The unit in Melinda’s gym class is basketball, and she unexpectedly discovers that she has an amazing knack for foul shots. Even Nicole is impressed. Her teacher Ms. Connors attempts to recruit her for the basketball team, but Melinda isn’t eligible because of her terrible grades. Although the teacher questions her about doing better in school, Melinda doesn’t answer her. She is scornful about the idea of joining the team, but enjoys the feeling of succeeding.
Melinda doesn’t quite know what to make of her uncanny ability to make foul shots. She is so unused to success and approval that she is unable to react appropriately when they occur. She may enjoy excelling, but she makes no attempt to follow through on her new skill, or to connect with her excited and impressed gym teacher.
Ms. Connors and the boys’ Basketball Coach tell Melinda that she will get an A in gym if she coaches one of the players, Brendan Keller (whom she has nicknamed Basketball Pole), to make a foul shot. (The boys’ basketball team has been doing especially terribly this season). She shrugs in agreement, but decides that she won’t show up.
Even the promise of an A in a class can’t break through Melinda’s apathy. Although she has a clear talent for basketball, she has no desire to use it, even to improve her grades.