Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Nothing But Net
Arnold's experiences with basketball don't just strengthen his calves. The game become a testament to the power of positive thinking:
Back on the rez, I was a decent player, I guess. A rebounder and a guy who could run up and down the floor without tripping. But something magical happened to me when I went to Reardan.
Overnight, I became a good player.
I suppose it had something to do with confidence. I mean, I'd always been the lowest Indian on the reservation totem pole – I wasn't expected to be good so I wasn't. But in Reardan, my coach and the other players wanted me to be good. They needed me to be good. They expected me to be good.
And so I became good.
I wanted to live up to expectations.
I guess that's what it comes down to.
The power of expectations. (23.5-23.10)
At Wellpinit, Arnold was nothing more than an average player; however, by the end of the novel, he has becoming a basketball shooting hero. "The power of expectations," indeed.