Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Suck At Basketball

I used to be decent at basketball. I was an okay shooter, even though my shot is very, very ugly. The strongest part of my game was defense, because I was quick, and I had the mindset that I was as good as the black kids. I wasn’t, but I still was never intimidated. Also, since a lot of defense is focus, I was able to focus on that, because offense was for nerds anyway.

I have not touched in basketball in years. I have not played consistently in over a decade. But there is never anybody at the basketball courts at my gym early in the morning. I figured that would be a fun way to get a light exercise in on some mornings, so I had my parents get me a basketball for my birthday (yes, my parents do still get me birthday presents). I headed to the gym on Tuesday to shoot around. I threw the ball up, expecting the worst, and the ball went in. Hum, I did not see that coming. Then I took another shot and…swish. Um, okay. I proceeded to hit 7 out of 10 of my first shots, and I was feeling good about myself. Really good. I was strutting around like I farted Swagger Deodorant. You can probably guess what happened next.

The wheels fell off. Holy shit was I awful after those first shots. Airballs, bricks, and just generally ugly shots littered my shooting session. It was awful. I was awful. I decided to nail all the shots from a 3 point contest before heading home, and it took me like 40 shots to do it. I made two threes in a row and decided that would be a good place to stop. I decided to hit a layup to make it three in a row and BRICK. Jesus, how does someone brick a layup? I don’t know how, but I know that I managed to do it. I had to shoot for another three minutes before I hit two shots in a row again and decided I did not need to give myself the ultimate challenge of hitting a fucking layup. Christ.

Since I hate being bad at stuff, I decided I was going to improve. I am going to force myself to keep at it by giving updates of my progress. Occasionally, I will shame myself on this blog, but for the most part, I will give updates via twitter (@HottJoe) every time I shoot hoops. I am going to focus on the 5 spots in the three point contest and free throws. I plan on taking 100 shots from one spot on the court every time I go and shoot. I started in the right corner, because when I was growing up and playing hoops in the back alley, I could knock down shots from the right corner like I was freaking Craig Hodges. Since I knew I kind of sucked, I figured I would shoot for 30-100. I’m shooting wide open threes, and shooting the same shot over and over so I should be able to get on some hot streaks and at least hit 30 uncontested threes. Here are my results, and,*Spoiler Alert* holy fuck was I wrong.

So I missed my first 7 shots. No big deal. I’m just getting warmed up. I should get on some streaks later where I can make up the ground. The 8th shot goes in, so I’m not feeling good, but I’m still feeling alright.
Status: 1-8

I do not heat up. I occasionally hit a shot, but I do not hit them often. That 1-8 was an ominous sign of things to come. I keep shooting, but 30% is looking near impossible at this point.
Status: 5-40

I’m still confident. I don’t know why, but I just assumed that I could point to my 5-40 start and then show the progress I was able to make as I attempted more shots. I still think a 25-60 finish, although improbable, is still possible. I love me some me, but slowly, I am beaten down as shot after shot goes in and out. Things are not improving.
Status: 8-69

Things actually get worse. Airballs, bricks, and can it even be considered a brick when you hit the side of the backboard? Because I definitely did that a few times. My longest streak of shots made stands at one. That’s right, through 88 shots, I have not made two in a row. It is impressive how bad I am at this. 30% ain’t happening. 20% would take a near-miracle. I’m honestly just hoping that I can hit one more and get above 10%.
Status: 10-88

And then, it finally happens. I start heating up…by my standards. I hit 3 of 10. Still can’t hit two in a row, but at least I am above 10% for the day.
Status: 13-98

It is at this point that I realize that I need to keep shooting until I can end on a made shot. This slightly pumps me up, because I know I will end on a high, but it also slightly depresses me, because I just had my hottest streak by hitting 3 of 10, and it may take me until shot 120 to make another one. I take shot 99, and it actually goes in.
Status: 14-99

Now the pressure is on. I have not done nearly as well as I thought I would, and I had pretty low standards to begin with. If I hit this shot, I get to go home. Not only that, but a make here means that I have an actual streak of two shots made, something that I have not been able to accomplish through my first 99 shots. I take a deep breath, focus, exhale and shoot…SWISH! I have made it. You better believe I gave a little fist pump, grabbed up my gear and jogged out of the gym with a smile beaming on my face. I was a winner.
Status: 15-100

And so goes the first of many shooting sessions for me. I think it's safe to say that I still need a little work on my game.


  1. Really enjoyed reading this, as a man who suffers similarly from a broken shot. It sounds like yours is fixable, though. I hope it's improved since this post!

  2. Thanks, Tony. I'll admit it got better, but not much better, and I haven't been shooting a whole lot lately, but I'm hoping I'm at least still at a 20% shooter.