Soldiers shoot hoops for prize money
May 11, 2009
CASEY GARRISON - Soldiers crowded outside the Gateway Club the evening of April 23 to practice their jump shot in preparation for the Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation hosted Freedom Shot Basketball Competition. The competition was held in observance of the Prostitution and Human Trafficking Abatement weekend. Soldiers who won the competition were awarded $1,000 for their unit funds.
The rules to win the prize money for the males were simply stated: make a 50 foot jump shot by any means necessary without crossing the 50 foot marker and the money is theirs. The same rules applied to females with one exception: females shot from 45 feet.
The tournament began with Jim Williams, USAG-Casey FMWR sports director, drawing names from a bowl to decide the shooting order.
After every one shot, and no one made their shots, Williams and FMWR personnel moved both the male and female lines closer to the goal by 5 feet for the next round of attempts.
At a casual glance, the shot looks easy; however the 50 foot shot, 3 feet longer than a half court shot for professional basketball players in the National Basketball Association, gave competitors a run for the money.
"I play a little bit and think I am an OK shooter," said Taylor Gaylen, winner of the male competition. "But shooting from 50 feet is different compared to a regular 3 point shot."
The female competitors were the first to rise to the challenge in round two with Brandie Dickinson immediately sinking her shot in good style.
"I shot five times before making it," Dickinson said. "Since I shot so many times, I was determined to make this one."
"We have a few trips coming for the Soldiers in our unit, and have other events planned, so we are going to use the funds to sponsor some of the trips," Dickinson added when asked what her unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Company 70th Brigade Support Battalion, would do with the prize money.
It took another round and an excessive amount of jeering from the females before Gaylen was able to end the competition for the males and for the evening.
"I felt close to making it every time," Gaylen said. "I just wanted to end the competition."
"We (FMWR) wanted to start the P/HT abatement weekend with Soldiers coming out and having fun," Williams said. "The prize money came from the FMWR budget. I try to think of some creative sport competitions where they can have an opportunity to raise funds for their unit."