Oct 13 2014, 1917hrs, Prism Palace, Santa Ana, CA, USA
It wasn't something Adi was unfamiliar to, but even though this was a preseason game, the pressure he felt was great
It wasn't like when he was deployed for missions, the kind of pressure was different since it wasn't a life and death situation... But rather, the pressure he felt was one of which many were depending on him to take point, and that he was matched up against the legendary Buck Hopper himself as the starting Point Guard for the opposing team.
"Trial by Fire"... That was the start of the civet's career in the FBA, his initiation.
Adi shared the floor general position with veteran red fox Victor Vos, the civet playing for a majority of the first 3 quarters against the Texas Lone Stars before Victor picked up most of the slack in the 4th quarter.
While the civet could keep up in terms of mobility and physical stamina with the MVP rabbit, the difference in their experience playing in the pro league quickly started to show. He was outclassed in nearly every other aspect, the rabbit outdoing virtually everything he was doing.
The civet's playstyle was a careful one, methodically studying the individual Lone Star players in motion, and drawing quite a number of fouls from them, yet...
Even then, it wasn't enough, the Lone Stars pulled away right in the first 12 minutes of the game, and made sure it stayed there, from 25v22, 54v52, 84v81 in each progressing quarter of the game
There wasn't too great of a score gap between the 2 teams, they were pretty evenly balanced despite the Lone Stars almost consistently keeping the lead, which made for an electric atmosphere in the Prism Palace Basketball Arena, crowds supporting either side cheering and filling the entire stadium with energy with any goals made... It was electric.
A little into the 4th Quarter however...
"Spectrums call a timeout! Player substitution!"
"You did good kid. We'll take it from here." said the Black Panther as he patted the civet on his shoulder, both watching as the red fox made his way to the court. Adi headed back to the bench where the rest of the team was watching the game.
The time passed as Adi watched the veterans of his team clash with one led by a legend in awe.
The 4th Quarter ended... The entire stadium filled with a collective loud roar of positivity, cheering on a scale he has never experienced before.
It was Lone Stars 111, and the Spectrums 117.
The Spectrums took the lead in the 4th quarter with Victor Vos taking the team into the lead no more than halfway into the 4th quarter, turning the tides against the Lone Stars and making sure the gap extended even further by the time the game ended.
The overwhelmed civet was slumped in his seat on the team bus, filled with the sound of his team mates talking about how exhilirating the game was as the bus was driving from the Prism Palace to the training center back in the neighbouring city of Tustin. His team had won, but he couldn't help feel that he couldn't have done more, and that he was holding his team back by just being there. To prepare himself for the game today, he ran through plays, got advice from his peers and coach, and it wasn't enough. To add insult to injury, the rabbit who he held in high esteem belittled the veterans in his team, regarding them little more hacks...
"You okay kid?"
Adi turned to face his right, looking up at the red fox seated next to him.
"We won the game tonight, s'your first game too! You should be happy! Why the long face?"
"It... It's nothing really..."
"C'mon Adi, I haven't seen y'all down in the dumps like this before ever. What's up?"
The civet sat quietly for a while, collecting his thoughts as he stared to the back of the seat in front of him.
"Vic... you remember what it was like to go up against him? Against Buck Hopper for the first time?"
The red fox chuckled.
"Ahhh... now'bout that."
"Yeah, B-Hop's a vicious one on the court, everyone knows that. Smack talks y'all a lot. He 'showed me my place', as it were, first time I went up against him." told the civet.
"You got a first hand experience of that tonight. Trial by Fire you can say, first game and all" the red fox joked as he nudged the civet with his elbow.
Adi chuckled, recalling the caustic words the rabbit threw his way on the court
"I don't really care for the things he said about me, it's more of the things he said about everyone else, how he mocked everyone of you"
Vic shrugged as he stuck his tongue out
"Just gotta remember to not let him get into your head though, can't let him beat y'all like that" the fox advised the smaller civet.
Adi smiled weakly at the red fox
"Yeah... You're right. Thanks for saving all of us on the 4th Quarter though. You and Shadow are just incredible, he was tutoring me as we play, and still got the PotG. I couldn't break the stalemate that we were in despite that."
"Kid, you ain't all alone here man. We got your back, same way you got ours, right?" Victor told the civet.
"I wanted to do..."
"More? Look kid, you went up against one of the best PGs in the league, you stood muzzle-to-muzzle with him, didn't back down, showed spine, and had the team keep up with his plays despite it being your first time, and you were the 4th best scorer in the team. It's a lot more than what I can say for a good number of guards with their first time going up against B-Hop." Vic interrupted
"Trust us alright? You'll be doing more, I'm guarantee, you have the discipline to, like I told you the other day... but it'll take time, don't rush it and break yourself. Ask us when you have questions, don't hesitate about that." continued the red fox
"We got your back, you feel me?"
"Thanks Vic... I needed that" the civet replied, a tired smile across his muzzle
"Good, now go get some beauty sleep in, I'll wake you once we're back at the TF" the red fox told him.
The exhausted civet slumped in his seat, smiling, zoning out to the sounds in the bus, trusted team mates all around. He soon fell asleep, Vic keeping an eye out for him.
The bus soon left the edge of Santa Ana and ferried everyone into Tustin, making a left turn to make it's way towards North Tustin, the momentum causing Adi to lean into the bigger red fox...
Victor looked at the sleeping civet as he felt the weight of the civet press onto him. He couldn't help but feel sorry for what the civet had to face, smack talked by the hero he's always worshipped, having been there himself, seeing a bit of himself in the civet...
The fox was the youngest one in his family. As appreciative as he was towards his parents, he was upset at how they tried to raise him... Yet seeing this civet somehow made him feel a little bit of how his protective his parents were toward him.
A weight started to tug him down in his chest - Beside him was a youngster who's willing to put his trust in him, a junior who looks up to him when many had dismissed him as nothing more than a sellout, a usually tense and alert ex-military fur so far away from home and family, willing to put his guard down and trust the red fox to keep and eye out for him as he rests... A younger member of the greater family he genuinely wishes to guide down the right path... Avoid the same mistakes he's done in the past.
Vic wrapped his left arm around Adi, his fingers running through the civet's hair as he eased the civet in closer to a more comfortable position, letting Adi rest his head on his thick yet fluffy neck, supporting him.
"Great job out there, kid."
General chit-chat all the teams in the West. Rumors, idle banter, trash-talk.
Make sure to read the Rules of 'Roleplay'
Make sure to read the Rules of 'Roleplay'
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