After selling my glider this summer, I decided to return to a sport I have loved all my life – basketball. The only problem is – at age 65 that seemed just a little bit optimistic, if not outright insane! I had actually tried a return to b-ball 10 years or so ago, but got dinged up in pretty short order and had to quit.
As a result of being fairly tall and strong in my misbegotten youth, I had never developed much of an outside game. My normal MO was to simply crash the basket and force up shots from inside 3 feet. As I discovered when I recently tried getting back into the sport, what worked at age 25 doesn’t necessarily work at age 60 or so. So, being the engineer I am, I analyzed the problem and came up with a different approach. My plan this time is to develop an outside game, allowing me to patrol the 3-point line and avoid injury by avoiding the area under the basket.
Of course, this implies the ability to actually score effectively from 3-point land, something I’ve never been able to do. I was going to have to start from scratch and develop a skill I’ve never had before – cool!
First things first; I needed a basket and backboard, and a place to put them. I had the place – a nice concrete apron in front of my garage, complete with retaining walls on three sides (and a loooonnnnngggg driveway on the 4th). Ordered the basket, backboard, and 2 basketballs online, and within a week or so I had the backboard and basket up and installed. The garage apron area was just large enough to accommodate a 3-point circle, with about 3 feet left over directly in line with the basket. Once the basket was up and leveled, I spray-painted a dotted-line 3-point circle (high-school dimensions – not pro!), and started shooting.
The first thing I discovered was that my looonnnngggg driveway ate basketballs at a prodigious rate (well, it didn’t actually eat them – just transported them into a different area code). Yet another engineering problem to solve. After considering and rejecting several different designs, my research led me to a kid safety outfit selling a 25-foot long, 3 foot high retractable driveway net. With the help of a really cool hammer-drill and a 3/4″ concrete bit, I was able to install this where the garage apron area necks down to the aforementioned long driveway, and (mostly) stopped basketballs from escaping.
The second thing I discovered was that ‘mostly’ wasn’t good enough – I was still getting bball escapees on a regular basis, even with the retractable driveway guard in place. So, I ordered a second driveway fence and installed it on top of the first one – problem solved (mostly mostly). I still get escapees on occasion, but they have to work a lot harder to get away now ;-).