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Thread: Rise & Conquer V | Shiki No Uta [Song Of The Seasons]

  1. #11
    2X WFF AWARD WINNER The JZA's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Canada View Post
    mans aint ready
    They need to be!
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    You're an O.G. for the plug bro
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  2. #12
    2X WFF AWARD WINNER The JZA's Avatar

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    Chapter 1: Opportunity of a Lifetime


    The final buzzer ranged loud in the University of Cincinnati. The die hard students, the players, the coaches, the arena was buzzing with optimism and positivity after a good Midnight Madness. I felt bashful, standing center stage, with all the riot of joys surrounding me. I’ve never been around so many people that had the dreams and goals in one room. The band playing, getting everyone more lively. It was exhilarating just viewing the spectacle.

    “Yeah, baby! That’s what I’m talking about! I’m hyped for this season!” Gary Clark was exuberated with excitement for the season to begin. As we make our way back into the locker, Clark looks at me, “What’s wrong Son Johan? You’re not amped for the season?”

    I cracked a smile retorting, “Of course I am, I’m just taking it all in. This is really happening for me.”

    Clark threw his arm around my neck, dragging me along, “Get used to it buddy, we got big plans for you this season!”

    “Is that so?” I replied. “And who told you this?” Clark just gave off a smug, tapping his temple. “I know these things boy, trust me. You’re a very unique player, very unique indeed. And people are going to want to see you on display.”

    I took in what he said, hesitant for a moment. Clark extends his belief, “Have faith my boy, you a sight to see as long as you believe in your-self. You’re here for a reason.”

    “I don’t know Gary, I don’t think I’ll be good with this kind of pressure.” Clark shows off a big smile, “You’ll be great man. Just do your thing this season bro. Come on, let’s get out of here.”
    Last edited by The JZA; 10-26-2017 at 10:32 AM.

  3. #13
    2X WFF AWARD WINNER The JZA's Avatar

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    Chapter 1-1: The Prelude


    Making it back to the dorm, after a nice shower to relax my nerves from all this excitement, I immediately crashed for the bed. Kind of tired, but I knew I couldn’t sleep… Not with the things on my mind. My mood suddenly changed, looking back on life. “it’s been four years mom and dad…”

    -Flashback-
    Growing up in Oakland, California was hard. Living the lower-class life, the struggle was real. My Mom, both a veterinarian and telemarketer. Making ends meet by any means. My Dad, a construction worker, being laid off from one job after another, it was hard times for him. He kept a smile on his face, believing me not to worry, but sometimes I’ve noticed the alcohol bottles my mom exports out of the house onto the curb with the trash. I remember days doing my homework in front of the T.V., seemed like every other week somebody’s child was on the news after being shot and killed.

    -Flashback-
    I was 12, just before my birthday in February, my parents and I moved to Akron, Ohio. My Dad got a big job offer, giving us a better life. My mom returning back home also meant being close to family, family I’ve never had a chance to meet yet. I was doing so well in school, my education advanced, skipping grades. Life became interesting the moment I got registered for school at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. Once a upon a time, LeBron James use to run up and down these hallways.

    -Flashback-
    Graduation Day. At the tender age of 15, I was quickly leaving St. Vincent-St. Mary HS just as quickly I came. Graduating with a 4.0 GPA, as well as taking online college course for the last two years, I was on top of my academics. Getting my name called up first, rewarded with a diploma, following up with a quick speech to my fellow classmen, it made my Mom and Dad proud. I was proud. We celebrated with a night out on the town. My Dad had got a promotion, and my Mom was back to being a vet. Life was good, so I thought. That fateful night, on our way back home, a drunk driver T-boned our Sadan onto the curb and slammed us into a tree. Dad died on impact of the crash. My mom, they did everything they could do. In 24 hours, I’ve lost both my parents.

