Heed the advice of former USMC reserves squad leader Jeff Wilser by ensuring your proficiency in these athletic milestones every man must be able to reach. Your manliness / performance at the company picnic may depend on it.
By Jeff Wilser
Author of Maxims of Manhood: 100 Rules Every Real Man Must Live By
For the uninitiated: the granny shot is when you scoop the basketball with both hands, hold it between your squatting legs, then toss it in the air the way you might heave a microwave. It’s undignified. It’s unseemly. It looks like You’ve never even watched the game of basketball, much less played it.
It’s unacceptable. This doesn’t mean that you have to shoot a Steve Nash — like 90 percent from the charity stripe. But you need the basics. Shooting a basketball is Guy 101.
Similarly, you must demonstrate proficiency — even if it’s just rudimentary — for the following:
Tackle. The metaphor’s sort of painfully obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Tackling shows that you can meet a problem squarely, unafraid to get hurt or get dirty. The guy who refuses to tackle is the guy who ducks a fight, dodges the draft, and skips his alimony.
Run a mile. You’re allowed to huff and puff. And you don’t have to run the 40 in 4.3 seconds. But at the very least, you must be able to jog a mile without looking like Chunk from Goonies.
Do a pull-up. If Linda Hamilton can do several pull-ups in T2, you should at the very least be able to do one. Palms out, straight waist, no bucking.
Throw a baseball. You’ll never outgrow this. Long after those sunny days at Little League, you’ll still be faced with company picnics and afternoon dates. Even if you despise the game of baseball, it’s your contractual duty to teach this to your son. If you don’t do it for you, do it for him. Same goes for throwing a tight spiral.
Swim. It’s not necessary to be Michael Phelps, but if you can’t even tread water, you risk getting saved from drowning by a woman or a child. Consider staying underwater.
Maxim in Action
Look at Shaquille O’Neal. Experts mostly agree: shooting a free throw underhanded — granny style — might actually improve Shaq’s woeful free throw percentage. The Big Aristotle, however, knows that if he resorts to this ignominy, what he gains in percentages he loses in street cred, intimidation factor, and self-respect. The second he attempts a granny shot, he stops being the most feared player on the planet and starts being the biggest laughingstock since Shawn Bradley. If a 300-pound beast like Shaq can’t get away with shooting a granny shot, then neither can you.
If you’re in a wheelchair you’re off the hook, but you’re still expected to compete in quadriplegic rugby. (Like Jason Street in Friday Night Lights.) Additionally, if you’re clearly dominant in one sport, it gives you the luxury to slack off in others. If LeBron James played baseball, for instance, he could whiff every pitch and bat .025 and we wouldn’t question his athleticism or virility. In fact, this has happened. His name was Michael Jordan.
The above is an excerpt from the book Maxims of Manhood: 100 Rules Every Real Man Must Live By by Jeff Wilser.
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Wilser, author of Maxims of Manhood: 100 Rules Every Real Man Must Live By
Jeff Wilser, author of Maxims of Manhood: 100 Rules Every Real Man Must Live By, has met many men. He’s been researching The Maxims of Manhood for more than twenty-five years, ever since he felt guilty for breaking the rule “Never cry at the movies” — he was six; the movie was E.T. This book is his atonement. A former USMC Reserves squad leader, Wilser has been a regular online contributer to sites like GQ, MTV, and VH1, writing about dating, sex, nightlife, and pop culture. He lives in New York City. For more information please visit www.maximsofmanhood.com