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Chapter 1: The Players

At least this would be the last hop to Jackson Hole...hole...going to some hole in the ground. Lazelle’s ears hurt from all the up and down—flying from Detroit to Lincoln to Denver. He opened his mouth. Tried to yawn—nothing. He snugged the earphones of his iPod back into place, pulled his black hoodie over fresh-braided cornrows, slid down in the chair and waited for his section to be called.

Lazelle checked out the other boys in his group, thinking. Man, who are these guys they stuck me with. Why do I have to spend a month in the mountains with them? Bunch of thugs. What did Coach Long get me into, anyhow? Says I got to get my grades up so I can play for his high school.

And look at that white girl over there. Shiny blond hair hanging down to her butt. Rings on all her fingers. Toe nails all perfect and matching her lipstick. That’s who I would be in school with if I transfer and end up playing for Coach. Imagine her cheerleading for me. And here’s her looking at us like she just found a fly swimming in her latte frappucino. Well, we got a right to be here too, girl.

“Omigosh!” Mackenzie whispered into her cell phone. “There’s this bunch of black guys in our boarding gate looking like the cast from a street-gang movie.”

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