After an uneventful evening that was mostly occupied by Andrew practicing his jumpshot with a slightly-less-than-inflated basketball, he returned to his room to find Dooby already asleep. Being as quiet as possible, he slipped into his own bunk, thankful that Dooby, as cool as he seemed, wasn’t awake to call him a fag.
The next morning, Andrew awoke to an empty room. After ignoring a text from his mom and applying a liberal amount of Axe body spray to his body in lieu of a shower, he straggled down to the cafeteria on the first floor of the residence hall. There he found a large amount of preteens like himself, many of them unsure of where to sit and sitting at awkward distances away from each other. Others had already formed into cliques, perhaps comprised of teammates or friends from past camps.
After acquiring a tray of unappetizing pancakes, Andrew was feeling like part of the first group until he saw Dooby waving frantically at him. Dooby was sitting with a few boys who all looked older than Andrew.
“Here’s the fag I have to share a room with!” Dooby announced as Andrew sheepishly set down his tray and sat down at the circular table. “But he’s a cool guy once you get past the fact that he likes to touch guy’s dicks.”
“Doobs, you didn’t tell us that you got stuck in a room with Andrew Wiggins!” one of his friends exclaimed. “I heard all about him. Ten seconds on the court with this dude and you gonna be wishing you was at home suckin’ on a dick instead of getting embarrassed in front of all your buds.”
Andrew shrugged his shoulders. “I’m pretty good, I guess,” he said through a bite of rubbery pancakes.
The conversation halted for a moment as a counselor, different from Brad, walked by, wishing them a good morning. They all mumbled responses and waited for the man to get out of earshot.
“So you’re telling me that I’m rooming with some kind of baller god and the first thing I did was call him a fag?” Dooby asked rhetorically. “I hope that doesn’t go in your autobiography, dude. ‘List of people who doubted me’, I’m in for sure.”
“I’m not much of a writer, so you’re good,” Andrew responded, getting laughs from the group.
The first practice was not quite as bad as Andrew had predicted, but it was close. Several campers had somehow forgotten their basketball shoes and had to sit out while the shoes were delivered by their parents. The first drill was standing in place and dribbling a ball with each hand; as Andrew lazily did this for minutes on end, his comrades were busy chasing after balls dribbled off their own feet. Dooby was nearby, faring better than most but still seeming to exert a lot of mental energy on the task.
After a number of additional dribbling exercises, Andrew leaned over. “This is retarded. When do we start playing, you know, games?” he asked Dooby.
“Usually for the last two hours of the day, but not on the first day,” Dooby replied. “Today they’re trying to separate out the total retards so that, when they assign teams, all the tards don’t get put on one team.”
“Tards like that guy?” Andrew asked, nodding his head at a boy a few paces away who looked like he was about to cry with frustration while attempting, and failing, to dribble the ball between his legs.
Dooby nodded. “Like him.”
They were interrupted by an announcement from a counsellor with a megaphone. “I’m sure you’re all tired of dribbling by now -” This truism was cheered by most of the campers. “So we’ll be walking through and giving you each a number. That’s the number of the layup line you’re in.” There were some groans from boys who thought they were above layup lines, Andrew included, but he didn’t say anything when he was handed a slip of paper with the number “5” written on it.
Andrew’s earlier statement about “everybody missing wide-open layups” started to look stunningly prophetic just minutes into the drill. It was painfully clear that this camp had been marketed at athletes of all skill levels, and that layup line #5 had ended up with a lot of boys on the bottom rung of the skill level ladder. Another pang of annoyance aimed at his mother went through Andrew’s brain. By the time lunch rolled around, he was already forming half-baked plans of pretending to be sick and spending the whole rest of camp staring at the underside of Dooby’s bunk.
Andrew was glad he had somewhere to sit at lunch. There were still a lot of kids who were sitting by themselves. Andrew knew that his reputation would give him the clout to make friends with whoever he wanted, but hanging out with Dooby by default was a lot easier. Maybe Brad had been right, Andrew thought. Maybe they WOULD text the whole summer.
Over hamburgers of dubious origin, lunch was spent making fun of the other campers and discussing who among the female counselors was most likely to be a lesbian. Just as a consensus was reached that the one with the short hair was probably into chicks, they were all herded back into the gym.