    -Flashback-
    Living with my maternal grandmother in Cincinnati, I started hanging with the wrong crowd. Racking up misdemeanors, staying out late, just plain bad news. My only safety net was never doing drugs. But my grandmother was fed up with my ways. And she wasn’t getting any better with her health failing. So I decided to get my act together. It was a long process in the turn around to gain her trust in me again, but accomplished. I was working a part-time job, where I met my then girlfriend, Kerry. That didn’t lasted long. About a year and half later, I started taking education serious again, started looking into schools. University of Cincinnati was sound bet. Close to home and my grandmother. At 17, I was a freshmen there.
    I grabbed the ball laid next to me, lightly tossing the ball in the air. I think back to try outs at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Made the cut, but mainly rode the bench. Still, I made some friends during practice, and we would play pick up games during the weekend. Playing Horse, 21, 3-V-3, we played whatever that would kept us developing.

    Bucky, a little on the heavy set side, but his frame was built for a 6’4”. Strong in the paint, had a charm with the girls at school.

    Arthur, aka Picasso. He was the one on our team, both in park games and school regulations. He had everything from passing, to shooting, to defending. He was going to be the next LeBron James. His game was art, masterful. He made everyone look good. It wasn’t until he came down with a bad case of pneumonia that took his life.

    Me, being 5’8”, I was the exception, being very skilled with ball. Not particularly in shooting, but being a general on the court with my friends.

    “Man, those was the old good days, missed you guys.”

    I hear my phone vibrating on the window pane next to my bed. I was so caught up in reminiscing; I didn’t noticed I had a bunch of messages. One stood out of them all was a DM from Scott.

    “@BearcatsBlog: Hey, this is Scott, host of the Bearcats Blog Cast. Saw you on the floor tonight for the madness. Looked good out there. Liked to have you on the podcast this Wednesday if you’re available.”

    “@SonItsJMac: Yeah sure, lets do it.”

    “@BearcatsBlog: Cool, afternoon sounds good?”

    “@SonItsJMac: Yeah, I’m with it. I’ll be there.”
    “Big plans for me huh”, I thought to my-self.

    Only 19, I’m in the stages of opportunities and choices. They come plentiful for some. I know first hand from the consequences that followed. Academically, I never knew what to follow up on. I had no real ambition for the business world. I knew I’d manage something, probably a office job at some firm or something, but it never sat on the front of my mind. Basketball on the other hand, it’s been there for me. Help got me through rough times after my parents. One thing I knew for sure, I wanted to do something with this ball. But I never knew if I’d have that certainty of opportunity.

    “I hope you’re right Gary, hope you’re right…"

  4. #14
    Stand On Guard For Thee Captain Canada's Avatar

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    Tragic intro but incredibly well written. Enjoying this already. Excited for more.

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  6. #15
    hi Agent's Avatar

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    Are you mugen or jin

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  8. #16
    Cheat Code Scars4Life's Avatar

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    5'8" player and it's a JZA chise


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  10. #17
    Jimmy G / Zaddy C-Dub's Avatar


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    from Oak-Town

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  12. #18
    2X WFF AWARD WINNER The JZA's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Canada View Post
    Tragic intro but incredibly well written. Enjoying this already. Excited for more.
    Thanks money, preciate it
    Had many choices to pop the cherry, but I didn't want to write something bland or something I felt I written before.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    Are you mugen or jin

    Quote Originally Posted by Scars4Life View Post
    5'8" player and it's a JZA chise


    Quote Originally Posted by C-Dub View Post
    from Oak-Town
    My first player-chise from the West Coast homie

  13. #19
    2X WFF AWARD WINNER The JZA's Avatar

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    Chapter 1-2: Bleach – Opening 9


    First real game of the season was approaching fast. Practices have been positive for me, seeing some improvements in some areas. We were still battling for string spots, but I had a feeling the coach knows what direction he wants to go with his group. Just a couple of short days, I find my-self making my way to the A/V room, where the Bearcats Blog Cast is held. I had enough time before practice began to start for the day, to see what these guys wanted to talk about.

    As I walked in the room, I was approached by guy in a Bearcats hoodie, assuming he would be. “Hey, I’m Scott. I presume you’re Johan?” he extended his hand for a handshake, as I complied with one.

