Dame Mas Gasolina!
By Wendy Auxillou
How could I possibly say no to my youngest daughter’s invitation to watch her play in the National Primary School Basketball Competition held at the Civic Center over the weekend? After all, Bianca persevered, giving up her evenings even, to get a spot on the basketball team for Louisiana Government School, the elementary school she attends in Orange Walk Town. It doesn’t matter that she isn’t always in the starting five. Or the second half starting five. What matters most is that Bianca has a great attitude and great team spirit. I am so proud of my youngest daughter, especially because she knew nothing about basketball in September when school started, and yet has now made the team with just a few short months of practice. Pass up a chance to watch my daughter star nationally? NEVER!!
Around noon I got the call. “Mom, we’re here!”
Off I rushed to the Civic Center, digital camera with fresh Duracell batteries in hand. Such a momentous occassion certainly calls for its preservation somehow and I was not about to miss the opportunity. I raced up the stairway at supersonic speed and waltzed onto the compound, hoping to catch at least a glimpse of Miss Brilliant in action. (Her middle name is Brillante, which is Spanish for brilliant - a most fitting name for such an intellectually gifted child. ) To my delight, the basketball court was dizzy with young girls in orange uniforms, the color I knew to be that of Bianca’s school. These orange-clad bodies moved about so gracefully as they chased the ball, each other, and the other team’s green clad members. Right hand placed over my brow for better vision, I searched the swiftly moving characters on the court in search of my daughter. My panoramic scan soon found its target. There was Bianca Brillante, looking even prettier than Sporty Spice ever could...but she was not on the court. She was sitting on a bench!
I quickly made friends with my daughter’s teachers, her school friends, and the teachers and team from St. Alphonsus School in Seine Bight in the Stann Creek District. St. Alphonsus is the team my daughter’s school was currently playing. Mr. Godfrey Moreira of the school chatted with me proudly of his school’s success, a success that certainly left me mezmerized as I watched his baketball team flit like butterflies across the court, not in tennis shoes like the other teams were wearing, but instead in ballet shoes. Boy were they fast and nimble! Before long the game was over. The Seine Bight girls ended up beating the Orange Walk girls 22 to 18. Two loses meant your team was permanently out of the championships. Orange Walk had just lost its first game. It was at that moment that I realized I had not yet seen my daughter play. She was still sitting on the bench where I first met her.
“Don’t worry” said the coach, “she’ll play in the next game this afternoon at 3:00 p.m.”
“Yes, ma” replied Bianca, “I was nervous this morning but I will play in the game this afternoon.” Fast forward to Friday afternoon on this same really rainy day. I had since had to leave the Civic Center to perform chauffer duties to the other children - my two other daughters, my son, two of their friends, and two cousins, who were all dismissed from school at different times. Closer to four o’clock that evening, all eight of us, Bianca’s fan club, once again raced to the Civic Center to cheer little Binx’s team on, and once again hoping to get at least a glimpse of her on the court before the game was over. After all, its only once a year that we will get to see little Binx perform nationally like this. To our delight (and surprise), there was Bianca prancing around the court in her orange uniform. She was playing in the game!
“Go, Bianca, Go!” shouted Blayd Christopher at the top of his voice.
The Punta Gorda team they were playing against scored a basket while we watched. 12 to 8. The Punta Gorda team was now beginning to get the edge and were ahead by four points. Orange Walk was losing again.
Spurred on by Blayd Christopher’s cheer, Bianca spots us.
Then I see it... Bianca touches the ball!!! Now she is fueled by the energy emanating from her special cheering squad.
Just as she touches the ball one of the girls from the other team bumps into her.
“Foul!!” calls the referee.
Only four minutes to go before the game is over. Pressure. A lot is riding on Bianca’s little eleven-year-old Standard Five shoulders. She needs to score some points and reverse the guzzu (bad karma) on her team.
Bianca is now up at the free throw line. Two tries for Bianca signals the referee. We sit there wringing our hands while we hold our breaths waiting anxiously. We watch quitely but nervously as Bianca readies herself to shoot. Excitement and hope fill the air! She dribbles the ball looking like a pro, pauses for a second and then SHOOTS!
“Ohhhhhhh” exclaims the crowd.
Little Binx closes her eyes, and then bows her head to the floor as if to reflect and to regain her concentration. And to compose herself. I can see her lips moving as she mumbles something repeatedly to herself. Over and over again she repeats the same thing. Finally, she looks up to the basket as confident as ever.
The referee passes her the ball. Binx dribbles the ball once again, pauses, and then shoots!
One point for Orange Walk. Game is now 12 to 9!
“Yeah, Bianca, GO!! We know you can do it Biancs!!” The “guzzu” is now broken!
Although Binx was taken out of the game shortly after her turnaround scoring for her team, Orange Walk did go on to eventually win that game 14 to 12, and to live to play in the championships the following day.
Later that night while sharing a little private mother / daughter moment with Bianca, I wondered aloud to my daughter what words of encouragement she had mumbled to herself earlier that day on the court, words that would urge her to go on to score.
“Mom” she replied proudly but wistfully “I was just chanting .... dame mas gasolina! Necesito mas gasolina!”
Congratulations to the St. Alphonsus team from Seine Bight who eventually went on to win the with the National Primary School Female Basketball Championships. It was the boys from Westly Primary School that ended up with the title of National Primary School Male Basketball Champions. Thanks to all the schools and teams that participated and helped to make to it an excellent sporting event. I had a great time thanks to you.
Thanks to the National Sports Council, too, for organizing an excellent family event.
Questions or comments, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org