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When Shooting a Half Court Shot...

  BlueTone Media

Last night, a friend of mine invited me to the Wilmington Sea Dawgs basketball game.  I had a great time, and the Sea Dawgs won in a shootout against the number one team in the league, the Battle Creek Knights, who were 12-0 before their battle with Wilmington. 

But at the start of the 2nd quarter, one of the Sea Dawgs' staff, Julie, approached my friend and I, and asked if I was interested in shooting the half court shot for a chance to win a weekend getaway for two in Myrtle Beach.  Now, I'm definitely not the most outgoing guy in the world, so the thought of chucking a ball in front of 500-1000 people was not an opportunity I was thrilled about, but the prize sounded pretty good, so I decided to suck it up and go for it.

Here's a little info about my basketball background.  Started playing when I was about 7 or so.  Tenacious defender, but my 4 inch vertical really hurt my offensive game.  Probably should have tailored my game to be a pass happy point guard, but I was often slotted in the small forward position.  Played rec league for a few years, but was more of a shoot by myself kinda guy.  Loved trying to shoot the long ball growing up. 

All of that didn't quite prepare me for my half court heave last night, though.  As soon as I got called onto the court I quickly realized my game plan of trying a normal type of chest push shot was going to be difficult.  This was not your normal half court!  Okay, it probably was normal, but it looked really, REALLY, long.  That and the fact that one of the promoters told me a few minutes before that noone had hit the rim all season kind of hurt my confidence.  I tried to get pumped up, and even asked the Sea Dawgs mascot if he had any advice.  He just looked at me with those non-blinking eyes.  So I bounced the ball in front of me, and threw it with all of my might.  It had a great line, was going right at it...just was about 10-15 feet too short.  An air ball.  I kept my head up, waved to the crowd and quickly jogged back to my seat, getting a couple of "nice trys" and high fives. 

So I've got some tips for anyone who gets the same opportunity I did to maybe help you take better advantage of it:
  • Try to get loose.  Just relax.  Stretch your legs and arms out.
  • Talk to the staff.  This will definitely help you relax.  The Sea Dawg staff were all super friendly and really helped me not be nervous at all. 
  • Whatever you do, DON'T chest shoot it.  This was my biggest mistake.  I mean, I gave it all I had and fell short of the goal.  Unless you've got some serious pectoral muscles, I recommend trying a football like throw.  You'll probably lose some accuracy, but as my dad taught me putting in golf, you've got zero chance if you can't get it to the hole.
  • Don't ham it up.  There is a time limit for how long you need to be out there, so just be modest and happy to be there and shoot the shot.  You want the crowd to be behind you, but they might get annoyed if you're out their being a goof.
  • Be sure to say thanks!  It's a great opportunity to win a good prize.  Be grateful for that, even if you do airball it in front of a huge audience.  As long as you don't fall or hurt yourself, it's a good thing.
And on that note, I'd like to thank Julie, and everyone with the Wilmington Sea Dawgs for giving me a chance to win a great trip for my wife and I.  Definitely check out the Sea Dawgs this season.  They're a really talented team and you'll have a blast while you're there!


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