There are some great outdoor basketball courts near our office building, so in the spring and fall, when temperatures permit, we play basketball during our lunch break at work.

One of the software engineers who plays nearly everyday frustrates me to no end—or at least he does when he’s not on my team; otherwise he’s a great guy. You see he’s shorter than I am, balder than I am, has a bigger “stummy” than I do, and yet somehow he manages to be quicker than I am, and jump higher than I do. Consequently he steals the ball from me on a regular basis, blocks my shots when I try to shoot over him, and gets rebound that he shouldn't.

And did I mention he’s a software engineer? Where does he get off breaking out of his stereotype and being good at basketball!? I mean it was okay when he beat me at Halo despite the fact that it was my game/xbox/projector we were playing with. He’s a software engineer! They’re supposed to be good at video games and computer stuff…but basketball? Isn’t that a little unfair? You can’t be good at everything.

I could never understand how he managed this until recently he revealed his secret to me. It’s a technique he’s been perfecting for some time now. It’s based on what he refers to as his “Theory of Fluid Dynamics.” Now I’m not sure I completely understand all the technicalities and subtle nuances of this theory, but the basic gist is that you use the “fluid nature” of your own body to your advantage.
For example, when you’re about to jump, you give a quick downward squat to send your “stummy” (this is Ben’s technical term) downward. Then, as your “stummy” reaches it’s lowest point and begins to rebound upward, you straighten your legs and jump with all you’ve got. The upward momentum of all your “stummy” mass carries you higher than you would normally be able to jump. See diagram below for clarification:

Fluid Dynamics

Evidently, this smashes a theory of my own. I called my theory the “Ice Princess Movie is Complete Bollux Theory”. My wife made me watch this movie (and then go ice skating which was more fun). The premise of the movie is that a science-geek girl becomes a champion ice skater by studying the physics of ice skater movements. I thought this was ridiculous, but evidently a strong understanding of scientific principles coupled with a little practice can lead to phenomenal results. I stand corrected (and sometimes blocked :( ).

Maybe in another post I’ll explain Ben’s other, less-scientific, basketball theory. I’m not sure if he’s named it yet, but I call it the “Theory of Fouling Really Hard When Your Opponent is About to Score Over You and There’s Nothing Else You Can Do About It.” It’s a pretty long name, so Ben probably calls it something better.

Linda Winegar

My greatest blessings call me Mom.