Middle aged guys dunking...ridiculous thought isn't it? In my 20's I met a 40 year old who had some hops and could dunk. I thought how cool to be his age and doing that, I made it a goal of mine to be like him. I already had a dream...I wanted to be like all those guys I watched doing these ridiculous dunks whenever I watched basketball...so why not do it as an old guy! Is anyone with me or am I all by myself?
Seems like everyone is trying to dunk a basketball these days. Social media is full of videos and accounts of people of all sizes, shapes and ages chasing the dream of dunking. I'm fascinated by this myself. It's something that has been a dream of mine since being a young guy watching my uncle and his friends do some incredible things on the court and wishing I could do them too. So from my college days till age 38 I tried everything I could to realize that dream. It wasn't until I visited a sports performance facility that was owned by a friend of mine that the opportunity to seriously chase that dream came up.
I saw my friend's ad about adding inches to your vertical and I jokingly said, "you can do that for the youngsters, but you couldn't do that for an old guy like me" His response was "bet...give me six weeks and we'll get you dunking on your 39th birthday" Up until this point, I only dunked every now and then when things were aligned right (the sun...moon...stars and my legs were actually present) When he said that, something in me went back to seeing that 40 something guy dunking. I had this thing that I started a two years before where I had to dunk on my birthday every year till I turned 40. As much as I had doubts if it actually could happen, I said "let's get it"...It was the best bet that I've ever lost.
Not only did the dunk happen at 39, but we got that dunk on #40 and have been dunking on the regular ever since. Not too bad for a guy who has had two ACL surgeries and at times may or may not have carried a few extra pounds from time to time. The question has to be asked...why? The simple answer is that it's about the lessons learned from chasing the "Dunk Dream"
I put this question to a friend of mine, Andy Nicholson (a.k.a @overthehilldunker). We're the same age (i'm a few months older) and like me, he's been chasing this crazy dream "Dunk Dream" He says:
"I've learned so many valuable lessons from dunking....probably could write a book. Here are just a few:
- dream big and go for your dreams
- some dreams will come true. Others won’t. It’s still worth it
- you can do more than you think
- there is great power in setting goals and telling the world you are going to do something (Lavar Ball is actually right about some things LOL)
- sharing your journey helps with motivation and accountability and may inspire others with similar goals which will motivate you even more towards your goals increasing your chance of success
- if you really want something... you find a way...not excuses
- tracking your performance accelerates progress
- chasing your dreams will bring like minded people into your life that result in amazing friendships
I could go on and on..."
I could unpack all of that but this article would be too long to read. What I love about Andy is that he understands that there is far more going on than the dunk. It is about becoming the person that you always thought you could be. Like playing other sports, the lessons that you learn along the way can teach you about life. Andy has a dunk camp that he hosts in the summer where guys who have been chasing the dream can meet up with other dunkers and learn how to keep dunking or even how to get their first dunk. Check out his website at www.thedunkcamp.com
I am writing this on the day before my 50th birthday. I am looking forward to meeting up with my "dunk brothers" from #theudunkcrew here at the University of Minnesota to celebrate my birthday with a dunk party. Now I know that the dunks I will do are pretty basic, but it is not a competition as much as it is celebrating and encouraging one another to push the limits. When it comes to goals, all of us have our different reasons for chasing them, but the one theme that seems to be constant is that we know there is more to life than what we are living and we want to experience that.
What dreams do you have for your life? Do you find yourself wanting more out of life than what you currently experience? If so, then what are you doing to make it happen? We all have been given a number of tools in our tool box, but none of them will do you any good if you don't use them. The best way that I know how to honor the one who supplied the tools is to use them to the fullest. You wouldn't have been given them if the belief that you could use them wasn't already there. Your job in the equation is to realize what those tools are, find out how to use them correctly and then allow them to lead you to your ultimate purpose. At the end of the day, it is about realizing your full potential. You were created for more! Why not push yourself to find out what that is. Dunking is just one way I've found to challenge myself to go beyond what I think that I can do. For you, if dunking isn't your thing, then reach into your toolbox and find that thing that moves you and get after it!
Stay Forever Strong!