H–” I counted off the first letter after the basketball skimmed the rim and crashed into the backboard, “— my shot!”
You always test your opponent at the free-throw line first.
We battled it out letter for letter. I matched his shots, and he matched mine. But I matched more, and in the end, it was me stomping out the victory dance of, “H.O.R.S.E.”
I must have spelled out that word to that celebratory dance 100 times that summer. That was our right of passage to proclaim yourself as King of the Court at the YMCA.