting only fifty percent is a sign that I got into your head or are you just that bad at shooting free throws?”
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill

MigeYeFoxe
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Re: Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » July 28th, 2014, 9:29 am

((OOC Sorry for the delay, I think I ran into a motivation problem in that I was spending too much time trying to say how everyone was doing rather than have it be about Kresta with the others there as a backdrop))

The next drill turns out to be one that confuses most of them. In order to prepare for the drill, everyone was instructed to leave for a little while and then when they came back it was almost a completely different appearance. A bunch of mats have been rolled out onto the main court and a lot of hoops brought in as well, though these look more like those cheap ones you can buy at a store, ones that are functional but light weight and thus can’t really take much force from say being dunked on. There are ten hoops spread out along the entire room and in front of each hoop is a pair of circles, one inside the other. The inner circle is barely enough room to stand in while the other is only a little larger than someone could fit between each circle. The trainers have all twenty of them lined up in single file and then begin to reorder them according to height. After that they were all paired off against the next person in line, making it so that each one of them was more or less facing off against someone of similar height. Finally one of the trainers came in to address the group and explain things.

“The nature of this drill is actually quite simple. Make a basket. However, there is one catch. If you are the one with the ball you are not allowed to leave the inner circle at any time. And if you are the defender you are not allowed to leave the outer circle at any time. For those of the tauric persuasion only the front legs need apply for this condition. Beyond that anything that is legal play is fair game. The point of this drill is to teach you how to shoot against the defense. Now anyone can shoot when there is no one around them. And we already have done a drill for teaching you how to dribble past a defender. Now it’s to teach you how to shoot around a defender. Sometimes dribbling around is not an option nor is simply passing it away. What you need to do is learn how to get around the fact of someone staring you in the face as you are about to shoot. For this introduction we will be keeping the hoop at a fairly close distance and straight on you. Eventually we will be not only moving the hoop further away but also slanting it; simulating shooting from multiple locations on the court. Now if the task proves to be too difficult for you we will begin moving the outer circle further out, giving you more room to make your shot. Alternatively if you do really well we will start amping it up a bit on you, with a few ways we’ll disclose later on making it harder, like making your opponent taller. Finally,” the trainer begins the statement by taking a basketball and dropping it onto the mat where it thuds and only bounces up a few inches before going back down, “don’t bother worrying about dribbling. You can pivot and move all you want so long as you never set foot outside the circle. And I’m sure you all have noticed the mat under your feet. Part of this is to protect the floor from these hoops but it’s also to give you more options. Though it may not be that good of an idea if you wanted you can try an off balance shot to get around the opponent and should you fall you’ll land on our thick little mat here. Next time we do this drill we will introduce a few more exacting ways on how to achieve the desired effect. But for this first introduction to it we want you to spend the time exploring the concept yourself, see if you can’t figure out a way to do it without our help. After each shot is made the two of you will switch places and the other will get a shot at shooting the ball.”

Kresta got the luck of being a shooter first, having the more challenging role of trying to figure out how to achieve the effect cold. And to make matters worse even though they were theoretically supposed to be lining up and paired off by height before actually beginning the collie came around and reordered a few people, pairing off some against some that were a few places taller or shorter than they’d originally face in the line. And she paired Kresta off against someone much taller. Half scowling at the dog Kresta steps into the center of her circle and faces off against her opponent. She doesn’t shoot right away, instead she just stares forward with a vacant stare, the cogs in her head starting to turn. Being put up against someone taller than her limits her options, a straight up shot won’t work, it’d just get blocked at this distance. Juke shots would only work so often and can’t be the purpose of this. A few whistles go off, a trainer apparently catching someone trying something that requires them to step outside their circle. Her eyes bounce back and forth for a while, trying to puzzle out this problem and then that collie had to break her concentration again.

“Here, use this,” she states, holding up a stool and placing it right behind her before continuing past her to go hopefully pick on someone else.

Kresta half growls and with an act of defiance kicks it backwards out of the way, almost kicking it off the mat completely and that’s when she realizes something. They gave them a mat. Her eyes bounce around for another second or two as she tries to figure it out and then begins to jump up as if about to shoot but her defender reaches up to stop her. That doesn’t phase her as she doesn’t leave the ground. Instead she drops back down into a half crouch and then launches herself backwards, shooting the ball when she reaches the highest point in the jump she tries her best to shoot the ball at the net and then falls backwards on her rear end. The ball easily clears the hands of her defender and soars right towards the net. And misses. Badly. But it worked. Just not really.

