Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ENVY (jealousy of another’s advantage) (02/12/15)
- TITLE: The Way Up Is Down
By JK Stenger
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
What! You’ve never heard of me?
I was afraid of that. All right, my name is Simon Striper from the Zealous Zebras. Yes, that’s right, the famous Zealous Zebras.
And I’m part of the team.
Well…actually, I’m on the bench. I never really play. It’s probably why you haven’t heard of me.
But I do know the stars.
I throw hoops with Milky White and Musty Jones. Marty Balone came to my house the other day for coffee.
You want a signed shirt? I can get it for you.
But let’s be honest—being a benchwarmer is no fun. Coach Underporch keeps me around for emergencies, but he has never yet needed me. And it’s tough.
I see the crowds going nuts when our team comes on the pitch. The cheerleaders dance, the people shout and there’s a rush of feverish anticipation and excitement. Everyone’s shouting for Musty, Milkey, and Marty. People even cheer for the opposing team, but never for me.
My name is never mentioned by the speaker and I’m never cheered. Last week they even misspelled my name on the bottom of the substitute list. It read, “Substitute: Simon Swine.”
Nobody noticed. I was so nauseous when I read it that I bit my tongue. Idiots.
The other day Balone said, “C’mon Simon. At least you’re making good money.”
Pfff! That’s easy for him to say. Money isn’t everything. I want to be like them. I want to be in the limelight too.
I am also a great player. Maybe I’m even better than the others. Did you see Musty mess up last week? He was no Zealous Zebra. He looked more like like an overage poodle.
I would want the fans to chant my name too. I dream about it at night. Simon Striper, take it, aleoop, Simon, take it to the hoop.
Milky did an interview the other day with Sports Illustrated. He was even on the cover with that stupid grin of his. But nobody wants to interview me.
Well…actually, I’ve been interviewed once. By some journalist for an unknown Christian publication called the Lord, or the Word. Can’t even remember.
You see, I am a Christian. I’ve been in the way for ten years, but I generally like to keep it to myself. Somehow this person found out about my belief and did an interview about faith and conviction in the world of basketball.
Probably nobody read it.
I am never going to be famous and it sucks.
Dear Mr. Simon Striper:
My name is Billy. I am ten.
I’m dictating this letter to my mother. You see, I’m very ill and can’t really write myself. The doctors say I’m dying.
I love basketball, and I love the Zealous Zebras. I never skip a game on TV.
But that’s not why I wanted to write.
My mother read me the interview you once gave in The Sword. It’s my favorite story. She read it to me five times already. You are a Zealous Zebra, but you also believe in God. That is so cool, Mr. Striper.
You know, I love Jesus too, but my faith is not as strong as yours. I will meet Jesus soon, but sometimes I’m a little scared. But knowing there are people like you, who put Jesus first in all they do, gives me courage. You are not famous, but you don’t mind. You just want to do what is right.
Thank you for encouraging me, Mr.Striper. I’m looking forward to meeting you in heaven.
My name is Simon Striper.
You probably never heard of me, but that’s fine. I am on the bench for a basketball team.
Which team? That’s not important. I never really play anyway, but I am happy just to be there, because it’s where I can do much good.
Helping is my mission. Caring for others. Making people happy. It wasn’t always like that, but just recently I realized it’s what God wants me to do.
I smile while I work, I sing while I’m at practice and whenever I can I help. The other day I came across a struggling family with a very sick boy. I could pay for some of their expenses. It was a small thing, but it helped.
I will never be famous or do great things, but I don’t care.
I am focused on heaven, and that makes life so wonderful.
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