A few weeks ago, I wrote about shooting free throws. I talked about how I had shot free throws for the first time in several years. I talked about how my little fingers hurt. I revealed that I had made about 3 of the 25 shots I took.
I’ve been back to the gym several times. I decided that shooting free throws was an important thing to do. It would make me a better person. It would strengthen me. It would help me accomplish something. So I set a goal of shooting 50 free throws a day.
I’ve shot 50 free throws at a time eight times in the past three weeks. That’s pretty good for starting out, right? I mean, I know I should be there every day, but I figure I need to start somewhere.
I’ve ranged from 3 out of fifty to 12 out of fifty. I was doing better early, but for the past two days I’ve been making three. I’m not trying to miss. Every shot I try to hit. But I seem to be doing worse.
I know that I could ask for help. I know that there are tremendous resources available, that there are people around here that I could ask. But there is something about asking for help to do something that I could do when I was ten that just seems, well, humiliating.
Besides, I should be able to just do this. It’s a simple shot (why do you think they call them free?). Oh wait. Even good players have a hard time with this. I mean, Shaq. So why should I bother? If someone really good can’t do well, why should I spend any time on this at all?
But I know that the routine is good for me. I know that I ought to be able to follow through on a commitment. I know that someday this might make sense. Someday I might figure out the right combination of hands and eyes and feet. In fact, if I took notes on what works, if I thought through what happened each time it worked, I might learn something.
But for now, I’ll just keep tossing the ball toward the basket fifty times a day and feeling frustrated.
And someone reading this post will offer me a suggestion of how to understand how that effort can be more effective. And I’ll say, “that’s okay, I’m living out a spiritual metaphor.”
I probably couldn’t get 1 or 2 in there, and if I did, it would be luck not mechanics. But every time I got one in, I’m sure I’d feel that feeling, the one that makes us try again.
Some days, I think my faith feels like that: a 2 in 50 contact with something bigger than me.
A wonderful summary Chris.
About the part where we think we “should” be doing more of something (like heading to the court more often) than we actually are doing…my mentor/friend/author Dan Millman is fond of saying “A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.”
About the frustration part…it reminds me to enjoy the process. For me at the pool, enjoying the sound of my breath in the water and the rhythm of moving…even when I don’t have the energy to do all the laps I thought I’d do. Or for you, the way it feels to just hold the ball, dribble, aim, shoot, or the sound of the ball on the court…
we are so hard on ourselves……
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