Now it was her opponent’s time to shoot. And they had the advantage of height but that didn’t mean that Kresta could simply give up. This was training. She had to learn this. If nothing else than to show that dog up. At first he tries a couple of times to try and bring the ball up to a shooting position but Kresta keeps reaching forward to stop him. Growing frustrated he decides to turn completely around, his back to her as he bring the ball back up to a shooting position. But knowing of training even if he doesn’t have to dribble it lets her know which foot he has declared to be his pivot and moves slightly towards that side, waiting for him to try and turn back around. He notices her and actually tries to spin around the other way on that same leg but ends up almost losing his balance from the odd motion and in the process loses any advantage he had over her. But his arms are still up and he takes a jump to make his shot. Kresta tries her best to block but his height makes it outside her reach and it gets free without much effort. His shot misses as well but his almost went in.

Training continues in this manner for quite a while, though one of the trainers quickly end up bringing her the stool again, though this time only for when she’s blocking. Begrudgingly she accepts. It limits her mobility quite a bit but she does place it directly in front of him so that she can hop onto it when he’s making his shot. She simply isn’t quite capable at this point at stopping someone with such a height advantage from being able to make their shot when it was already up. Her best course of action seemed to simply be to run around, keep him from being able to complete his turn where he can raise the ball up, taking advantage of the non-game scenario. If she had done this in game then she would pretty quickly be benched, she’s sure of it. Running around an opponent simply because they’re turning would leave the lane wide open for them to make a break at the hoop. But with him only able to turn or at most jump to shoot off balance it’s less of an issue.

After doing this for about ten minutes some of the trainers begin to grab various people and swapping them around, this time putting Kresta against someone much closer to her own height. At which point the game became quite different. There were so many more things that she could try. But it seemed most have already figured out that the best way to make a shot is to find a way to either drive them to one side or free up space by leaping in one way or another and hope their defender didn’t do the same to block.

Eventually they ended and let everyone go for dinner, all but kicking everyone off the court so that they can also take the mats away and set up for the last two drills of the day. Dinner was a rather somber affair. Many of the players, Kresta included, were already getting a little worn out from all the drills and everything they were being made to do. Fit seemed to be taking it in stride, steadying his own breathing and spending his entire meal half chatting it up with some of the female members from the other leagues.

The first of the drills after dinner was another drill being led by Jelaine. With the excuse of not wanting to upset their stomachs they weren’t sent to the treadmills but rather told to put on a bunch of weights. The trainers would watch rather carefully to make sure they weren’t overburdening their player but once that was done they were all walked out of the arena and brought to a room more fitting of a weight room and put onto stair climbers and set off on that for a while, occasionally being pulled off to do some jumping drills. Either way something that was physically exhausting even without having to move their bodies all that fast. Once they were done with this they were allowed to remove the weights and then quickly ushered back to main arena where the trainers had apparently installed a bunch of lines throughout the main court. On top of that the LED’s all turned on either red or blue.

“Now we have but one more drill for you all tonight,” the trainer begins, “and it’ll be rather simple. For now all it is is we’re gonna have us a game of foosball. Those one the red team will be going this way, those on the blue team will be going the other way. You will be assigned a spot on one of the lines. And the ball will be given randomly to one of the teams. Now what yar not allowed to do is ever step outside your own line. Like with the shooting drills for those of a tauric nature you only need the front legs to stay in the lines. Your goal is simply pass the ball to the next person along your line. If you get it to the last person they can shoot the ball and if it goes in your team gets a point. As soon as any team gets a point the lines will be shuffled so that you aren’t always in the same area. Now if at any time you step out of the lines you are removed from play until the lines are reshuffled. If at any point the ball make two bounces before making it into the hands of someone else on that same team, the ball will go to the other side at the line the ball was trying to pass. And to help matters along you will be left with the standard regulation shot clock to get the ball all the way over. Now if your team does not have the ball you do not have to worry about passing, just in keeping them from passing the ball successfully. Now begin.”

