11:145, alone on the court at Lance Armstrong 24 Hr Fitness. The guilt of not updating my journey had begun to weigh on me, knowing that if I held out any longer the violent throngs would certainly come looking for me, armed with calipers and measuring tape.
Looking at me wouldn't reveal any progress, for sure. Still the same pot bellied white guy with minimal definition. Only one real metric can be used. So I put the ball down and walked back a few steps.
I took my approach and jumped.
WTF? I scanned the area for low flying aircraft or water fowl, and saw nothing. There was really only one thing that could've been.
"That can't have really happened," I thought. Maybe Scott Bakula had just quantum leapt into me to help.
I backed up to the free throw line to try again. I took the approach and jumped, this time looking down at the floor below. The people looked so tiny. It was no fluke.
Is Shaq had been sitting on the sidelines, he would've recoiled in amazement and leaned onto Dikembe Mutombo's lap. I turned around to look for those vapor trails that fighter jets leave in the sky. I didn't see any. Guess they dissipate faster than I remembered. Doesn't matter though, I had just touched (lightly grazed) the motherflipping rim for the first time since 9th grade -- 12 years ago.
So that's it. It only took a month to gain anything noticeable. Five smaller meals a day (within reason. It's really hard to keep that up), twice a week with weights, and a day or two of basketball a week and I'm practically ready for the N(epalese)BA.
The old bench press is also up from a respectable 90 to an almost obscene 115. We're talking 8 reps here. At a time. The squat is the same 115 I started with, but instead of lifting 100% with my lower back, I can actually crank a few out with decent form. Also, I know what "the wall" is that runners talk about, since I can actually run around for like 30 minutes before I hit it, as opposed to going through life wondering if going up wheelchair ramps was always going to turn me into an Isreali after a long night at the disco.
Honestly, I'll need to make a crucial decision between NBA star or superhero at some point. For now, it just feels good knowing that I am well on my way to winning my bet and making HenryJames streak onto the court at a WNBA game and tackle Lisa Leslie.
I walked towards the door after I was done, and turned to look over all I had conquered. I looked at the floor with the DeLorean-from-Back to the Future-like flame trails on the floor. Then I looked up at the rim. It was bent slightly, the left side slightly lower than the right. I had come from the left side. Whatever. Still counts.