Young Brandon heaves a heavy orange ball that’s bigger than his torso. His stringy arms bend in and spring out. All of his might exerts and he falls forward onto his knees—the kind of fall that would bust any grown man’s knee caps, but barely scathes the light bodied youngster. Brandon looks up. The heavy orange ball catches the rim, lolling in a state of indecisive physics, then falls back to the ground. The impact on the pavement sounds like a mocking percussion to Brandon, meant to pound in failure through his ears. His father admires him from behind the screen door as he picks up the ball and tries again.
Years go by and Brandon graduates from High School. Brandon's father sits on the back steps, pensive, alone. He thinks of his son.
The ball floats two feet above the rim. Brandon catches it at the apex and drops his arms down like sledge hammers.
Dad scans the backyard where a heavy littering of bent rims and broken hoops rest. He touches his shirt pocket with Brandon’s acceptance letter from USC neatly folded inside.