The drill was almost a match of confusion at the start of the drill. There were enough lines to run that for the most part there weren’t really any worry about running into anyone else. There were only three different locations where two players would be on the same line. Near the middle of the court and as the last defending area. The ball was given to one team under their net and then allowed to pass it on down. Many passes ended up failing no so much because the defender was in the right place but rather because of the difficulty in passing it to the right location when everyone is restricted to only running along a fairly narrow line. In that first run by the time either team made a point about half of the players had been eliminated from having left their lines. Thankfully the trainers seemed a little more tolerant to stepping outside the line when turning back around, especially in the case of taurs, but there is so much an instinct to go after the ball if it is close by that many would accidentally step outside the line trying to rescue the ball. At the end of that first run the team that won only did so because the other team ran out of people to defend that last spot. And since they needed to be doing something Jelaine had anyone who was eliminated do laps around the court until the point was scored. Subsequent runs fared much better but it still was strongly towards the notion that a lot of passes did not get through, meaning a lot of players close to their team’s net spent much of the time doing nothing. Finally after an hour of that drill they let everyone go, telling them the time they’d need to be up for breakfast.
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill

MigeYeFoxe
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Re: Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » July 29th, 2014, 10:18 pm

After the drills were done Kresta put back on her street clothes and went outside to think. After about ten minutes of being outside Bob decides that it is high time that she go out and check in on Kresta and make sure that everything is okay. Stepping outside it is clear that the sun has already set and that the world was well and full into night time. But that wasn’t an issue for Bob. Being an owl had its benefits and among those is night vision almost as good as day vision, just without the colors. She could still things just as clearly as she could when inside, though it did end up taking a few minutes before her eyes got used to the low levels of light. But once even a little accustomed to darkness finding Kresta wasn’t that difficult. A black object sitting on a sidewalk amongst a bunch of grayness of the concrete and the dark greys of the city around them. It is almost a strange thing in that she half expected there to be more lights on given it is the city but since it is the warehouse district much is probably only for security, most of these are not probably inhabited for the entire day as theirs was. When Bob gets close enough she can see Kresta slowly turning over a deck of cards over and over.

“You planning on trying to play solitaire in the dark?” Bob asks, making her presence known so as to not startle the fox too badly. “Because I’m pretty sure there are far better places to play cards than outside in the middle of the night.”

Kresta turns and sighs but does not get up, instead keeps on slowly turning the deck of cards over and over again. “These are those kinds of cards.”

“So then what are they? Tarot? Cause I’m pretty sure tarot also requires you to be able to see.”

“No, nothing of the sort. I’ve never even opened this deck. Probably never will.”

“Ah, one of those kinds,” Bob responds thinking she’s getting the kind of deck Kresta is handling.

“This may end up being my only legacy. My face on a single card somewhere in this deck. I think they said one of the Queens. I just know they asked us to pose for this as a merchandizing item and that we all were given a deck as a way of showing appreciation.”

“Well that must be something then, I doubt many teams go about making decks of cards to sell of their players. So what is this really about?”

Kresta sighs and puts the deck down, making extra sure that it is in a place that she can easily grab it and is in no danger of getting scratched up by the ground.

“It’s what was said to me earlier today. I don’t know if I have it in me to fight against such a fate,” she responds cryptically.

Bob shrugs, knowing that in the darkened light the black fox probably wouldn’t even see the motion even if she was looking at her.

“And what fate would this be might I ask?”

“To be a one and done player. She mentioned how the team was going to buy me out the moment they are able to.”

“You know that’s probably a lie right?”

Kresta sighs and stays quiet a moment, her head turning upwards to stare at the stars. “She said as much as well. But it doesn’t make it a real concern. Everyone that was around when I was given a chance is gone on that team. Different coach, different GM, different owner even. Heck even just about all of the training staff and security has been completely changed from when one person decided to give a hot headed little fox a chance,” Kresta moves a hand up to her the base of her hair, though whether to put it in order or to scratch at an itch in that location Bob doesn’t have any idea. “No one there is the same, only the players. I don’t think I involved myself with others enough over the season. I was just too busy trying to get better, to push myself to a level that I could perform at a level that would prove that I belonged. There was a fox, well a few players over the year that had a really bad break, of some bad habit consuming them and the league was there for them. I don’t think it’d be there for me.”

“What do you mean?”

“If I had some falling out. If I had some bad stint with drugs or alcohol or something, I don’t think there’d be anyone to care. If I just up and walked away without a single notice I don’t think anyone would care. I’m just one face in many. One insignificant player trying to make a mark before falling away into obscurity. Things like this are probably a waste of money for me. I’m never going to become good. I’m going to spend at most maybe one more year in the FBA and then it’ll be like I never existed. A blip that’s easily forgotten. I’m pretty sure I won’t be bought out. I may be worth only one million but that is still one million that would have to be spent. No, far more likely I’ll be shipped off to some team in need of relieving some of their more expensive players and then just sit in the deep reserves for all season again. It’s not like there’s anyone on the team that has any reason to be loyal to me.”

“You can’t really believe that, can you? You did get a starting position didn’t you?”

