Long Shot for Paul

Long Shot for Paul by Matt Christopher

Book: Long Shot for Paul by Matt Christopher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matt Christopher
1
    T hey were in the driveway — Glenn, Judy, and Paul — throwing the basketball to each other.
    Glenn saw that Paul caught the passes fairly well, but that he missed the hard ones. He would have to improve on his catching.
     The guys on the Sabers team threw the ball really hard at times. You had to in a game. And, if Paul didn’t learn to catch
     hard passes, as well as throw them, he might
never
be able to play with the Sabers.
    Just then Paul caught a pass that Judy had thrown far to his left. It seemed to surpriseeven Paul. His eyes popped wide, his mouth dropped open, and he laughed.
    “What do you think of
that
catch?” he cried.
    “Nice, Paul!” Glenn shouted, breaking into a laugh too. “Just keep your eyes on the ball!”
    Paul played volleyball at Moreland, the school for special needs children that he attended. That was why he was able to catch
     a ball fairly well. But Moreland did not have a basketball court. Paul had never played basketball, except here at home where
     he played most often by himself and with Glenn. Dad had built the backboard onto the garage only last week. It was then that
     Glenn had decided to teach Paul to really play the game. It would help Paul a lot to make friends, something he had too few
     of.
    Paul played mostly by himself, except when Glenn and Judy played with him. He even played with Judy’s dolls sometimes.
    “You don’t want to be a sissy, do you?” Glenn had once asked him. “Dolls are for girls, not guys.”
    Paul had looked at him with hurt in his eyes, and Glenn was sorry he’d said anything. He realized it would be wrong to make
     Paul give up something he enjoyed.
    They had learned Paul was developmentally disabled a long time ago, when Mom had taken Paul to a doctor to find out why he
     was so slow in learning anything. The news had struck Mom and Dad hard. Mom didn’t want to believe it for a while. She thought
     the doctor was wrong. So they had another doctor examine Paul and this doctor said the same thing that the first one did.
    After that things had become differentaround the place. For example, Judy used to yell at Paul for something he had done and he’d get so mad he’d run to her room,
     pick up her reading book, and tear out some of its pages. Glenn used to yell at him for doing things now and then too, such
     as taking that special model destroyer of Glenn’s without asking for it. Paul took this model, which was never meant to touch
     water, and set it afloat in the tub.
    Another time Paul had scrawled with colored crayon on the pages of one of Glenn’s schoolbooks. Asked why he had done it, he
     just shrugged. So Glenn yelled at him, and Mom yelled at him, and Dad was on the verge of putting him across his knees.
    After they had learned about Paul, Mom and Dad and Glenn and Judy didn’t shout at him as they used to. They had learned that
     Paul had to be specially taught to do things. He had to be taught discipline, good behavior,and manners. Everything had to be taught to Paul carefully and with understanding. For a long while things were pretty hectic
     around home.
    Between Moreland School and home, Paul had come along pretty well. He was thirteen now, and he was doing second-grade reading
     and arithmetic.
    After the idea had occurred to Glenn to teach Paul to play basketball, he had mentioned it to Judy. She thought it was great.
     So without saying a thing to Mom, they had gone outside and started playing.
    A chuckle sounded behind them. Glenn turned and saw Don Marshang and Andy Searles peering over the fence.
    “Those two rookies going to play with us, Glenn?” Don wisecracked. “Or just Judy?”
    “Just make sure you do all right, Mr. Marshang!” Judy answered before Glenn had achance to. “Or maybe a rookie
will
take your place!”
    “That’ll be the day,” Don said, and laughed. “Anyway, for a girl you throw pretty well, Judy. Too bad we can’t have girls
     on the team.”
    “You’re lucky you can’t,” Judy

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