    “Yeah, how you doing?” – “I’m great man, thanks for stopping by with us.” – “Sure thing.”

    We sat down at the booth and hopped right into the podcast. After some time discussing things, all things related to the changes to the school life of student-athletes, we got to the meaty part of the show.

    “Alright, so you’re a junior here at University of Cincinnati, but this’ll be your first season playing in uniform for the program. Mind telling us just who is Johan McGrady?” – “Well, I’m originally from Oakland, California. Several years ago, my late adoptive parents and I moved out here to Akron. I kept a low profile since coming to U.C., uh, had some personal things going. One thing for sure is basketball has been an intricate in my life, which is ultimately why I’m here.

    “Okay, so as a Junior, why not make the team in your freshmen year?” Scott asked. I momentarily paused before answering, “Well, two reason. One, I wasn’t heavily scouted coming out of St. Vincent-St. Mary HS” – “Oh, you went to school LeBron graduated from?” – “Yeah, graduated there top of the class. Other reason, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, what I wanted to make of my life. Just at 17, the average teenage boy, isn’t really thinking about that. But I grew up fast, so I thought. But mainly, because I’ve always had very good academic grades, I might’ve thought to pursue a life-long career.”

    “Alright, so how’d you find success making the team as walk-on? Not many spots to go around.” – “I guess you can say I was a “recruited walk-on”, so to speak. Just playing pick up games at the park over the summer last year, playing with some of the teammates already on the roster. One of them being Gary Clark. Um, he referred me to Coach Mick Cronin. I forgot how exaggerated he [Gary] was in his pitch to Coach, but in the end, it seemed to work out.”

    “What do you mean by exaggerate? Of course you’d have to have some asset to be on the team though. For Mick Cronin, he’s turning things around for the program. So what would it be to gain traction with him?” – “It wasn’t an exaggeration of detail, just the way he went about it I suppose. But definitely, I had gone through some preliminary set up by Coach, went out there and performed. To some merit, I must’ve impressed him enough.”

    “Right, but you didn’t make the team until “this” season. So what was last year about?” – “I guess you can say it was a “verbal interest”, if that’s how I can sum it up without sounding under the table. He recommended I take a year and train my-self. Condition, try to bulk up some. I was very skinny compared to what I am now haha.” – “So you’ve gone through that, where do you stand now?” – “Over the past few years, I’ve shot up to 6’6”, I grew a whole 10 inches, and it made me look very linky. I’m still very undersized for my height and position at 160lbs. Like, there’s two other guys on the team that weighs the same as me, but they’re not as tall. So theoretically, I’m with the short stick on body framing.” – “It could work out for you, you never know” – “You’re right, absolutely.”

    “Alright, so where do you see your-self in the upcoming weeks of basketball for the team? Do you have an idea what role you’ll have?” – “Not the slightest clue. One thing though, apparently, I’m supposedly invested in. I won’t release any details on that, cause I too, have no idea on what is meant by that. Colleague of mine, just happen to utter some words that has me interested.” – “ Would that colleague happen to be Gary Clark?” – “Just a colleague. No names, no controversy.”

    “Alright, well, that’s all the time we have for this segment. I do appreciate you Johan for stopping by and sitting down for the blog cast.” – “For sure man, any time. Was my pleasure.” – “I wish you good luck on your season with the Bearcats, who you guys will open up the season hosting the Michigan State Spartans.” – “Thanks, I hope this season be great for all of us.”

    And with that, I shook hands with Scott one last time and made my exit. "That wasn't as bad as I thought.", blurting to my-self. I looked at my watch, seeing I had about a good 35 minutes to spare and get to practice. I made good on it, heading that way to the gym to get ready and prepped.

  14. #20
    2X WFF AWARD WINNER The JZA's Avatar

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    Chapter 1-2.5: Better Man Wins


    Practice was over, I was exhausted. With the new NCAA practice rules, Coach Cronin has been pushing us over the limit to some extent. But we’re getting results. We have Michigan State then Kansas, so we have to be ready for a strong start.

