Issue 138: Getting a Ball Through a Hoop Without Using Your Hands

In the United States, the Monday after Thanksgiving is always tough.

Some of us have been off since Wednesday night (or longer), gorging on food until our pants don’t even come close to fitting.

Retail workers—and I commend you for your bravery and patience—have been dealing with disgruntled shoppers trying to score a 10% discount on candelabras or gingerbread houses or whatever Black Friday deal has hit the market.

It’s all a lot to bear. And on Monday, we’re fatigued, cranky, and waking up is a little bit more difficult than usual.

So, to bid adieu to Thanksgiving, let’s appreciate something from a country that doesn’t really celebrate the holiday at all.

I’ve recently gotten into the British comedy show Taskmaster, which is a panel game show, something that used to be popular across the globe in the past but seems to only still thrive in the UK (which is too bad, because they are hilarious).

The general premise of the show is simple: a panel of five celebrities, often comedians, walk into a situation and pick up an envelope. That envelope holds a task, giving a set of instructions on what to do, and if there are any restrictions when performing the task.

For example, a task might ask the participants to remove a piece of currency from underneath a full pint of beer without spilling a drop of said beer. Or, you might try to hide eggplants (or aubergines, as the show calls it) in a room and see how long it takes someone to find them.

Taskmaster then gives us a glimpse at how each participant fares. It cuts between the tasks and the panel of comedians commenting on their performance. Co-host Alex Horne (who is also there to assist the participants) gives an update on the final weight/points/mess/whatever the people are trying to do, and Greg Davies (the taskmaster) awards points accordingly, often while being hypercritical of the panel.

Put it all together and you’ve got one delightful show.

In this particular task below, the participants are asked to get a basketball through a hoop without using their hands.

Before you watch how everyone scores, think about what you’d do in that situation. Are you finding a tool? Kicking or kneeing the ball? Displacing the hoop with another one?

That’s part of what I like about this series—it gives you lots of laughs while also encouraging creative thinking skills. Check it out below and keep yourself sharp!

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