Basketball

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The practices were intense. For four hours, every day, I would be outside or in the gym playing basketball. I had one goal on my mind – be able to dunk. A dunk shot is a shot in which a player near the basket jumps with the ball and attempts to thrust it through the basket with one hand or both hands held above the rim.

My height being five-foot, ten-inches, I wasn’t the tallest person out there, but still capable of jumping high enough to perform the dunk shot. I have seen people who were much shorter than me – shorter by about five inches, and still be able to put the ball into the net. I have questioned many of those players as to how they were able to do so, but none of them wanted to share their secrets – they all said they learned over time, which, at their height was highly unlikely. Additionally, my research told me otherwise. I was able to find that a vertical jump could be improved by certain exercises done on the calf and thigh muscles. The repetitive pressure on those muscles would allow a player to jump higher.
And so, every day I would work on my calves and thighs to work on my vertical leap.

Whenever I would finish my homework, I would turn up the music and do some drills or work-out. On Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, I went to Port Moody Recreation Center to some drop-in basketball games so I could work on my calves by running up and down the court. Whenever I had the time to myself, I would practice dunking and shooting. On the other days of the week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, I would go outside and play by myself in the nearby outside basketball court. The nets were missing from the hoops, which made it slightly harder to focus shooting, but the perfect shot wasn’t my goal. One of the three nets was also slightly crooked downwards, which made it easier to dunk. However, I was still not able to put the ball into the net by a mere six inches. But I didn’t give up.

At school and in the recreation center, I was constantly laughed at for trying to perform the unique shot. People came up and just told me that I couldn’t do it, and that I was wasting my time. They told me that I was nowhere close in performing the shot. But I knew I was. I didn’t give up

For three months afterwards, I still kept on working on my jump. I do not know my vertical jump in inches; however I was finally able to jump with my hand several inches above the rim. I kept practicing and doing my drills – lunges, with my fifteen pound dumbbells, and three sets of fifty calf raises each a few times a week. I would have done the practices every day, but my muscles needed time to grow, and every-day workouts would have been harmful.

Once again, it was Saturday, and I took the bus to the Recreation Center. At this point I was extremely close to dunking, and was off by about half an inch. The game went well, as I made most of my team’s points in the game. After the game was over, I stayed after as usual to work on my jump. My muscles were already all warmed up for the jump, and allowed me to jump higher.
I kept trying and trying to get up by that mere half-inch!

And then, that day became a great day. Because on Saturday, I dunked.





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