Day 203: A Basketball Horse

A Basketball Horse
Matt Zurbo


Thane was a simple horse.
With one burning desire.
(Old horse in field.)

To be involved basketball.
(Horse in golden, long grass sunset field, with crooked basketball pole, torn netting, looking up at the hoop.)

After years of trying, Thane finally became the mascot for the Lilydale Lightening.
(Horse following nervous/annoyed kids half in basketball gear, half in school uniforms, from the bus stop.)

“This is fun,” he thought. “But it’s not enough.”
(Horse dressed with lightening on side, sitting in middle of clearly small town, amateur team’s photo.)

“I want something more.”
(Horse, standing next to man in lightening character suit, watching awkward kids play badly.)

When all the kids had gone home, Thane would practice his lay ups, three pointers, dribbling, defensive set-ups.

He would get Libby McBeth’s pigs to help him with his alley oops.
“Go, you good thing!” Boris would oink!
(Three pigs standing on top of each other next to old shed basketball ring. Top pig is on hind legs, underarm-throwing ball for horse to alley oop.)

“I want it so bad!” he would moan. Then sigh: “If only…”
(Horse sitting dejected on bail of hay, surrounded by concerned pigs.)
Thane was sure the world was not yet ready for a horse that could play basketball.

One day, though, the Lilydale Lightening were so close! Thane decided; “Enough’s enough!”
(Scores Lilydale two points down, 5 seconds left. Horse, front legs thrown wide with frustration as big opposition player has the ball.)

(Horse standing on hind legs, in way of big, cocky opposition player, who is now scared, turning over ball.)

(Horse shooting massive three-pointer on buzzer.)

There was nothing in the rule books about horses, so…
“The result….. stands!” yelled the ref.

(The opposition coach and players arguing furiously with ref while pointing to horse. Ref holding/pointing into rule book. Crowd all arguing with each other.)

Thane was a hit!
(Crowd swamping happy horse.)

Thane and the Lilydale Thunder went on to win the regionals.
(Horse, in team uniform, in leaping Michael Jordan slam dunk pose.)

With fame, Thane decided only hand-grown, organic grass was good enough for him. His water had to be filtered.
HE wanted to RIDE little kids.

But he never stopped training. In fact, that was all he ever did.
(Everybody else around the court sleeping, or watching, tired, wearing PJs, while horse is practicing by candlelight.)

Thane wanted the national championship so bad! He no longer cared about the people from his farm, or the animals.
(Horse, head high, walking on hind legs past pigs, on all fours, to get onto the team bus.)

It was heartbreaking for the pigs.
“But, but, we thought you were one of us!” Boris grunted.
(Pigs, in bus smoke, watching bus go.)

Lilydale Thunder made the playoffs. Thane went to his trailer for a rubdown, only to find Boris waiting for him.
(Horse on table, getting a rubdown by a fat Russian. Startled as pig watches from chair.)
“You’ve changed,” Boris said. “I don’t think you realise how much you’re success means to us.”

“When you play well, we’re all happy!”
(Pigs, standing (on all fours) or sitting, watching telly propped up in hay bails, as farmer is carting one of them over his shoulder to slaughter. Slaughter pig also watching horse play basketball on telly.)
“It’s like you’re trying for all of us.”

Thane felt guilty.
(Horse leaping to feet, wide-eyed angry/determined. Pig and trainer in awe.)
“That’s it!” he brayed. “I AM going to win the championship! And I’m going to do it for everybody back on the farm!”

But when they ran out to play the Mossman Gorge…
(Horse with team, but leaping back as other team has a massive crocodile on hind legs playing for it, with name Fred on its top.)

(Horse, wide-eyed with panic, throwing ball away as it runs away from chasing croc.)

(Just word, no image.)

Thane has no regrets. “There’s nothing wrong with ambition,” he says. “Wanting something more.”
(Horse with wooden front leg, and patch on eye, back on farm.)

“Thinking outside what people expect of you, that’s healthy,” he insists.
(Horse, back to all fours, talking and walking with other farm animals, including old and baby pigs, and farmer, casually strolling with them, animal over his shoulder for slaughter.)

Sometimes, while coaching the farm team, passing people say: “Wasn’t that horse a famous basketball player, once?”
Before deciding: “Nah, that was just a myth.”
(Horse using cabbage as a ball, hopeless team of pigs, ducks, etc…)

But Thane still knows that he gave it his all, and that’s enough.
(Horse playing on its own in the sunset.)



The End

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