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.”