    -Whistle blows- “Alright guys, bring it in… Good job today, you guys are really coming together and looking more ready for the season. I know some of you guys here are new, some are your final year. But understand this, I don’t want you guys to change anything with how we’ve been working. The same intensity and fluidity you’ve guys displayed in here in practice and scrimmages, I want you to play the same way against our opponents. Nobody here gets rattled. We play our game. Think of this season as practices with other programs. You work hard, play hard, and we get to the big dance, that’s where we make our move. Until then, I want us to focus on the importance of playing as a focus. Let that be our core integrity. That being said, I will break you guys into units for the first games of the season to see how we match up and see our strengths and weakness as a core group.”

    The looked around and the whole squad was locked in on Coach’s words, anticipating who’ll be starting and reserving. For me, I lacked the confidence to even believe I could start or come off the bench strong. I was just happy to be a part of the team.

    “When I call your name, step out here to my right… Sam Martin… Cane Broome… Jacob Evans… Gary Clark… Kyle Washington…” All the names called, stepped to the right of Coach Cronin. “These are the starting five who will open the season for us. When I call your name, please step to the left of me… Justin Jenifer… Jarron Comberland… Tre Scott… Mamoudou Diarra… Nysier Brooks… You lot are unit #2.”

    I looked around from the previous ten picked players, there were four others with me that stood out from being called.

    “Now, I shouldn’t have to tell you two squads that you’re more than just basketball players, you’re more than just students here.” Coach Cronin then turns his attention to the non-selected lot of us, “And I certainly don’t have to tell you kids that your opportunities and dreams are never to be squandered.” Coach Cronin addresses his eyes specifically on me, emphasizing something more to be foretold.

    “Most importantly, you guys will need to bond and build a pack. It’s not about just basketball, putting a ball through an iron. It’s about trust, faith, confidence, learning each other as human. For some of you, your futures are star bright. For others, you are the future. But here, you’re family. And that will makes us all stronger than ever. Bring it in, and lets have the best season we ever had. On three.”

    “1! 2! 3! Bearcats!”

    As we clapped it off, some of the guys went back to continue shoot arounds, while others headed back to the locker room. I stayed out in medium, sitting on the bench for a bit, wondering if I’ll play this season. Being a walk-on isn’t exactly the greatest exposure.

    “Hey man, what’s up” Gary sat next to me, handing me a Gatorade. “You good bro?” – “Yeah, I’m good man.” – “You ready for this season, I got a feeling it’s going to be big.” – “I don’t know, you think I’d get to play?”

    Clark looked at me perplexed, as if I said something of blasphemous. “Hell yes I believe you’ll be playing!” – “Well, you’re highly confident.” – “Well, I did put you on my-self didn’t I? Look man, this is how Cronin does his thing. It’s just a starting base. Players get injured, don’t perform up to task, slots changes.”

    I thought about it, “Two other guys were selected over me and-“ Gary cuts me off, “And I know that you’re better than them, personally. Come on, we got two other point guards here right? Both of them are 5’10”, you’re 6’6”. I don’t know what kind of panda food you’ve been eating, but coach sees a better build in you. You have the skill set. I think you're more ready than any of the guards here. Just show consistency when your time comes and have faith bro.” – “Okay, I hear you man.” – “We’re family, we got each other back from here on out.” – “For sure. You going to stick around for some shots Clark?” He gets up, giving me a pound, “Nah, I got to run. I got some people to catch up with.” – “Okay bro, take it easy.”

    I sat a little longer, watching the court thin out a bit, some players started to leave. I decided to put up a few more sets of shots before heading out my-self. One thing is for certain, I won’t get better sitting on the bench. Though nobody ever knows how good they are until they’re pitting in the fire, but I need to take advantage of every practice.

    After some shots started to fall in continuous succession, I garnered the attention of Coach Cronin for a bit. Moving to my next set of shots, he told me to keep shooting. I used that little motivation to finish my set of 50 shots, making 28 of them. I was never a good shooter, but I was feeling it. With the season coming shortly, I wanted to be as ready as I can be…
    Last edited by The JZA; 10-27-2017 at 5:33 AM.

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