Road Trip

Free Road Trip by Eric Walters

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Authors: Eric Walters
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them. One way or another, the team that wanted to be the champions of this tournament would have to go straight through the Wild Cats.
    â€œThere we are!” Kia called out. “Pool E.”
    I moved over beside her and joined other members of our team looking up at the board.
    â€œDo you recognize any of the teams?” I asked.
    â€œHow would I know any of them?” she asked. “I meant from the reception. Any teams that you can remember seeing last night?”
    â€œUm… no… I don’t think so… wait,” she said, tapping the board. “Is that the team from France?”
    â€œUnless there’s another Paris somewhere else inthe world it has to be them,” Tristan said.
    â€œWe should be able to beat a team from France,” L.B. said.
    â€œDo they even play basketball in France?” David asked.
    â€œThey have to or they wouldn’t be here,” Kia said.
    â€œI know that, but I mean I thought they only played soccer or stuff like that,” he said.
    â€œYou mean the way that people in Canada only play hockey?” I suggested.
    â€œI guess you’re right,” David admitted.
    â€œAnd I figure we’ll find out if they can play basketball pretty soon,” L.B. said. “They’re our opponents in the first game.”
    â€œHow long before we play?” I asked.
    â€œAbout two hours. Everybody’s first game is at noon,” Kia said. “Every team plays at the same time to start the tournament. That means there are twenty games in twenty gyms.”
    â€œThat must be every gym in town,” Jamie said.
    â€œEvery one of them,” Coach Barkley said as he and my father came up behind us. “Every school, the community college and the recreation center.
    â€œAnd they’ll be in use all day. By nine o’clock tonight the first round will be over and every team will have played four games.”
    â€œThat’s a lot of ball in one day,” L.B. said.
    â€œFour games is a lot,” Coach agreed. “But we have a deep bench. Everybody will see a lot of action.”
    â€œHow many teams get through from each pool?” Jamie asked.
    â€œOne,” Coach said, holding up a single finger. “So we have to win our pool, and the only way that’s guaranteed is if we win all four games.”
    â€œAnd if we get through this round what happens next?” David asked.
    â€œCorrection,” Kia said. “
When
we get through this round.”
    â€œThe second round is straight elimination. Only eight teams make it through. You lose, you go home. You win, you go on.”
    â€œHow many games?” I asked.
    â€œThree. The third one is for the championship,” Coach said.
    â€œSo,” Tristan said, “all we have to do is win four games today and three tomorrow and we’re the champions.”
    â€œThat’s all,” Coach said. “Seven wins and you’re the winners of the tournament.”
    â€œThat doesn’t seem too hard,” Tristan said. “We can do that.”
    â€œI hope we can, but right now let’s just focus on the first game.”
    â€œWhere do we play our first game?” Kia asked.
    â€œThe local community college. We’re luckywe play all four of our games at the same place. It has three gyms,” Coach explained.
    â€œAnd that’s on the other side of town, so maybe we better get ready and get going,” my father suggested.
    â€œCouldn’t have said it better myself,” Coach said. “Let’s get going.”
    We had started to walk toward the elevators when we practically bumped into the New York team and coach.
    â€œSo,” Coach Barton said, “we’re in different pools for the first round.”
    â€œI guess we are,” Coach replied.
    â€œLucky for them,” one of the New York players said under his breath, but loud enough for us to hear.
    â€œAnd the local team isn’t

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