OP-ED from the kid who got cut from his varsity basketball team to make room for a golden retriever

My name is Gerald Robinson and I was cut from my high school basketball team to make room for a golden retriever named Buddy, more commonly known as "Air Bud."

Junior year was already tough enough on me. My mom got really sick after dad walked out on us, so I had to pick up an after school job just to help make ends meet. Between that and having to cook dinner for my five little brothers and sisters, it was hard enough trying to keep up my grades.

Basketball was my only true joy in life, my passion. And it was my only hope at getting out of my current situation, the dream of going to college, any college really on a basketball scholarship was the only way I could make a better life for my family and break the cycle.

I had been training for years, devoting every free moment to shooting hopes, every spare cent for camps and clinics and team dues. Things were finally starting to turn around for me. I made Varsity my sophomore year and coach said I had a real future on his team. But I knew my Junior year would make or break my college potential, that I had to stand out so the scouts would take notice.

That's when he came along... 32 inches tall, 65 lbs, and the winningest Point Guard Fernfield High had ever seen. It didn't take long before Buddy completely overshadowed me on the court and took away my slot as team captain.

The worst part is, you're not even allowed to be mad at a golden retriever. Then you're the bad guy. He was the most popular kid in school overnight and all the girls thought he was the goodest boy. He even stole my girlfriend, Andrea, and took her to prom!

I lost everything because of that animal. I saw him eating his own poop one time in the locker room and nobody even cared. Then he humped my leg! People say that it's just because a dog, but he knew what he was doing. He even winked at me.

I don't know why I'm bothering to tell my story. That was 23 years ago. He's been dead for a century and a half in dog years. But as I sit in the destitute shambles of a life wasted, alcoholism, chronic homelessness and a black-tar heroin habit crumbling away my last shreds of human dignity, one name remains on my lips and with a smothered final breath, I whisper it out into the ether, "Bud."

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