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My favourite sport far and away is basketball.  Although my first sport was actually hockey (beginning at age 5), I began playing basketball at the age of 11 and quickly fell in love with the quick & explosive full bodied movements that it fostered.

The other great perks that the sport provided was that it was very inexpensive, required little equipment and could be played with little pre-planning- ie. no rink time had to be arranged, and courts were plentiful and accessible.  This allowed me to play frequently and at almost any time I desired.

My entire teenage years were consumed with playing basketball and although I didn’t realize it at the time, it provided me with a strong body and athletic foundation that I still carry with me to this day.  The countless hours that I spent playing also gave me an outlet to expend the incredible amount of energy that I had (and as most teenagers do).  And as I was constantly spending every spare moment I had on the court, it also kept me out of trouble ;-)

The important skills and physical development that basketball provided were many:

-hand eye coordination, agility, balance, strength, power, speed, reaction time, cardiovascular endurance, good bodily coordination, and a good foundation of movement skills.

In addition, the mechanical stress that was placed on my body provided a good foundation for my bones.  The teenage years are a critical time of peak bone growth, and doing resistance training or explosive jumping & running sports can add more bone in the ‘bone bank’ by up to 20 years!  This is another reason why it is so important for children and youth to be involved in physical activity- it can have a major positive impact on future bone health!

Basketball has provided me with 20 years of fun, exercise, competition, teamwork, teammates (that have become good friends), and good disciplined work habits.  I still love to play it and still have much to thank for it.

Happy Ballin’ :)

Andrew Burchell

Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist

aburchell@stayfitanywhere.com

At a BBQ on the weekend, I found myself talking with a couple of friends from high school about basketball. Specifically, we were discussing how we couldn’t quite do what we used to be able to do. We found ourselves talking about how when we were in high school we used to be leaner, faster, quicker, and more explosive.  As the conversation went on, somehow, we ended up making a bet. Between 3 of us, we made a bet that the first one of us to slam dunk a basketball on a 10 foot hoop before December 25th, would win $100.  A fourth friend overheard this and promptly said that he would personally throw in an additional $100 to the winner… if there is one.  The 3 of us shook on it, and that was it.

Now I need to give you a breakdown & profile of my fellow competitors:

-Sam:  6’4″, 265lbs (currently 45lbs overweight), last dunk:  2000

-Ryan:  6’3″, 195lbs (apparently in good shape), last dunk:  1997

-Me (Andrew):  5’10, 175lbs (good condition but could be better), last dunk:  2003

When you look at this, you can clearly see that I am at a disadvantage with my height.  But I have dunked twice in my life.  And the times that I did dunk was when I was actually training to do it!  I have the knowledge to train for this feat, now all I have to do is go out there and do it.  Sam also seems at a disadvantage with being overweight.  But he has a degree in Kinesiology and he has been a personal trainer for 12 years.  He also has the training know-how for this.  And this has given him the motivation to drop those extra pounds!  So it seems that Ryan is currently in the best position to win this.  However, he is a lawyer, and works at a desk all day, nor does he possess the training knowledge that Sam and myself do.

So the bet is on, and I have every intention of winning this contest.  I think it will be a great way to challenge myself and apply my training knowledge.  But mostly, I just want my good friends to know that they lost to someone 6 inches shorter than them ;)

-Andrew