Nothing But Chain

Remember the McDonalds commercial that has Larry Bird and Michael Jordan playing a game of where the first person who misses gets the Big Mac and fries? Each star drains one crazy shot after another until Jordan is shooting from the parking lot. Each player ends their shot call with the phrase, “nothing but net” while we hear the loud swoosh sound

I love that sound. It brings back so many great memories as a kid. My dad had a basketball stand installed in our front yard overlooking the driveway. My friends and I would play for hours until it was dark and we couldn’t see the rim. Only mom yelling for us to come inside for dinner would pull us off the court. My favorite shot to take, especially when going for the win in a game of H-O-R-S-E, was the long bomb from the street. Any shot fired in from there was sure to put a quick end to the game. I’d practice the street shot for hours and hours. What made the shot especially difficult was the sun was in your face most of the time. I’d squint, take a quick look in the direction of the rim, get a running start and launch the ball from my hip. It’s a 1 in 30 shot if that.

But oh the sound of that net when the ball swished in! You could hear the swoosh from across the street. The sound of the ball whipping the net up and over the rim was music to my ears. The swoosh meant I’d hit the perfect shot. No rim, no backboard. Nothing but net.

I thought of this commercial as I shot baskets at a local elementary school tonight while my son played soccer. There were six baskets to shoot at and all had these terrible nets made of chain. I can imagine they use metal nets because they are less likely to be stolen and may last longer than those made of nylon. When I was in elementary school we’d start the year off with brand new white nets on all the baskets. By the end of the year the nets were stained black and most were torn or had been removed entirely.

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Neither Bird nor Jordan would approve of this net at Hazelwood Elementary.

So I guess that a chain net is better than no net at all. But part of the fun of shooting baskets is hearing the swoosh sound when you nail a shot from long range. It’s a sound anyone who plays sports will instantly recognize. The chain nets make a terrible sound as they clank around after a made shot. The reward for making a basket is that the chain shaves off a bit of your ball like a cheese grater does to a block of cheddar.

In the quest to reduce the amount of maintenance to these baskets, we’ve removed one of the nuances that make basketball such an enjoyable sport. I say bring back the nylon nets. So what if the nets need to be replaced once or twice a year. The kids should be rewarded with the sound of swooshing nets when they make a basket.

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