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One of the most important aspects in analyzing plot is determining the conflict. The conflict in a story is an opposition between two forces, such as between two characters, between a character and his/her circumstance, or between a character and society. In Mike Lupica's young reader's novel Travel Team, the conflict arises when Danny Walker is cut from the seventh-grade basketball team, the Vikings, regardless of being the best passer on the team. Jeff Ross, the head coach, says he has been cut because he is too short, but Danny's father, Richie Walker, a prior NBA star, suspects Jeff cut Danny out of jealousy since Richie had always been a better player than Jeff during their days on the NBA team. Hence, the main conflict concerns Danny vs. his circumstance, while there is also the underlying conflict of Richie vs. Jeff.
A second important aspect in a plot is rising action. All events in a story lead up to the climax and resolution, and the events leading up to the climax can be identified as the rising action. In Travel Team, the rising action concerns Richie's decision to start and coach a team of his own out of all the deserving players who were cut from the team. The most critical point of rising action concerns the moment Richie has a car accident that keeps him from coaching the Warriors' state championship game.
The climax is the turning point in any story; it's the moment when the resolution is in sight, and the resolution is inevitable. In Travel Team, the turning point in the story is the moment Danny decides to carry his father's torch and coach the Warriors in their championship game himself. While we don't know at this point if the Warriors will win or not, we do know that they won't give up due to obstacles. We also know that, win or lose, they've proven that they were deserving players who should not have been cut. We also know that they have exceeded Richie's expectations, who only bet the team could become good enough "to win the championship of all the kids who got told they weren't good enough."
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