Last winter, 5'3" Chris Robinson was seeing limited action with the basketball team at Sheridan (Ark.) Junior High School. As any 14-year-old would, he wanted to get off the bench and into the games. So each day after practice he worked by himself in the gym—shooting, dribbling and shooting some more.
One day, after a long solo shooting session, he heard that the Grant County Bank was offering a $25 savings bond to anyone who could sink a shot from half court during a halftime program the bank sponsored at all Sheridan High School home games. Since he was alone in the old junior high gym, Chris decided to try the long shot.
He walked to the midcourt stripe and looked at the hoop. He set his feet, took a deep breath and let loose with his best one-handed set shot. It fell short of the goal, far short. Chris retrieved the ball and tried a two-hander. It was a bit closer but nowhere near close enough. He stepped back from the midcourt stripe, took two giant steps and shot again. No luck. Next, he tried a full run-and-shoot two-hander; after that, a hop-skip-and-launch shot; and, finally, an underhand scoop shot.
All failed to make the distance.
One more try. This time he came up with the shot that would make Chris Robinson famous. Sort of.
He turned his back to the goal, dipped the ball down between his knees and, with all his strength, heaved the basketball back over his head...and, swish!
Astonished, he tried his shot several more times. He sank a few of them. Sure, he missed more than he made, but he seemed to have a knack that allowed him to make more of these shots than anyone would expect.
At the high school's next home game, he couldn't wait for the halftime program. While his older sister, Courtney, played on the girls' varsity team, Chris ran around scrounging all the ticket stubs he could. He waited anxiously for the number to be drawn that would give the ticket holder a chance for the bank's $25 bond. None of the numbers on his stubs were called.
As the season wore on, Chris waited and watched and cheered for Courtney, who was having a terrific senior year at forward for the Lady Yellowjackets. It is not easy living in the shadow of an older sister who is blessed with athletic skills beyond the ordinary. Courtney was a star in volleyball, too, and was state-ranked in golf. And she was president of the student council. On top of that, she was Homecoming Queen.
Week after week, as Courtney led her team to victory after victory from November through February, Chris awaited the halftime ticket drawings. Each time he carefully examined the ticket stubs he had gathered...and each time he was disappointed.