Monday, March 30, 2015

Old Men Can't Jump, But They Can Score

Photo by Redtail Panther.
Last week I was walking the track at the YMCA. Below the track are two basketball courts.

Because it was lunchtime on a weekday, several people were playing pick-up basketball.

I enjoyed seeing if shirts or skins were shooting at each court as I briskly walked past the hoops.

They seemed to be working hard and having a good time.

After the lunch hour was over and the games concluded, most of the players left--presumably to return to their jobs.

However, three players stayed behind to practice shooting.  Two young adults and a midlife man.

The pair of twentysomething young men were practicing their slam dunk techniques at one basket. They would run with the ball towards the basket then slam the ball down to get a high bounce. Then they would jump as high as they could in an attempt to slam the ball into the basket.

With each lap, I could see them slam the ball. However, they didn't have the right angle, and the ball kept shooting back out of the top of the basket at about a 45 degree angle.

In contrast, the single player--who looked to be in  his early 50s--was practicing shooting at another basket. He did so without jumping more than a foot, if that.  Each time I watched him shoot, he made the basket.

This pattern went on for several laps as I walked the track above the courts. I probably watched the young players attempt about 10 baskets each and the mature player attempt 20 baskets.  The contrast was remarkable.

The young players were full of zeal and energy, but they weren't focused or precise enough to actually make their shots.

The mature player was very calm, measured and precise about his movements.

There was nothing fancy about his methods. But he made basket after basket after basket. Most of his shots were made about ten feet from the basket.  But he also made some 3-point shots and a layup.

This was a great illustration to me about the benefits of experience.  True, we may not have some of the raw power of youth. But we know how to make every effort count--whether it's in the office, in social settings or on the court.


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  1. Such a great observation. We bemoan aging but really, it brings with it some advantages.

  2. Yes Karen! As we age we learn that precision is everything, and it saves a lot of time...

  3. I was just playing BB with my 12 and 13 year-old-grandsons and they were beside themselves that I made every shot and they were struggling. I tried to explain that they were trying to hard and overplaying. Too funny and very interesting.

  4. What a great perspective! One not typically shared. Maybe the younger should have taken lessons from the older. Of course at that age they think they know everything.

  5. What a great analogy - I am so impressed, Karen. And it's all true. With age comes experience and new ways of looking at things. I loved this post.

  6. What a great analogy - I am so impressed, Karen. And it's all true. With age comes experience and new ways of looking at things. I loved this post.

  7. I adore this analogy! It really hits home too as I have a relative who is having a hard time getting a job right now fearing it's her age that's creating some issues. Passing this one along for sure!

  8. So true. With age comes wisdom and precision!

  9. How empowering! I love seeing real-life examples of the wisdom that comes with age! This was a great observation.