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Dec 15, 2017 - 03:30 AM

Slam Dunk Fanfic ~ Life after Basketball

by Rukie


It's been ten years since the Sannoh game. The most unforgettable game that I have played in my life. I can still remember every minute, every second of that game. And with me probably thousands of other basketball lovers.

Although we suffered a painful loss in the game after, the name Shohoku was heard everywhere in Japan. Every team had considered us as the team to beat, because they knew we played the best basketball, better than any other team.

We beat Sannoh. There are not many teams who can repeat after us.

Surely one cannot just say that we had in fact become champions, because we hadn't actually played against the other teams, but with that performance that summer, on August 3rd, we had become champions in the hearts of many people. It was widely said that the final had already been played on August 3rd; the champion teams had already met in that massive showdown.

In the winter tournament we managed to beat all the other Kanagawa teams. Even Kainan, the national runner-up of that summer. We missed captain Akagi in the center spot, but Hanamichi played a tremendous role being the center-forward in the team. However, I think Hanamichi had never really fully recovered from his back injury. He kept playing basketball for years, even in his college years. Of course. That's just how Hanamichi is.

And Mitsui-senpai and Rukawa are just unbelievable players. I still don't understand how much the game is really in their veins and every bit of their bodies. I think Hanamichi is also very talented, especially by his athleticism, but Mitsui-senpai and Rukawa are so extraordinary. They have a sight on the game like no other.

Actually, I was a little surprised that they took my leadership as the new captain so easily. They treated me and respected me as their team captain.

As individual players we had all grown stronger. We had created the "Shohoku play" and the fans loved it. But our team lacked a true center player. I'm certain that we would have won the national title if captain Akagi was still in the team. Deep in my heart I like to believe that everyone wanted us to win the national title. But the district title was the highest achievement that we had accomplished.

Rukawa went to The States during his second year of university here. In ten years he has developed himself a lot and has become the pride of Japan by becoming a NBA player. It's impossible for a Japanese guy to become the best player in the NBA. But for some strange reason I'm waiting for the miracle that Rukawa has managed to create time after time. I've always been very sure that it's not the talent that got him so far, a lot of people have talent, but it's his endless effort, his ever desire to become stronger and simply his complete dedication to the game... Every single day. And I really mean every single one.

Mitsui-senpai never left Shohoku High. He passed the university intake exams, but he decided to stay. He first became assistant-coach and when Anzai-sensei retired he replaced him under strong recommendations of sensei himself. He would personally recruit players from junior highs and convinced every single one of them to join Shohoku. I remember I joined his training for one week a few years ago, just for fun. At moments I truly felt he was a brilliant coach being able to stimulate, motivate and bring up the best in every player. He managed to keep Shohoku in the top of Kanagawa ever since.

Last week I heard that the school board had decided that the no. 11 and 14 jerseys were not to be worn again. Although some players had worn them in the meantime, these numbers officially belong to Rukawa and Mitsui-senpai forever.

Captain Akagi, Hanamichi and I adore basketball but I think neither of us comes close to the way Mitsui-senpai and Rukawa do. To them there seems nothing more to life than basketball. Senpai once said if he hadn't played basketball for three days, he would feel like he was dying; I know he was not exaggerating, basketball is simply the love of his life.

Today is the big reunion to celebrate Shohoku's 50th anniversary. I heard that Rukawa will be back in Japan to attend the anniversary party, so I'm sure there will be a big media circus around the school. Rukawa has enjoyed popularity since junior high and it has only grown to massive proportions ever since. Traveling all the way back to Japan for the reunion is his way of showing gratitude to the school I think. Although he specially thanked Anzai-sensei in an interview, he still isn't a man of many words; that hasn't changed at all.

I can't wait to see the others and relive those glorious days with them. Maybe we'll play a little reunion match too.

I don't play basketball like I used to do anymore. I think I found life after basketball.

Back then I couldn't have imagined that there could be life without playing ball every single day. I remember my highschool days as yesterday: the trouble we would get ourselves into with the fights, the stress of the exams every semester and of course the trainings after class.

But I think I've always had another love of my life. Right from the start I already knew that I could never love another. She took my heart away, at the very first sight.

We play basketball for many reasons, mostly because the game is just in our veins. Our hands start itching when we come close to a ball. If you think about it, it's pretty sick, or what some may call: an addiction.

But she... She had made me want to play ball even more. Every time I delivered a nice pass I could hear her cheerful voice from the sideline. Her voice was my force; she made me want to grow stronger and become faster.

I had always wanted to tell her that I loved her, no matter what. And strangely, I slowly came to a point that I didn't need her to love me back. I think I had passed the desire to have her love in return. I remember the days that I would drive myself crazy thinking about whether she liked me or not, and what I should do to have her liking me.

But then I came to that point that I just wanted to see her smiling every day, whether it was for me or not.

And that was the start of the time that we drew closer. And we got so close that we didn't want to let go of each other anymore. The day that she said 'yes' to me is the most beautiful day of my life.

Ten years later I still love her with all my heart. I know that I will never love another like I love her. I know one should never say 'never'. But for some things there simply are no explanations. You just know.

I found my life after basketball and that life is with you, Ayako.


THE END