For the second year in a row the North Carolina Tar Heels have proceeded on to the Final Four, but it wasn’t exactly their best performance towards the end of the game. According to this article by the New York Times, as time winded down, the Tar Heels were sent to the free throw line by the opposing team where they missed 4 free throw shots consecutively. Miraculously, the ball was retrieved by a teammate at the hoop both times and they were gifted with a fortunate win.
When analyzing this typical situation in competitive basketball games, it came to my attention that there is actually a strong philosophical presence in the circumstances of being forced to shoot a free throw when everything is on the line.
The theory that came to mind initially was written on by Calhoun in Integrity. In her terms, this means that an individual has no dissonance between what they believe and what their actions are.
This extrapolates directly to the game of basketball. Players learn at a very young age the value of a free throw and that one free throw can be the difference between kissing a trophy and kissing your championship dreams goodbye. This value is engrained into each players mind when they are growing up and by the time they are good enough to reach the college level it is well understood- one would think.
Paradoxically, the performance at the free throw line in crunch time by one of the best teams in the nation shows how many players prepared for such a situation. In order to make those game-winning free throws with ease, a player must practice a plethora of free throws in their spare time. Moreover, their values must be in action while no one is watching in order for them to render desired results in the spotlight.