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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Letter to the Editor
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Blacktop ballers to back-to-back champs

I still remember the day when I taught my best friend Chandler Vargas how to shoot a basketball. We were out in my front yard, playing ball and dreaming dreams.

Chandler and I had our whole lives planned out. We were going to be NBA superstars who lived right next to each other. Our houses were actually going to be connected so we could hang out whenever we wanted. We dreamed of having a basketball gym right in our backyard; as budding 9 year-olds anything was possible.

Chandler and I honed our basketball skills out on the black top at recess. I remember playing knockout and challenging people to games of horse. We worked on our jump shot and perfected our behind the back dribble. Being in the NBA would take a lot of practice, but we were willing to put in the necessary work.

In fourth grade we joined Buchannan’s AAU travel team in order to play at higher levels of competition. For the first time in our lives we saw kids our age who were much better than us at basketball. This made us all the more hungry to improve our skills.

Looking back, I realize we were ambitious little competitors. In 6th grade Chandler and I thought we could beat anyone in our elementary school. We challenged a whole bunch of people to a game of basketball. It was Brady and Chandler verses all. We ended up playing against 20 kids; we lost miserably. That was a humbling experience for sure.

Two years later Chandler and I had the privilege of being Captains of our 8th grade basketball team. Some of our best basketball memories came during that momentous year. Everything culminated in a championship game against Carver Middle School. Our opponents took advantage of their height by scoring in the low post. They took an early 18-4 lead in the first half. Our chances of winning were looking very slim.

During halftime we decided to give everything we had and leave it all on the court. In an amazing turn of events, we caught fire in the third quarter and cut down Carver?s lead. Electricity was in the air as we dug down deep and came back from behind. Chandler led our team with 13 points and I chipped in with 9. When the final buzzer went off I could feel adrenaline rushing through my veins. Our team couldn?t help but rush the court and celebrate our 40-34 come from behind victory. For the first time in school history, we were Fresno Unified Middle School Champions.

Months later, Chandler and I entered the exciting world of high school. Something happened to our friendship during those first couple years. We began making new friends and finding different hobbies. We took different classes and talked less and less.

Despite what was happening in our lives, Chandler and I clicked on the basketball court; our love for the game united us together. Old memories would spring up and we would once again be little kids playing on the black top.

Our freshman basketball season was one that included many uphill battles because of changes in our team make-up that were outside our control. We no longer had the same championship team which we had in 8th grade. I remember when we lost one close game in particular. Afterwards, I broke down and started crying because I thought I had lost the game for my team. Although it was hard at times, it was nice to know that Chandler was battling with me. We had been best friends since elementary school and we were going to continue supporting each other no matter what.

Sophomore year ushered in a new era for us as we made our entry onto the coveted Varsity team. Chandler and I were young newbies who had to prove ourselves to the more experienced players. This team was made up of senior greats such as Landon Martens and my brother, Spencer Lee. They modeled to us a high standard of play and as well as an exceptional work ethic.

The experience we gained sophomore year would prove to be invaluable as we had to step up our game the following year. It’s not often that five juniors are slated as starters, but that’s the position we found ourselves in. With a young new coach and a vision for the future, we had high hopes for the season. However, our team struggled throughout the year and finished 1-7 in league. Despite this fact, we rallied together and made it to Selland Arena. The magnitude of this event was surreal. Never in our lives had Chandler and I played in this type of venue. Our team not only took home the D-V title, but we made school history by winning a state playoff game a week later.

Our passion was ignited going into our senior year knowing it would be our last. Not only did we have our returning starters, we would have some new strong players joining us. During one of our first practices we sat down and came up with a list of team goals. We wanted to win league, win Valley, win a statement game and play harder than every team we played against. Little did we know that this season would surpass our wildest expectations.

From going on a 21 game winning streak to defeating Caruthers on Senior Night, this season was beyond what we could ask for. Not only did Chandler and I get to experience another Valley Championship, we got to be a part of the winningest boys basketball team in school history.

Looking back, I realize that meeting Chandler in Kindergarten was a divine appointment; my life wouldn’t be the same without him. Though there have been bumps in the road we have become as close as brothers. Will we ever make it to the NBA? Probably not. Will we live in connecting houses with a gym in our backyard? I doubt it. But one thing is for sure, the memories we have made over all these years will always be with us. It’s been quite a journey, you might even say it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

For more information about boys’ basketball, read the March 12 article, Boys’ basketball sport shorts: FC ends journey with St. Bernard loss.

Chandler Vargas also contributed to this article.

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  • C

    Callista FriesMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I loved taking the constitution test! It was one of my best memories from eighth grade.

    Reply
  • A

    Annalise RosikMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    That’s my sister looking focused, trying to get a good grade on that test!

    Reply