Hard to believe but still true: the ball is becoming my friend.
Not something to throw vehemently at the target, not something to disregard as if it were an intruder in your own private quest for the Holy Grail but an essential partner you have to coax, encourage and woo in your attempt to achieve something which, whilst on the one level is not especially an audacious attempt at the Guinness world record for basketball free throws (67 in one minute, since you ask, achieved by Anthony Miracola of the USA in Temperance, Michigan on 5 April 2020) but still something you could look back in your dotage and confidently whisper, ‘Yes, I did that. Really I did” to your disbelieving great grandchildren.
Whether Miracola will have that pleasure remains to be seen. His life mission was to become “the greatest shooter” and had he turned up at my neighbour’s and shot 67 in one minute, we would have been on Twitter before you could shout Harlem Globetrotter.
Mind you, the bigger question would have been could he have kept it up for the full 26 minutes? And how many near misses did he achieve in his 67 throws over that minute? This might seem a curmudgeonly response to a Guiness World Record beater, but these statistics are critical in establishing the truth about what really makes a world record beater.
My dad always used to say that it was all very well for a High Jumpers to jump 8’ ¼” but it was unfair that they landed on a mattress. His argument was that if you wanted to jump high, you had to be able to land safely too, without assistance. The fact that high jumpers would would be likely to break their backs in their attempts to be the best they could be, seemed to elude him.
Perhaps this rather tortuous logic worked its through the generations and has left me wondering how many near misses Miracola had in beating the world record: but you’ll see by the picture that he wasn’t short of a bit of technical help in his attempt on the World Record.
You’ll see that Miracola had an automatic ball feeder to help him. Presumably he didn’t have to go and chase the ball every time it spun around the hoop and leapt out towards a kichen window? Or extract it from the neighbours garden every time it bounced over his head? These things matter in world record beating attempts!
Anyway, perhaps he’ll get in touch one day and we can share notes on how he shot 67 in one minute and how it took me 26 minutes to shoot 14 today. I’m sure the ball (or the myriad of balls he used) were all his friends. That’s what being a World Champion is all about: you’re everyone’s best friend, even if it is just for a minute.
But on a more cheering note, here are today’s ‘scores on the doors’. I feel I’m on a tipping point and nearly ready to meet Anthony Miracola on any court of his choosing. (Just give me a few more weeks, Anthony).
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