April 23, 2006
I don't blame you for doubting me but I shall prevail!
I had the following conversation with my friend Ludacrits at a bar in Green Bay last weekend.
Luda: So what are you doing this summer?
Me: I'm going to slam dunk a basketball. [Ed: The original conversation was not hyperlinked]
Luda: (Incredulous laughter)
Me: Why don't you think I can do it?
Luda: Because you're a sub-six foot white guy.
Me: Have you been reading my blog?
Me: Because I already addressed that concern on there. Well, do you want to put some money on..
Luda (interrupting): Yeah, I'll bet you $100 you can't do it.
Me (continuing): ... it for charity?
Luda: For charity? No thanks.
He had the #2 concern I originally listed almost verbatim! How well do I know my friends?
Posted by mill1991 at 6:57 PM
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April 20, 2006
Slam Dunk: First things first
Becoming a great athlete takes a lot of hard work and dedication. The best athletes in the world are those who are able to sacrifice the most in order to reach the top. Or else they use illegal performance-enhancing drugs. But I will not use drugs! Besides my allergy medicine.
This series on my attempt to slam dunk a basketball is more than just a hard-hitting piece of gonzo journalism, more than just shameless self exploitation, and more than a documentation of potentially the greatest athletic achievement in the history of mankind. I also view it as a sort of running "Howto" document, for anyone who would like to achieve athletic greatness, but especially for the children. Millions of little Wingamaniacs out there have been following my career closely, buying my "Wingamaniac" merchandise, and starting their own blogs, which, while cute, are not nearly as polished and hilarious as mine.
This document is a description of the baseline life choices one needs to commit to before embarking on an historic fitness and strength regime like I'm about to. Many of my readers have asked for excruciating detail, and they shall be satisfied. Here are some tough choices I've made:
- Aerobic training
This can be troubling, since I want to accomplish my goals easily, but it's crucial. So in light of its importance, it is worth the effort. What I do is fit this into my regular routine by walking to work (when I miss the bus), taking the stairs (when the elevator is broken), and running several times a week (when I am being chased by wild birds).
- Strength training
I mentioned in the original post that I would just practice leaping, because that would be easy. But in fact, it's not quite that easy. What I recommend is that you put peppy music on repeat, get together multiple changes of athletic clothes, and for each one of those outfits, do a small number of reps of an odd-looking but effective exercise while filming yourself. The important thing is, for the first 9 months, I am not allowed to touch a basketball. I don't know why this is, but in sports movies that sort of thing tends to work.
- Drinking in moderation
Scientists say that having a serving of beer or wine each day is good for your heart. I did some preliminary research during my 4 years of undergraduate work on compressing those 7 drinks into a single night (Friday). My unpublished results show that this regimen has negative effects on athletic ability, although a positive effect on social ability.
- Refrain from sexual activity immediately before the event
As a graduate student in computer science with a large catalogue of science fiction DVDs who's a huge asshole, this will be quite difficult. But! It's very important. World class athletes say that sex before athletic activity can cause you to "lose your edge". Scientists have not yet discovered what this "edge" consists of, but they're pretty sure it's found in spunk.
February 26, 2006
I am going to slam dunk a basketball
Yes, you read that correctly. I am going to slam dunk a regulation size men's basketball into a regulation height (10') basketball hoop without any outside help. No trampolines, no special shoes, no surgically enhanced achilles tendons. Okay, I might get calf implants, but purely for aesthetic reasons (my unsightly calves are the only thing standing between myself and total physical perfection). From now until the end of this upcoming summer, I am going to devote myself completely to accomplishing the goal of raining down a fury of orange leather on anyone who tries to guard me in the paint. I presume you have a number of questions at this point, which I will now answer to prevent you from talking:
- Why make slam dunking a basketball your goal?
Last summer I had the goal of growing more facial hair, but it turns out that I don't really have all that much control over that function. So I thought of doing something where the harder I worked, the more likely I would be to accomplish it. My next idea was to do a marathon, since I'm already a runner. But that's a long ways to run, and just training runs can take upwards of an hour a day. Since I am quite lazy, that was out of the question. But with an anaerobic task, I can do my training in short bursts at my convenience. Also, I believe that slam dunking a basketball will increase my reproductive fitness and allow me to spread my seed more effectively.
- Aren't you a sub-six foot white guy?
Yes, I am. But if I were a 6'6" black dude, then this wouldn't exactly be worth talking about. I would just go do it, without bothering to blog about it. If I were the 6'6" black dude, I might blog instead about becoming really good at curling or something.
- Aren't you, like, not even that athletic for a white guy?
What? You don't have to be mean about it. But to answer your question anyways, asshole, I am quite athletic. If you doubt me, I invite you to challenge me to a pushup contest, anytime, anyplace. But back to the matter at hand. I believe that dunking is probably close to the limits of my athleticism. But I could be wildly overconfident - it certainly wouldn't be the first time. That is what makes this goal interesting.
- What makes you think you have a chance?
A basketball coach once told me that the best way to improve leaping ability is to just practice jumping. So I tried it for a week or so in high school, and I increased my vertical by like 6 inches in that short time. A simple calculation shows that by the end of a whole summer of training, I will be able to jump clear over the entire hoop. And that was when I was just a kid, when my total inventory of facial hair could be counted on my hands. Now that I'm a 24-year old man (with double digit numbers of facial hairs), there is no doubt my strapping physique is up to the task.
Over the next several months, I will periodically measure my progress and post reports on this site. Also, to make it interesting, I would like to involve money. Probably everybody that knows me that reads this will think that this task is impossible. So it is a very safe bet. Here is the bet: You put up whatever amount of money you are comfortable with losing. If the unthinkable happens, if I should fail at my task, then the money will be donated to a charity of your choice. If I succeed, however, you must give me the money, which I will either donate to a charity of my choosing, or use as a down payment on my calf implants.