“And my team didn’t exactly do all that great during the season if you didn’t remember. The team ended up being five games behind the playoff limit even if we weren’t disqualified. We were as far off from making playoffs as the worst place team in the eastern conference was of making their own playoffs and they at least didn’t have something that would have kept them out of it anyway.”

“Well let’s look at this logically. You started for half the season right? I imagine that at most only one hundred twenty players can ever make such a claim in any given year. So that alone would put you in the top third of the league in regards to your impact. Even if your team bought you out that’s still one million dollars you wouldn’t have had if you did not try for the FBA. I’d imagine there probably would be at least one or two teams out there willing to pick up a player that did well enough to warrant a starting position. Might not be a great contract but would probably be better than what you have. And so what if you get traded. If they have no loyalty to you then you have no reason to be loyal to them right? And who cares anyway? Is your team going to pay you any more than they already are if you stress out about what you’ll be doing five years from now? You need to live for the now. Take this thing as hard as it can and bend it to your own will. Master everything this place has to offer and then whatever those new people on your team have to offer as well. And if you do get traded so what? Just get back at your team by wiping the floor with them whenever they face off against you. Besides, by far that’s not the worst thing she could have thrown at you. Devastating as it may be, being kicked out of the FBA isn’t not the end of the world.”

“The way you say that strongly implies she tried throwing something to that extent at you, am I correct?” Kresta half asks, her eyes still scanning the stars.

“She told me I had cancer.”

“Really?”

“Yup, said that when they went over my bloodwork from my last physical they found signs that I have n stage cancer. Tried to make me think that my life was literally just about over and that being here was a waste of my time and I was better off just spending the last few weeks getting my affairs in order.”

“And did it work?”

“Of course it did. But you know what, I don’t care. I gave me a whole new perspective on life and a need to face it as it is, not as what I want it to be. But for your information, her besting you is not at all a big deal. I asked a few of the other trainers during dinner and I found out that no one has ever passed their first solo session with her. Ever. From any sport.”

“That’s… impressive.”

“It certainly is. We have someone who has made it a specialty to go about finding the biggest weak points in an individual and then exploit them to make them lose their concentration, take them out of the task at hand. There’s a reason why she’s always the one that does it, she’s just that good at fighting people on a mental level. So worry not about being defeated. You were nothing more than another nock on her board, one of likely hundreds. But we are here to learn. If we do well we may earn a good spot on a team. If we don’t do so well, well it’s not like we wouldn’t have tried. But we should head in and get to bed. Given how intense today has been I imagine that tomorrow will not be all that much fun either.”

Kresta half smiles and stands up, patting down her jeans to make sure that they realign themselves properly and then leans back over and gingerly picks up the deck of cards, making again sure that it won’t be at all damaged by the act. With that she heaves a huge sigh and begins to head back towards the door to the facility, finding herself surprised once again when Bob has brought her in for a big hug. Being told you don’t really have cancer can have that effect on some people.

The next day was certainly a chore. Due to how hard they drove everyone the previous day most woke up on that second day extremely stiff and sore. But that didn’t mean the drills were going to stop. The trainers seem to be aware of this for the most part, making the non-physical drills last longer and the more intensive drills last shorter, though the lemur still started them off on the treadmills again, driving them to the same state of exhaustion just a little while after breakfast and stretches. There is one key difference in the drills from the first day and the second and that is the collie’s drill. As seems to be a frequent case when they want people to hear rather than see what is going on the trainers have the lights almost completely turned off.

“Now I’m sure every single one of you hate me right now but know that there is a reason for what I do. You see if I don’t show you how easily you can be affected then you are far more likely to be resistant to my own training, feeling that you are quite capable of handling yourself anyway. What my sessions will seek to teach you is not how to block it all out. I find such concepts rather pointless. It doesn’t matter how big a wall you build, if something gets in then there’s no way to get it back out again. No, what I want to teach you is how to be an idiot for basketball,” she pauses and waits for the giggling to stop. “I will seek to help train you in the art of getting your mind into such a state that things simply don’t reach you. Of course you have to have your full awareness of the court and still be as intelligent as always in managing the ball and everything else. What I hope to teach is how to make it so that nothing else that isn’t related to that specific game or practice can get through that thick skull of yours. If you can master this skill, you can still play at your best even if someone would drag your parents just outside the court and shoot them right in front of you. As they are not related to the game you simply won’t even acknowledge that the event happened until after the game. For those of you who have some sort of pregame ritual, add this to it. Train yourself in such a way that it puts you in this state,” she pauses in front of Kresta, looking down at the fox. “Like for instance you kiss a headband before the game. That’s fine. Just make it so that while you are kissing that headband you are clearing your mind of anything non-game related, blocking your own head from being able to process any information not related to the game for the next few hours. Do this often enough and eventually the act of the ritual will cause this shift even without your direct involvement. Now unfortunately this is not a skill that can be mastered in all of a few weeks. As such you’re going to have to continue these lessons afterwards. For those of you who already have a team you have your best help available. If you have money get a copy of the latest FBA 2k game and then play a game on a TV with a PIP system. Make your game the small image and have the main screen be anything else at large volume and see how well you can keep your focus only on the game. When you are confident enough encourage your teammates to help you by insulting you and saying anything they can think of to distract you during practice. After all if you can get it so that even your friends can’t affect you what hopes do your enemies have?”
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill

