My Brother’s Jersey

“My Brother’s Jersey,” New Era, Dec. 2012, 32

My Brother’s Jersey

Christopher N., Arizona, USA

It was a big deal when our high school basketball team advanced to the state championship game. Basketball was my passion; I was always looking for an opportunity to play in a game or shoot hoops with my friends. I was among the starting five my senior year.

We were in the locker room getting ready to warm up for the big game when I opened up my gym bag to pull out my jersey. My heart sank; where was my jersey? Did a teammate hide it? Was this some kind of joke? I looked around the locker room hoping someone’s body language or actions could confirm it was just a tease, but to no avail. Reality sunk in. I knew I had left my jersey at home.

My teammates started to realize something was wrong. Everyone’s attention was on me when I uttered the words, “I don’t have my jersey.” Months and months of practice and training were about to be washed down the drain because of my mistake.

Just as I was about to accept my fate, I heard a quiet yet familiar voice from the other side of the locker room. “Here is my jersey.” It was the voice of my younger brother. I could play after all! What a sacrifice for my younger brother to make as part of the championship team. Instead of being able to receive recognition for his hard work and practice, he sacrificed so that I could play.

My brother injured his knee the following year and was not able to play again during high school. He felt that he hadn’t accomplished much in basketball, but his sacrifice means so much to me.