Today in Profiles in Pick-up Basketball, we examine...
...the delusional fellow who can't dunk and will never stop trying. Read on.
Preceding nearly every pick-up basketball game is an informal, refreshingly stress-free shoot-around. Perhaps everyone's waiting for teams to square up, or maybe it's simply a chance to be friendly for a few minutes before undertaking the business at hand.
It is neither for the individual we are discussing today.
Everyone would like to be able to dunk on a 10-foot rim. I would certainly like to be able to. I genuinely feel that my life would be positively augmented by such an ability. It's up there with being able to speak French fluently -- an ability you can casually and occasionally break out that will impress people. My life as a hook shot specialist who can almost ask a German for directions to the post office is a lesser one.
I am relatively comfortable with the physical limitations of my 5'11" ass; the same cannot be said of this fellow. In a curious logical twist, he, a man who cannot dunk, knows that he can dunk, and behaves accordingly.
He keeps sizing up the rim as though it's a putting green with intricacies that must be observed and mastered. He tugs on the net. He jumps and slaps the mouth of the rim with an open palm. While he does this, of course, nobody else can shoot. He is emboldened by his captive audience. He is always saying "hold up, hold up, alright hold up."
He believes you are watching him. You are not. You are busy shooting the breeze with one another.
And he ought to be thankful for that, because you aren't watching when he simply smacks the ball flush against the rim.
So, it's clear that he's short by at least six inches. He was jumping as high as he could. He cannot grow any taller. He isn't going to build enough muscle and tendon strength within the next few minutes to be able to make up the difference. Experiment over, right?
Nope. Over, and over, and over, and over. He will keep going until you explicitly tell him to stop. And that's only if he doesn't recruit a legion of peers to attempt dunks of their own, which will definitely happen.
The urge to dunk is worse than irresistable. It is infectious. It will spread like cholera, and no one is immune.
It will dash any hopes you once had of playing an actual basketball game at any point within the next 30 minutes. Also, nobody will be able to dunk except for That One Dude, the impossibly talented guy who plays professionally in Europe. He is a story for another day.