Friday, July 30, 2010

The Culmination of the Quest

Its over, I did it. I finally dunked a basketball. Last Friday I dunked on one of the outdoor hoops at Redwood High School in Larkspur with my friend and colleague Robert Schleihauf as my witness.

Throughout the process I assumed that I would feel amazing when I finally dunked a basketball, but in reality I was a little bit disappointed. I had been training intelligently and constantly researching different training methodologies for 36 weeks. I thought I might feel a sense of enlightenment followed by an onslaught of training-related epiphanies. Don’t get me wrong, it felt great to finally achieve a goal that I set for myself 6 months ago, but I had so much fun throughout the process that I was reluctant to let the quest end (this was also made evident by the fact that it took me a week to piece together my final blog post).

It reminded me of something that I heard Brett Favre say in a short television documentary of the Green Bay Packers 1996 season in which they won the Super Bowl. After they had won Brett said to himself, “this is it?” Although Brett was overjoyed to win the Super Bowl, he was more disappointed that the season in which he and his teammates performed incredibly well and became very close as a team was over. He realized that the journey was far more important that the end result.

I feel entirely empathetic (accept for the whole winning the Super Bowl thing obviously) towards Brett. I am happy to have finally achieved my goal, but I am a little bit upset that the journey is over, because I enjoyed it so much. Now I just want to continue to perfect my craft as a dunker and work towards bigger and better dunks.

As a side note, I also learned quite a bit about goal setting throughout my quest. Although telling everyone that I wanted to dunk a basketball in 12 weeks through this blog held me accountable it also set me up for an onslaught of criticism. In Dave Tate’s “9 Secrets to Training Success” he writes, “Set your goals high and keep them to yourself. The reason for this is simple: 90% of everyone you meet are negative pricks who will go out of their way to tell you why you can't do something.” I don’t agree with his 90% dictum, but I would absolutely agree with the general premise of Dave Tate’s argument. Over the course of the last 36 weeks numerous friends, clients, and acquaintances told me that I couldn’t do it or that the timetable was too short. Dunking in 12 weeks was obviously an extremely ambitious goal considering that I couldn’t even touch the rim at the beginning, but if I had kept my true goal to myself (per Tate’s recommendation) and simply told everyone that I wanted to jump higher, everyone would be very congratulatory now that I can dunk. At this point I feel almost as if many of the followers of the quest became a bit bored simply because it took so long and I don’t blame them.

What next? The answer is simple: more of the same. Although the quest to dunk is over I am not going to stop striving to increase my vertical leap any time soon. I am going to keep training in a very similar manner and writing performance related articles/posts. This will be my last post on, but it looks like I will be writing a weekly blog post for the CrossFit Marin blog:

This is blogmaster Ben signing off. I am going to leave you all with some amusing quotes about dunking that I just found on

"I'm not a big sports fan, but I love it when they "slam dunk." That's sexy."
Emma Bunton

"I'm not a role model... Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids."
Charles Barkley

"If I weren't earning $3 million a year to dunk a basketball, most people on the street would run in the other direction if they saw me coming."
Charles Barkley

"It's like all guys want to do is make a dunk, grab their shirt and yell out and scream - they could be down 30 points but that's what they do. Okay, so you made a dunk. Get back down the floor on defense!"
Oscar Robertson

"My first dunk was actually in sixth grade."
Vince Carter


  1. Congratulations Ben. Great job!!!

    Thanks for the behind the scenes process and honest thoughts and feelings about reaching your goal.

    It is very much about the process--when i've run marathons, much like you upon reflection the training was the best part with my training prartners, running in all kinds of weather and making sacrifices to stay on goal. Race day can either go your way or not, so the process is what i treasure.

    I've also seen this in business, especially when a team sets to achieve a project, new business win, etc. The goal is very important, but right after the presentation/project is done, a hollowness more often than not emerges among the team members, looking for their next challenge.

    It's great that your quest has given you lessons in many ways.

  2. BlogMaster Ben,

    Thanks for sharing your insights and progress along the way. I enjoyed following the blog and reading all of the articles. I definitely have taken a lot of the advice given in the blog, and appreciate you sharing everything. Sad that 'The Quest' is over, but looking forward to keep reading more of your stuff else where.

    Congratulations on the success!

  3. Thanks guys. You were both extremely supportive throughout the entire process and I really appreciate it.

  4. i am sorry that this particular quest is over, but the beauty of life is that we can always come up with another one! for what do we really have other than a series of quests, some of our own making (like your quest for dunkage) and some that are thrust upon us (like figuring out how to make a living). one can only move forward, history is a great for learning lessons past, but one shouldn't live there.

    go get 'em ben! and good luck at your new school.

  5. Congratulations!! I was looking around for information on what people were using to achieve the goal of being able to dunk and found your blog.

    Very very inspiring. Specific focused training based on knowledge and you sticking with the plan is always a winning route.