"She said that most of all girls should learn to be good losers,"
"She said that?"
"That's what she said."
"What does it mean?" I said.
"I don't know what it means," Pete said, "but you got to sort of ease into these things. We don't want to antagonize anybody."
And I knew that nothing was different. All that nodding meant Pete was exuding his fog and the brand of ball we were going to be playing was going to be firehouse all the way. We were going to run everybody to death....
"Let's go," Pete said. "It's time for practice." And we went up the stairs and out into the gym to meet the girls.
I'll admit I was a little scared. I can talk to girls O.K. under ordinary circumstances, but there were at least 20 of them out there and I had the feeling that Pete and I might be in over our heads. Then we stopped and watched.
The first impression I got was that they were all walking around. One of them would take a shot—and it was always the same kind of shot, a two-hander from about 10 feet—and then she would almost fall over. The ball would miss the basket and the backboard. Another girl would go and pick up the ball, bring it back, and hand it to the girl who was shooting. If they didn't miss completely, the ball would hit the backboard like a rock and rebound to midcourt. I watched for quite a while and I didn't see anyone make a shot and I only saw two passes.
Pete had that sort of stony look he gets sometimes and I said, "We got a lot to do," and he said, "You better believe that, but at least we start even; none of them can do anything."