The title of this article makes me smile. My experiment with quitting alcohol and caffeine for a month reminded me of time in high school when I bet a friend that I wouldn’t masturbate for 40 days and nights.
It all started with the terrible film 40 days and 40 nights starting Josh Hartnett. In the movie, player Hartnett completes a bet that he can go 40 days without sexual contact. When the movie was over I turned to my friend Eric and said, “I bet I could go 40 days without masturbating.” Sexual contact with a female was rare enough at the time.
We debated for several minutes about whether or not it was possible. “I bet you 10 bucks I can do it,” I said. Eric gladly accepted the bet. I have no idea why I said 10 when I could have got at least 50.
But regardless, the ridiculous bet was on.
The first few weeks of the bet were difficult, to say the least. In the beginning, I considered just giving in and coughing up the 10 bucks. Later, I considered cheating without telling anyone. But I knew that was wrong. I had to win this bet for my manhood.
Things got interesting around the 30 day mark. I had already pushed through the hardest days – pun completely intended because I was I waking up every morning to Mount Everest under the covers. I knew I was going to make it all the way but I started getting some unexpected side-effects.
The bet took place in the heart of the basketball season. Our team began league play undefeated, as did our rivals, the Cougars.
I was having a pretty insignificant season at that point. Bad knees and plenty of excuses were hurting my performance on the court. But when it came time to face the Cougars for first place bragging rights, I was completely backed up, my tanks completely full.
The highly anticipated showdown got underway with me riding the bench. I waited, a little more anxious than usual, to get my chance to play. When the coach called my number near the end of the first quarter, I was ready.
The Cougars star point guard, a top college prospect who went on to play at SDSU, and might be in jail as I write this, licked his lips as he watched me enter the court. He was thinking he had fresh meat.
When the first shot left my hands, I knew this game was different. Nothing but the bottom of the net. I only took 3 shots in the first half, making 2 three-pointers.
The second half was a completely different animal. I suddenly became unstoppable. At first the Cougar’s star stuck to guarding the better players, but as I drained shots, he was assigned to me.
I thanked him for his efforts by hitting a couple turn around jump shots in his face.
I was pointing at people, slapping teammates asses, and enjoying myself for the first time in a long time. “Wow, basketball is awesome when you score.” But the real heroics were yet to come.
With under a minute in the game, I was still making shots, but I was getting winded. I never usually played this many minutes. But, with the ball in our hands, tie score, and chance to win the game, I knew I needed to step up.
In a timeout huddle, my coach asked everyone who should get the ball for the last shot. They all agreed to give it to the guy who was hot – me.
With less than 10 seconds I dribbled outside the three point line, my defender staring and anticipating. I remember the next few seconds clearly because they were the slowest of my life.
I dribbled the base line expecting someone to challenge me. The center stepped up but before he could block off the sideline I was around him under the basket, floating in the air.
In that moment I knew I was going to make the shot. I didn’t even need to look back to make sure it went through the net.
The next game, marked the end of the 40 days and nights challenge. I knocked down 16 points in a blowout of the Patriots. I had turned the corner.
But that night, I went against my better judgement. I decided I had waited long enough. The points I was scoring were just because I was finally playing well. I was finally living up to my potential. They had nothing to do with the bet.
2 minutes later, my life screamed back to normal.
Despite my inflated upper head, the deflated lower head was the winner. The next game I barely got off the board. I returned to the bench.
When we played the Cougars again, the coaches started me hoping to rekindle the magic. But it was gone. I scored 2 points in front of a disappointed home crowd.