Everyone seems to be draining shots from half court this year. From the cheerleader who did a front handspring before shooting to the guy who made the shot at a Miami Heat game, winning $75,000 dollars and a body slam of a hug from LeBron James, everybody is putting in the long-range shot. I decided I wanted to get in on the trend.
I challenged my colleague in the sports section of The Ithacan and teammate on the track team, Steve Derderian, to a half-court shootout. If I won, he agreed to wash my dishes. If I lost, I would cede my beloved “Between the Lines” column to him for a week.
The half-court shot is the great equalizer of basketball. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the NBA or on the playground down the street, chances are the ball is going to clang loudly off the backboard or the back iron.
Feeling confident, I let my college-aged male instincts take over and let the dirty dishes accumulate until my sink was overflowing. My roommates grew frustrated, but I assured them that I was going to make this half-court shot, and it would be a complete waste if we didn’t let Steve do the maximum amount of dishes for us. Besides, I have a distinct memory of one time in middle school sinking a half-court shot.
On Monday night, Steve and I made our way to the Fitness Center. Playing basketball for probably the first time in six months, I made my first three warm up shots, which has literally never happened before. I was on fire!
We moved to the half-court line and I took my first shot. It was ugly, an air ball. Steve followed by banging it off the top of the backboard. We may be here for a while.
My second attempt hit the rim, the backboard, the rim again and then bounced out. My third shot was dead on line but bounced off the back iron. I was getting close, so close.
I visualized my next shot as Steve took his third attempt. I was thinking about putting a little more arc on the ball when I looked up to see the ball heading towards the basket. In slow motion it hit the back of the rim and then, instead of bouncing back out like my shot had, it ricocheted right into the net.
The dishes only took me 10 minutes, but recovering my wounded pride will take a while longer. But in the end I must congratulate Steve who bested me fair and square. I look forward to his column next Thursday.