My appointed task this afternoon was the assembly of a brand-spanking-new adjustable basketball goal for the older boys. Actually, to be completely honest, while it is absolutely new and was still in the box until just this afternoon, we’ve really had it for two months. Santa brought it for Christmas, but didn’t have the decency to put it together. And as I’ve mentioned before, this part of the world has actual winter, meaning that every day that I’ve had enough time to work on it, the outside temperature has been roughly equivalent to Antarctica’s average afternoon low.
My ability to work with tools is limited enough. I don’t need to add environmental handicaps to my mediocrity.
Since we were blessed with some downright pleasant weather this week and today reached an absolutely balmy 54, I decided it was time to get out the tools and put together that basketball goal. Unfortunately, the manufacturer’s instruction manual left a few things out.
Some other tools would certainly have been helpful.
That second panel really isn’t that much of an exaggeration. Sure, the liquor probably wouldn’t have helped much, but a couple of extra pairs of arms would have made the whole operation go a lot smoother. Then again, having a seven year-old “helping” was surprisingly less actual help than you’d think. As it turns out, having a child dribble a basketball right beside one’s head while holding a backboard assembly flush to a 12 foot-long steel post while trying to make a pair of holes meet up just so doesn’t really help all that much. Also, being asked if you’re almost done so they can shoot baskets Every. Thirty. Seconds. will tend to, um, wear on one’s patience.
Finally, two hours and an impressive (and perhaps shocking) litany of muttered curses later, the assemble-ation was finished. Of course, the thing still wasn’t quite ready for use. Without filling the base with some medium capable of acting as a counterweight to the backboard and rim 10 feet above, as soon as a basketball touched it the whole thing would come crashing to Earth like the meteors in the opening scenes of the movie Armageddon.
Such a result would perhaps be slightly less than optimal.
Although I felt like I’d just put together the Brooklyn Bridge by hand, alone, I nonetheless then began the process of attempting to insert 300+ pounds of play sand into a 3×2 plastic base through a hole the size of a nickel, using a plastic funnel. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried something like that yourself, but for reference, allow me to suggest that your average bag of home improvement store play sand isn’t exactly the right stuff for the job. I’m not sure exactly what kind of sand might slide through a funnel effortlessly, but what I’d purchased needed the kind of encouragement a you’d have to apply to push an Asian elephant through a nuclear submarine hatch.
And then repeat that process with six more bags of sand.
Lucky, finally, our very own basketball goal rose from the ground triumphantly, and my sons shot baskets for 15 minutes. Of course, by then, it was dark and time to come in for showers.
Still, Achievement Unlocked.
Now, who wants a game?