Friday, June 10, 2011

Trivial Things

Here I stand at the free throw line inside Gold’s Gym tossing up yet another one of my endless barrage against the rim before me. I can’t remember how long I’ve been here. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to stay here. The only thing that comes to mind is the replicated procedure to which a ball leaves my hands.

Spin the ball from the right hand to the left.
Dribble once.
Adjust weight from left side of left foot to right side of right foot, counterbalancing each other.
Bend knees.
Take three small dips at the knee joint.
Raise arm to shooting position.
Finger pad control.
Backspin.
Follow through.

This 9-step process is something that has been adjusted and fiddled with for the last 19 years of my life, just so I can get to the point that I think will be my most successful attempt at making a simple free-throw. And I’m sure that there will be more adjusting and fiddling with over the next 50 years to come.

As I begin yet another free-throw cycle, a thought comes to mind that perplexes me to the point that I forget the order of steps I am using for this shot. A one word rhetorical accusation that every three-year old responds with every time they don’t get what they want. Something that we all wonder about, whether it’s regarding free throws or politics or the meaning of life.

Why?

Why am I doing this?

Why does a free-throw matter?

Why am I shooting free-throw 37,458, to be followed by free-throw 37,459?

The three-word response that seems to be the only answer to any of these questions is a phrase I have been using every time I step into a Math class, every time I overhear a politics discussion, or every time I break up with a girl.

I don’t know.

I don’t know why I shoot these same free throws that would seem monotonous to anyone not associated with Dr. Naismith.

I don’t know why I spend an hour in the gym working on the same post move; left side wing bank shot from 17 feet out.

I don’t know why I try to improve my ball-handling skills by doing cut drills and crossover dribbles up and down the court.

In the bigger picture none of this matters. My crossover dribble, my bank shot, my free throw. They are but frivolous insignificant pieces of my life that will not mean a thing once the fat lady starts warming up. At the end of my life, am I going to look into the eyes of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and say, “I hope all of you are proud of me for having a lifetime free-throw shooting percentage of 78%. I can die now.” Probably not. When it comes down to it all, my shooting percentage will not matter.

Yesterday afternoon J. Black Hairpiece, B.E.P. Longhorn, and The Glee President had a conversation with me about “big-kid” matters in regards to purchasing 40 acres in Beryl, Utah. Playing the Devils Advocate half-seriously I posed the question as to what motivation I would have in purchasing this nude land-plot catered with sagebrush and rabbit scat.

“Think about it, Brock.” J. Black Hairpiece loaded up, his business-persuading personality targeting my forehead to fire. “Don’t you want to be able to give your kids something? To be able to have something to your name? Something for generations to hold on to?”

“Yeah, you could even start an Alpaca ranch or something.” The Glee President prodded.

And to answer his question through a blog post 21 hours later, an answer that he will probably never hear; No. I don’t. Why should those 40 acres matter? Am I going to get to the other side and say to myself, “I’m sure glad I got those 40 acres. They are absolutely helping me now that I’m dead and buried.”

I don’t think I will ever say those words. But it’s not just the land or the free throws that I’m wasting my life with. There are trivial tokens all around me that I can’t figure out why my time is devoted to. My ipod. My car. My snowboard and winter equipment. My NBA Jam App. My purchasing of all five seasons of “Dexter”. My wardrobe. Heck, this blog even raises the question as to its purpose, undoubtedly because I’m trying to prove to the world that I’m a negative pervert.

Now I’m not trying to advocate a hippy lifestyle and try and convince everyone to give up all of these material wastes of time and move to a jungle community where we can all pinky dance and sing ‘Kum-Bah-Yah’. That’s not the point. I don’t even think there’s a point in this post at all. But as I step back up to the line and repeat the steps:

Spin the ball from the right hand to the left.
Dribble once.
Adjust weight from left side of left foot to right side of right foot, counterbalancing each other.
Bend knees.
Take three small dips at the knee joint.
Raise arm to shooting position.
Finger pad control.
Backspin.
Follow through.

The ball splashes through the net and bounces off to the side. While I’m the only one left in the gym staring at a glass opponent who’s attempts at defeat have been thwarted. It’s split-second moments like this when I look up to the sky at whoever’s watching me, and say to myself.

“That’s why.”

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I know why you practice the Bank shot... Just sayin'

    ReplyDelete