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Greatest of All Time

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Have you ever wanted to be as effective on the baseline as Kobe Bryant? Have you ever wanted to throw passes as accurate and good as Tom Brady? Have you ever wanted to blast past defenders as successfully as Lionel Messi? Have you ever wanted to be the Greatest Of All Time?

Most people believe that skill comes from thousands of hours of training. They couldn't be more wrong. Training can only take you so far before you're lost in a well of all the other followers in top tier leagues. That is, if you even manage to reach one. However, those who want to be truly great, remembered for the remainder of history, their jerseys hanging from the rafters of arenas of their respective teams know what they must do to acquire impeccable athleticism and skill.

A ritual of sorts, providing you with the skill, athleticism and luck to become an amazing player in your sport exists. The roots of the ritual are quite unknown, and so is the ritual itself despite how easy it is to initiate it. The steps are as follows:

1. Acquire a ball. This ritual only works on team sports, and one must bring a ball used to play a team sport otherwise nothing will happen. The ball that you bring will determine which game is played, a basketball will initiate a basketball game, a football will initiate a football game, etc. It is however recommended to bring a basketball, as the sport requires the least players which increases your chance of victory. The reason will be explained later.

2. Find a playing field. You can bring a basketball to a football field, the organizers will know what you mean.

3. Hold the ball with both of your hands as tight as possible and stare at it. Then say the following in any tone you like, the ones in charge of running this game will hear you no matter how quiet you are.

If I cannot be great, I do not want to play.

I offer my greatest treasure in return for skill.

One more thing, do not pick the sport you are best at unless it's the one that requires the team with the least amount of members. No matter how good you think you are, the ones you'll be going up against are better than you in every game by an extreme amount.

If you did all the aforementioned correctly, your eyes will close and you will no longer control your body. Don't worry about this, nothing will hurt you just yet. After approximately five to ten minutes, you will sit down and regain control over yourself. Upon opening your eyes, you will notice that you are in an extremely luxurious locker room. The locker room will stretch hundreds of meters, and every single chair within it will be occupied.

The occupants will range from humans, legends of the sport, your loved ones, to spider-like creatures, to snakes and even beings you have never seen before. Several theories exist about the origins of these creatures, some say they are demons considered too pure by the devil and punished by an eternity to play for desperate humans, some say this is purgatory for athletes. At the end of the day, it's all speculation, and at the end of the day, they all share two common traits. No matter what species they are, they all have two arms and two legs covered in deep, open wounds. Their height is also always in the range of 6'8" and 7'2". As you pass them, they will look at you with the most desperate facial expression they can muster, as if they want to play for you as much as they want their wounds to heal. They do.

Now, assuming you picked basketball, you must pick five "players" to go out with you. Four are up to you, but it is absolutely necessary that you find a person who you consider to be the one you love the most. It's a possibility that you will see several, maybe your wife and father will be sitting next to each other. If you can't decide which one you love more, you must dig your hand into a wound on their body as deep and as forceful as possible. Their wound won't expand, they won't even react. But pain will jolt through your body, and the person whose wound hurts you more is the one you love more.

Pick them by patting their shoulder. The look of sorrow and desperation will immediately be replaced by one of excitement and joy as they begin to change into their all white attire. After that is done, pick your other four players. Upon completion of your team, you are to return to your locker and change into your own jersey. At this point, your five teammates will head out the door and you must follow them onto the court. The opposing team consists of five identical copies of you, donning all black jerseys. Their bodies have no injuries and no wounds. You will find yourself standing inside an arena filled to the brim with fans, and if you are lucky, they'll be wearing all white, supporting you and your team.


In this game, you are an extremely special player, for two reasons. One is that you are both the coach and the player. Calling plays will prove useless as your teammates are already much more skilled, much more athletic, much more intelligent and much stronger than you are. Well, your copies are. Your job as the coach is to motivate your players to keep going. Everyone in your team loves you and will do anything in their power to make sure you walk away victorious. Try not to be tough on them if they miss a shot, they're doing their best and will be extremely disappointed if you do not recognize them. Hell, they may even start scratching at their open wound. Why?

For the duration of this five hundred minute game with no pause (regardless of what sport it is, it's always 500 minutes long) you will be feeling the pain that they have been and will be suffering for an eternity. Your opponents will have no problem with digging their hands into your teammates' wounds, and the referees will not call a single foul. On the bright side, no one's game will be affected by this as they can't feel it, but on the other end, you will feel all of it.

This is where your loved one comes into play. They are the only person you can take out of the game and can sub yourself in. For the duration of the time you're playing, they will be feeling the pain instead. Keep in mind, however, that you're in a place where every single player is about five times better than the best player you have seen. You'll be stripped of the ball, blocked, shoved to the ground. You will be useless. Your teammates don't speak your language, they don't come from the same place that you do, not even those who appear to be human, but if you look in their eyes you will see that they support you and are not angry no matter how much you mess up.

The only way for your opponents to win is by forfeit. Realistically, there is no way for them to win a game against men (and other creatures) with such skill and athleticism. All you have to do is take the pain for 500 minutes (minus what you play).

However, what if you can't take the pain? You can forfeit the game, but do remember that you offered your greatest treasure in return for skill. For avid basketball players, they might wake up their next day, only to discover an infection in their dominant arm, forcing it to be amputated. For football players, they may be sitting on a bench in the park, only to be involved in a freak accident where a cargo plane drops a three ton container on their dominant leg, crushing it whole.

Of course, you can live without a limb, right? It's very useful and important to have them all, but what about your loved one? It is said that as you are being escorted out of the arena upon forfeiting the game, the person you love the most will be taken back to the locker room, out of sight. Those who have dared to return after forfeiting the game once claim that they have seen them weeping in the stands.

If you do win, however, a man will take a seat next to you, he will look as generic as a human being can look. He will ask you which sport you wish to master. It is up to you to choose, it can be any team sport known to man. Upon giving an acceptable answer, you will be embraced by your teammates and escorted out of the arena by security. If you look back as you leave, you will notice that the desperate facial expressions once again grace the faces of your teammates. They're happy for you, they really are, trust me. The reason they appear to be so inconsolable is because they are once more returning to an eternity of pain caused by wounds which never heal.

After leaving the arena, you will black out, only to wake up in your bed at the time you usually wake up. Scouts related to the sport you are suddenly the best at will be aware of who you are, your friends and family will claim that you've always been this good at the sport. You'll be invited to the academy, asked to apply for the draft, and... And your loved one? Turns out he was asleep for an entire day, must have been extremely tired I suppose.

Maybe, however, you want to go back and take the load off your former teammates' shoulders for another 500 minutes once in a while, maybe you even want to master a new sport. The issue is, that your opponents, the identical copies of you become better at playing every time you play, and you can't know if your team is good enough to beat them until you see the final scoreboard.

What happens if you lose the game fair and square? I've only been there twice so far.

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