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If You'd Only Believe
By Faith Britton
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2009 Faith Britton
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Mommy, I'm home," said Maya, sucking her thumb and dribbling her basketball. "I thought I heard you bouncing your ball down the street," said her mom. "You know, Maya, it's a good thing that you have a backpack to carry your books in, because you don't have enough hands, between sucking your thumb and bouncing that basketball everywhere you go." "Oh Mommy, I don't take it everywhere." "Yes, you do, Maya; you take it to school, on vacation, and even when you're taking a bath, you sit it next to the tub. Bounce, bounce, bounce is all that your father and I hear around the house."
"Instead of bouncing the ball indoors, why don't you go outside and play a game with your brothers and their friends?" "They won't ever let me play because I'm not good enough and I'm a girl." "Do you know for a fact that's why they won't let you play? Or perhaps it's because you're always sucking your thumb. How can you play a game and suck your thumb at the same time? You're eleven years old, too old to suck your thumb. Why do you think you suck your thumb?" "I just like doing it," said Maya. "No, sweetheart, there is a reason behind everything we say and do, even if we don't know or understand it," said her mother.
"You're sucking your thumb because you don't have faith in yourself and your abilities as a person. This is knownas self-confidence, and everyone should have some. When you suck your thumb, it provides a particular comfort to you. You must know without a doubt and believe you're just as good as the next person. No one should have more faith in you than you have in yourself. Everyone has different talents and abilities; some are natural and some have to be developed a little more than others. Being a girl doesn't have anything to do with how good you are. Girls can do anything that boys can do, such as excel academically, become accomplished athletes, become polished musicians, and anything they set their minds to and work hard to perfect."
"Hey Miguel, can I play basketball with you guys?" asked Maya. (while sucking her thumb and dribbling her ball)? (They're all laughing) "Play with us? No way. Why would we want to play with a girl, especially one that sucks her thumb? Go away, you big baby. Don't you know basketball is for boys because we're smarter and better players? Yeah, go play with your baby dolls or go back to bouncing your basketball." "Get real, said Maya. Girls can do anything boys can do just as well and maybe better." "Only in your dreams," said her brother. "Aw, go on and leave us alone!"
"I'll show them; they're not all that. I'm just as good as anyone else. I can do anything that I set my mind to. I do believe in myself." Maya repeated this as she went to sleep while thinking about her brother's comments.
At school the next day, Maya was sitting on the bleachers, sucking her thumb, when her gym teacher, Mr. Sanchez, reminded the students of basketball tryouts at 3:00 PM. "Oh dear, I remember all of the posters and handouts at school stating basketball tryouts would take place today, but who am I kidding? I wouldn't stand a chance of making the team." "I expect to see you at tryouts today, Maya," said Mr. Sanchez. "But ... but ..." "No buts, Maya. Today in the gym at 3:00 PM." "Yes, Mr. Sanchez," said Maya. Everyone in the gym started laughing at the school bully, Manny, as he mocked Maya sucking her thumb. Manny said, "I know you're not going to waste your time trying out. This is the basketball team, not the baby thumb-sucking tryouts. Just do us all a favor and just go home." "I will definitely be there, Mr. Sanchez," said Maya.
"Maya, I know you're nervous, but all you have to do is be yourself, do your best, and give it your all," said Mr. Sanchez. "You don't owe that to me, but to yourself."
"Okay, Maya, you're up next," stated Coach Luu, the girls' basketball coach. After a few more sucks on her thumb, Maya stopped sucking on it and started dribbling her basketball. After her one-on-one and team drills, she finished with a layup. As Maya walked back to the bleachers, Coach Luu said a roster of those who made the team would be posted promptly at 4:30 PM. Maya just knew she hadn't made the team, so she started to walk home. Mr. Sanchez saw her and forced her back in to view the roster.
As Maya took another look at the roster, she crossed all of her fingers (except her thumb, which she was sucking). She couldn't believe it-the first name on the list was Maya Gomez, sixth grade. Next to her name was a note from Coach Luu stating, "Your layup was simply amazing. I would consider it an honor if you would teach your layup method during practice." "I knew you could do it, Maya," said Mr. Sanchez. "Thank you, Coach Luu and Mr. Sanchez," said Maya.
Maya ran all the way home without sucking her thumb or dribbling her basketball. She flew through the kitchen door, where her mother, father, and brother were eating dinner. "Guess what? Guess what? I made the basketball team and did a wonderful layup." "Congratulations, Maya!" said her family. "I'm proud of you," said Miguel. "Hey little sis, how about after dinner we play a game of one-on-one." "You want to play with me?" Maya asked. "Great, I would love to."
Yes, it's true; Maya was able to do anything if she first believed in herself. Great things can happen when you believe in yourself.
Excerpted from If You'd Only Believe by Faith Britton Copyright © 2009 by Faith Britton. Excerpted by permission.
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