I set myself 30 from the free throw line. 10 from each corner, ten from the centre. An easy concept one would think. A hoop. A backboard. A ball. A body I have used for 29 years. And the red shore blasting too quietly from the front of the court. I started shooting. Very quickly I realised that this is not a simple task, this is a skill set I do not have, and, therefore, would take effort and frustration to learn. Then it also began to dawn on me that basketball is strangely like golf… a sport I detest. Different clubs, different terrains, different lengths, different winds. But basketball is almost more subtle. The same court and ball every time. But taking 100 shots from 100 different parts of said court takes subtle differences in angles and arcs and strength. And these thoughts come as I am by myself in a freezing cold gym in Sweden. (Not exactly the basketball capital of the world) But there are people who have played this game, on the same court, with the same ball for 40 years. And, the actual game is not a solo sport, one is joined by 9 other people focused on the same ball and the same court, vying for victory. So the angles get even more warped because shots are taken usually under duress.
So there’s this cloud of skill and ideas and instinct that all ends up in a sweet game of basketball. Except instead of being a midget 169cm unfit Aussie kid, the players are usually 4 metres tall and fit like Dave (who is that? and why is everything like him?)
First time in my life that these truths hit me. Basketball is hard. and an awesome sport to begin learning so I make friends when I get to Lithuania. And… it’s that special combination of scientific precision and art. Like a painter with his brushes. There are ‘better’ ways of using brushes and paints to show what needs to be shown. but there also needs to be a constant breaking of the rules to advance the possibilities. Basketball has rules, but also freedoms to transform the game into something faster, more… creative.
Basketball is like life.