As with the numbers, as with so much in life, it depends on how you tell it.
Faced with the last day of the Challenge today, what better way to finish the project than with the perfectly symmetrical outcome of 26 baskets in 26 minutes? Not too many, and not in too short a time. This may seem easy but in actual fact it’s trickier than it sounds.
Given recent history, overscoring was a distinct possibility today. The real challenge was to get the tempo just right, so that the 26th shot would whoosh through the hoop with just seconds to spare, meaning that there would be no time available to over shoot the target.
This was a tall order but, I’m pleased to say, everything went according to plan. There was just the right number of plain terrible shots which didn’t go anywhere near basketball nirvana (27); the ideal number of near misses (127) and the precise number of shots which underlined the symbolism of the project as a whole (26). And guess what? Accompanied with a mere 30 seconds to spare. And Yvonne, my independent invigilator has the figures to prove it.
The timing presented its own challenges. Performing in doors for the first time in 26 days (thank you especially to the Priory City of Lincoln Academy Sports Centre for dedicating their superb facilities to me for the entirety of the evening), I was faced with a new court, a bewildering set of floor markings and critically a new hoop which made it clear from the off that it wasn’t going to cooperate with any fundraising campaign any time soon.
So, it took a good few minutes to understand the dynamics of net, hoop, ball, stand and court such that I was able to time – nearly to perfection – the precise completion of the target of 26 baskets in the regulation 26 minutes.
So after 26 days, 4,062 shots of which 2,357 were near misses, 709 on target and an overall success rate of 17.5%, this part of the campaign has come to an end. Job done.
The campaign though to provide young people with Let’s Create packs – the fundamental reason behind all this counting, ball and story spinning still has some way to go.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this campaign and for helping improve young people’s creative lives. The numbers of beneficiaries, income raised and targets surpassed will tell us something about that, but there will be many more testimonials of your support which we will never hear about, but which are nevertheless as real as any numbers on a spreadsheet.
And for that, we will all be eternally grateful.