To say life has presented more than its share of challenges the last few months is a huge understatement.

Fears over the spread of the coronavirus and the ensuing stay-at-home order has forced many of us to drastically change how and when we do everything.

Standing in long lines to buy essential items like toilet paper, wearing masks to cover our faces and communicating through Zoom or Facebook Messenger has taken the place of personal interaction.

For me, it’s led to a seemingly endless list of “honey-do” chores in my yard, something that I have never really taken pride in and have neglected for way too many years.

But others, specifically those in the Kern County basketball community, have decided to take a more literal approach to those challenges — by posting direct challenges through social media.

We can all remember the Ice Bucket Challenge, popularized in 2014, with people posting short videos of them dumping ice-cold water over their heads to help raise awareness for those suffering from ALS. From bottle flipping to Tik Tok dance challenges, people will do just about anything these days.

The latest craze that has started to take hold on social media is the deep-ball challenge, where an athlete posts a video of them making a long shot and challenges another to do the same.

Bakersfield Christian boys basketball coach Garrett Brown and former East High star Chris Clayton have both participated. Brown is shown heaving a 50-foot shot from his neighbor’s driveway into his portable hoop across the street in front of his house. He caught a little rim as it was going through, but impressive just the same.

Clayton duplicated the feat, stepping several feet off the concrete to sink a baseline shot from a dirt area beside his home. Nothing but net. But what would you expect from someone local sports personality Vance Palm has nicknamed, “The Godfather of Pure Shooting,” earned after helping lead the Blades to the 1994 CIF state boys title and finishing his college career at Texas A&M.

“I’m gonna be honest, I put the camera up and it took me about a minute and 25 seconds,” said Clayton, as he fought through his increasing laughter to tell his story. “I couldn’t make it and the wind was blowing. And I was throwing it and it just wouldn’t go in. And it’s from the side so it’s hard to measure it.”

Clayton’s challenge video is just one of many that he has posted from his backyard. He’s also demonstrated how to practice your fade-away jumper and how to keep your cardio up by running up and down the carpeted stairs in his house.

It’s all very amusing stuff, but it got me to start thinking (another novelty some may argue, but I digress).

Fresh off hearing this week that the CIF has decided to vacate the state basketball championships this year, I was struck with an idea. With Bakersfield Christian and East not allowed to play in their respective championship games after they were canceled March 12, why not let Brown and Clayton decide things?

It might sound silly, and I know it would never be allowed to happen, but wouldn’t it be great if Brown could challenge someone from the Eagles’ scheduled D-IV finals opponent Brookside Christian to a game of HORSE. Or maybe they could call it CHAMPS. Brown made a living making deep 3-pointers at Centennial High, Bakersfield College and Grand Canyon, and he obviously still has range.

Clayton could provide the same service for East, which was scheduled to play Ross-Branson in the girls D-V title game. At 44 years old, Clayton still has game, so why not give him a shot?

“I think I’d do pretty well in that,” said Clayton with a chuckle.

Or maybe one of the two could just step to half court, set their feet, rise up and let it fly. If they make it, the Eagles and Blades are state champs. If they miss … well …?

“That means they might as well give us the trophy then,” said Brown with a laugh. “I’ll play one-on-one, I’ll play HORSE, I’ll do a shooting contest with anyone in upper management at CIF. If I win, we’re all named co-state champions. If I don’t, then I’ll shut the heck up.”

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