It’s been coming for a few days now but on the 113th throw from the free shot line on day 23 of 26, the hoop finally gave up its stubborn resistance to the painful attentions of the ball and failed spectacularly and fell gracelessly to the ground.
Any significance in the number 113? It is, after all, a prime number and has 13 at the end of it. Perhaps this signals the end of the world to some people? The coming of a New Age of Aquarius to others? Or just the incremental failing of a series of material relationships in which grip was lost, thread laid bare and a fond parting of the ways resulted in gravity having the final word on the connection between brick, rawl plus, screw, back board, hoop bracket hole and ground.
Perhaps it was shooting the first 26 in a record beating 9’ 15” which did it. Perhaps it was just old age and metal fatigue. Perhaps as they grow old, basketball hoops get weary of the pounding, the bouncing and the whooshing and just want to retire gracefully and spend their days staring at the sunsets, pent up in thought about what happens when the final moments arrive. Will they be quick? Painless? Ridiculous?
There have been a few occasions in my own life when I realised, I was within inches of my own demise. Missing a wayward fireworks rocket by a few inches one Guy Fawkes Night flying along our road (rather up in the air) was one of them. Not being in Vauxhall when a helicopter fell on a passing cyclist and killed him was on another. I’ve felt since then that death, for all its sting, can be surprisingly farcical. A case of would’na, could’na, should’na perhaps.
So, the search is on for a hoop and net which could withstand my attentions for the next three days. All suggestions gratefully received.
Unfortunately, through all the euphoria of smashing targets left right and centre, what’s getting forgotten in all this is the effect on the hoop. The net gave up the ghost a long time ago and is pale imitation of what a basketball net should be like: a hint of web, a trace of original function and fading memories of the joyful ‘whoosh’ sounds is all it has now. Its misery is palpable.
The hoop on the other hand has been a bit more resilient but all those near misses, the thwack of the ball against the backboard, the pinging off the rim, the rattle of reluctant metal struggling with a spinning basketball; all these things are taking their toll on the poor old hoop.
If it makes it until Day 26 of the Challenge we shall be surprised and not a little relieved. All it needs is for someone from the RSPCH (the Royal Society of Protection against Cruelty to Hoops) to turn up and place an embargo on the whole proceedings, confiscating ball, hoop, net and soggy trainers to boot. With some gentle pleading and some prayers to the God of Gravity to be lenient with the forces of nature, we should make it through but I’m not holding my breath.
In the meantime though, three rounds of 26 beckons…