Story:The Color of Fear; the Color of Hope
The lights, the furs, the atmosphere; it was all he had ever dreamed it would be and more. He was actually here! At the 2015 FBA Draft! All his hard years of work, his practicing after school, taking two jobs, never giving up on his dream, it had brought him to here. He had survived the stringent examination process that had cut the draft class to the small 68 this year. He made it through the grueling Combine, and had even done a couple of interviews! He had placed okay in the combine challenges, 27th overall, and 10th among forwards.This year’s draft class was guard heavy, so he should have no problem getting drafted with a second round pick. Even if he didn’t make it into the top 24. That still stung a bit to him. But he would prove them all wrong.
His mother had sent a package to his hotel room the night before the draft. In the package was a beautiful, pure white suit that contrasted perfectly with his colorful scales. It looked expensive, and A.C.wondered how on earth his mother could’ve afforded it. Between the two of them, there wasn’t much money because of his mother’s hospital bills. Maybe she saved up some money somewhere. When he tried it on, he found it fit perfectly; He had admired himself in the bathroom mirror. He had to admit, it did make him look quite nice and respectable. And now, tonight, wearing that splendid suit, here he was, looking around at all the other draftees, recognizing a few of them from Tweeter, or from the Combine, or having heard about them. Such as Françoius Martineau (Golden Retriever , G), Christine Harfurd (Puma, G), and who would not recognize the marbled polecat, Sterling Bengtzing (Marbled Polecat, C/F)?
He was able to spot Marcella (Glass-Winged Butterfly, G) sitting with the rest of the Florida Everglades University graduates who had entered their name into this year’s draft class. Florida had lost a lot of players to the draft this year. Too bad for them.
He wove his way between tables, apologizing whenever he accidentally bumped into anyone, and making sure that nothing spilled on his suit or dirtied it in any way. Finally, he made his way to the table, and took the last empty seat next to Marcella. As he chatted away in her half-spanish, half-english way of speaking, A.C. only half listened, nodding and responding when appropriate, so it did not seem like he was ignoring her. His true attention, was focused on the stage and podium from which the commissioner of the FBA would announce the names of the 48 furs who were to be drafted tonight by the 24 teams collectively known as the Furry Basketball Association.
He sat like that for a while, his eyes lazily darting around the room till, all of a sudden, the lights dimmed and the conversations across the room went silent. A.C. sat up straighter in his chair, as all attention in the room was turned to the figure walking across the stage to the podium. “Welcome to the 2015 FBA draft. I am deputy commissioner Nate Marcus…..” the figure, who A.C. now knew to be the deputy commissioner, spoke with a distinct southern accent, but his words were still clear, and able to be heard by all in the building.
After giving the speech about how thankful the FBA was for all these athletes to be here, and how they have all had such an amazing journey, and wishing luck to all of them, it came time for the first pick, by the Tennessee Moonshiners. A.C. gasped in surprise with everyone else when it was announced that they had traded it away to the Albany Alphas for 2 mil in cap space and the #2 pick. With their new #1 pick, the Alphas wasted no time in selecting Christine Harfurd, which came as little surprise to A.C. Harfurd had one of the top performances at the Combine, and in the two top 24 games. A.C. didn’t really expected that any team would try to reach for him with any of the top 24 picks, considering his rather lacking performance in the combine, and failing to make it into the top 24.
So he only half paid attention to the commissioner, instead, watching the other furs around him. He did this until the break was taken before the second round. Now it was time to pay attention. He was good enough to be picked up by any team as a second round pick. Then he would show all the teams and reporters what they missed.
But with each pick, as he didn’t hear his name, A.C. grew more and more desperate, more anxious. He wouldn’t go undrafted, right? No..he couldn’t! His scales began blurring their colors and his nervousness began messing with his focus. Luckily, it was too dark in the audience for anyone to notice much.
It was down to the last four picks. The Williamsburg Minutemen, Baltimore Spirits, Huntsville Mayors, and the Santa Ana Spectrums. These four were his last chance. His tail was lashings about behind him, luckily not hitting anyone.
He knew it would be a stretch for the Minutemen to pick him, considering their female bias that had become prevalent over the recent seasons. But any of the other three, he felt that he had a pretty good chance at being picked by. All three needed forwards, and A.C. was one of the few forwards left in the draft pool. When it was announced that Marcella, his fellow Florida Everglades grad, had been picked by the Minutemen, he congratulated her before she ran up on stage. He feel some genuine happiness for her, underneath the cloud of anxiety and nervousness of his current situation.
Next up, the Baltimore Spirits. Bad luck for A.C. on this one two. They went with with Hugo Flynn (Scaly-foot Snail, F/C). A.C. had to admit that it would have been unlikely that BAL had used their pick on him; the team was looking for bigfurs, not forwards or swingfurs.
That left only the Huntsville Mayors, and the Santa Ana Spectrums. Getting picked by either team would be an extremely turn for him. Both teams were coming off spectacular seasons, both had a strong forward A.C. could learn from, most pertinent to A.C.’s situation, both were in need of back ups at the forward position.
It would all come down to these last two picks.
When the Mayors picked Oswaldo Puga, it became one pick. One final chance at a contract. One last chance at being drafted. One last chance to fulfill that promise he made. It all came down to these final moments. When an individual has an experience of great stress or shock, often the brain will first counter it with denial. This serves to give the brain more time to cope, to deal with the stressful situation at hand, and figure out any potential resolutions or solutions.
That was exactly what was occurring with A.C. after the announcement that with the final final pick in the 2015 FBA draft, the Santa Ana Spectrums had chosen Pimwadee Tansiri (Betta Fish, F).
He was frozen at his table, unable to move, his muscles locked in place, as the furs around him applauded for the final pick. That was it. There were no more picks. A.C. had failed. He had failed his parents. He had failed himself. He had failed his promise. How!? How could this have happened? What had he done wrong?
So deep in his thoughts, his worries, his angst, that he did not notice the figure walking towards him.
He only took notice when the figure spoke to him.
“Hey there, A.C. it is, if I remember correctly?” A.C. glanced up and realized that he recognized both the voice and the figure who was the owner of said voice: Micheal Wregget; GM of the Lorain Firestorm, the only team who granted A.C. an interview during the combine.
“Um, yes sir, Mr.Wregget. It’s A.C. Did y-you need something sir?” he asked, even as a small wisp of hope rekindled in his heart. There could only be one reason why the GM of a team was coming over to talk to him, and A.C.’s little wisp of hope was fanned into a flame with Mr.Wregget’s response.
“I sorry to hear that you went undrafted. However, we here at Lorain would like to give you a chance. A chance to show everyone else what they missed out on. I would like to offer you a one year contract with Lorain. It will be formally written up later. I’m just here to let you know, don’t despair.” With that, he walked off and disappeared into the crowd.
Maybe things weren’t so bleak after all….