Ritual – American

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: San Diego, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: March 2007
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

When at the free throw line- 3 dribbles and a deep breath then shoot

My informant grew up playing and watching basketball, so it would make sense that he would play for his middle and upper school basketball teams.  Since my informant grew up watching basketball, he saw many different players approach the free throw line every game and do something before they let the ball out of their hands for the shot.  After watching basketball for many years, my informant developed his own technique.  It is common for players to dribble the ball and then shoot, but my informant added his own touch, “the deep breath.”  He said the reason for this method before shooting a free throw is to “give me a method before each shot to get a rhythm and make sure all free throws are consistent.”  Moreover, it is obvious that this method is done while the informant gets fouled and goes to the free throw line.

The reason why this ritual is so important in my informant’s world today is because he loves basketball.  Whether it is going outside on a warm day to play a pick-up game or just watching a game on ESPN, my informant just loves being a part of the game of basketball.  He grew up as a huge fan of the NBA, so it makes complete sense that basketball means so much to his life.  Even though his favorite hobby is music, he loves doing anything involving basketball.

When I interview my informant, I asked him what he thought of this free throw ritual and he said “it works and as long as it keeps my head in the game I will continue to use it.  My view on this ritual is that it is an extremely good idea, because basketball is such a complicated sport that one needs a certain ritual on a free throw.  If one doesn’t have a set ritual, it makes the game that much more confusing.  The free throw is the one part of the game that allows one to pause for a few seconds and take everything in.  You are standing at a line to shoot two free shots with no one guarding you, and because of this it helps to have a ritual to make this situation a calm one.