MigeYeFoxe
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Re: Kresta in Basketball Boot Camp

Postby MigeYeFoxe » August 1st, 2014, 9:33 pm

((Didn't make goal, only got to 20,920/25,000. Sat on this for a bit over a day thinking about what I want to do with it. Ultimately after a month's long struggle with this story I really sort of want some time away from it, to do other things. Not sure if I'll get back around to it and finish it though, don't really feel all that much incentive for doing so))

The first week was mainly just those drills over and over again. The trainers would alternate each day on whether the more physical drills would get the most attention or if rest get more attention. The collie would occasionally do some more group sessions but would frequently just resort back to doing individual sessions with the players, coaching them on how to potentially achieve the effect on a more personal, one on one manner. The only real drill that made a serious effort to change from day to day was the stealing one. As a way to help people learn to focus each time the drill was run, louder and louder ambient noise was being broadcast to them all to the extent that by the sixth day they brought in large speakers and simulated real game volume when the crowd is at its most vibrant. The seventh day of that first day was more or less a rest day. They still had to do a few drills with Jelaine as he made sure that they still had a full workout but beyond that they largely had most of their time completely to themselves. A few took this as being given permission to rest up for the next week many of them, Kresta included, took it more as a sign they were supposed to use that time to self train. This thought was reinforced by the fact that even though they weren’t being put through any of the drills for much of the day the trainers were all still around. Or at least a good portion of them were. A few seemed to have wandered off elsewhere but for the most part a good portion of the trainers were still hovering around the main arena, often with clipboards as they seemed completely intent to just sit around and watch what the twenty of them did.

Bob quickly tries to round up a few for a game of HORSE, saying that they can use that to combine a few of their drills all into one package. Much of her game of HORSE involved having one person stand just in front of them for the shooting drill they were given, though for fairness they made sure that whoever was doing the blocking was only to have their hands straight up and position themselves to be at the same relative height to whoever was shooting. And then from that once the ball had left the hands they would try and guess where the ball would go. In her homebrew version of the game you could only get a letter if not only could you not make the shot but one of the others would have to run from the three point line to where the ball would bounce to. As soon as the ball hit the rim no one was allowed to move. If it went in then it played like normal and went to the next person. If it bounced out and someone manages to grab the ball before it hits the ground without ever moving their feet then the shooter gets a letter. Else they get a pass and it’s treated as if they had made the shot. It was certainly a drill that got the attention of most of the ones feeling they were supposed to be managing themselves and at one point one of the trainers even came up and asked if they wanted to have the spotlight system that was being used in the rebounding drills to be put into effect. It was, of course, decline as many of them felt that would ruin the game like effect they had going. For now it was just a game, something to have fun with and made more challenging by including additional rules to make it all the more challenging. Adding the spotlight would make it feel far too controlled and nothing like play.

After dinner Kresta felt like doing something of her own, taking her own control over what was going on and got a few of them to join her in her brand of poker game. But unlike Bob’s event she declined having any of the drills they had been doing included into her own game. It was just the generic game. She had one deck of cards that she spread out over a half court and then had another one that she shuffled, strongly expressing concern that they handle both decks (the one on the floor and the one they were drawing from) with care. After sharing the rules they began the game. At first Fit had termed it a Guard’s game since the best hands could only really go to those that were really good shots from anywhere on the court but as the game wore on he quickly had to mentally retract that statement. Because players would know roughly what card you were shooting for and thus a rough approximation for what is in your hand at any given time it became far more a game about strategy than it was about shooting ability. After a few spent a few minutes just thinking about what card range they wanted to try for Kresta pretty much had to institute a time limit on choosing the cards.
Always remember no matter how bad the situation may get, a Pessimist will always believe that any change could only be for the better. An Optimist would disagree.
Characters: Kresta Renstill


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