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Although I was, Please don’t call me a gym-rat.  I’m going with GymAlien (I got your gym-rat right here).

Just Kidding .  But believe it or not, as a kid I had this friend that thought I was an Alien!? I know, right? A cute little girl that I pushed on the swing when she had no one to help her, used to follow me around the playground. One day she asked me my name, and I wrote it in the sand… Jim Allen it said… but I guess the second ‘L’ wasn’t perfect and looked like an ‘i’ to her, because she kept asking, “Really? Are you Really?” I didn’t understand at first, asking back, “am I really, what? What I wrote in the sand? Yes!” … I still giggle.  And so, from then on she thought I was Jim her Alien friend!  Hilarious, huh?

Anyway, as a child they called me Jimmy because dad was Jim. I went by Jim as soon as I could get people to stop calling me ‘Jimmy’. Then I started going by James when I got “Born Again” and then baptized at Fred Price’s church back in ’93. Yet, I choose to use GymAlien as a social media handle. Too bad almost nobody gets it ‘till I explain.

I did not understand at the time that if my athletic and intellectual scores are at the 98.7th percentile I can only expect maybe 1 or 2 other people in a room of 100 to understand me. So, if you don’t get part of what I’m saying… don’t worry… you’ll get it eventually, if you just keep shooting.

James Allen Jr. is a basketball loving guy that grew up in the Long Beach and Orange County California area. I lived in San Diego for a year way back when Bill Walton, Marcus Johnson, and Norm Nixon were occasionally healthy at the same time. I know the hoopin’ youngling’s won’t understand but, don’t try to tell me the Clippers are an L.A. basketball team.

This is a Laker town and I’m a Laker fan since before the 33 game win streak. Wilt, Jerry West (the logo), and Elgin Baylor introduced me to basketball. Actually my grandma got me occasionally listening to the Lakers on the radio starting around ’69 when they got Wilt Chamberlain to fill out their ‘not quite good enough to win it all’ roster.

So anyway, I’m a guy who shot baskets as a way of escaping and a way of having fun. I didn’t make my jr high school team for two years before they let me on the team. I shot and shot on the side basket for hours a day, eventually getting very good at shooting. Yet, I wasn’t a starter so I continued to shoot.

Day after day, year after year I shot alone if there wasn’t a game to play in. In my late 20’s I became Very Good… good enough to be asked to go back to college because the local Fullerton College team wanted me to join them! A couple years later I found an old book (Zen and the Art of Archery) I’d read as a youngster and reread it.

To my astonishment, I actually filled ALL the boxes lived ALL the steps… I was actually a Zen Master at shooting a basketball, according to the authors steps and completion (not conferred by Zen monks, of course; just me). And it makes sense… I’ve helped pro’s shoot better. I can help you too.