The A Shot For Life Gauntlet started in 2017 with 30 players setting out to play basketball for 24 hours as a nod to the 24 hour emotional and physical struggle that cancer patients face when they are diagnosed.
Medical staff, masseuses, and athletic trainers are all on hand to monitor and take care of our players. The ASFL Gauntlet's 24 hour structure makes for a safe but challenging fundraiser. In the first year, however, one challenge arose that could not be anticipated: we lost heat in the building on an exceptionally cold night in November 2017.
Our players were freezing, and the Gauntlet quickly lived up to its name as our 30 participants not only fought through extreme fatigue, but freezing temperatures as well. The culture of the ASFL Gauntlet was established on that night in 2017. People were cold, people were tired and unable to sleep due to the temperature, but no one complained. Our shared experience going through that additional challenge bonded everyone in the facility. Our players made it through the 24 hours under conditions more difficult than any of them anticipated. Those players laid the groundwork for what the ASFL Gauntlet would become, and many of those players are back at the event annually to this day. It should be noted, we have never lost the heat again.
Fast forward four years and the ASFL Gauntlet has exploded into a robust initiative involving hundreds of players from a variety of basketball and non basketball backgrounds. For high school players, college players, adults, and those who do not identify as basketball players at all – the ASFL Gauntlet has a home for everyone. In the eight-court facility of the Starland Sportsplex, players are placed on a floor that is comfortable for them and they have free range to change floors if they want more or less intensity.
The atmosphere at the ASFL Gauntlet has the light and fun feel of an all-star game rather than the intensity of a competitive basketball game. Although the event is a serious physical challenge where players will have to fight through the inevitable wall of exhaustion, the community element of the event makes the ASFL Gauntlet a strong bonding experience. In a marathon event a participant is running alongside other runners, but more often than not it is a solitary experience. In the ASFL Gauntlet our players are on a multi-hundred person team with others going through this challenge with them. While some participants register in groups of friends, others register for the ASFL Gauntlet alone. Either way, the ASFL Gauntlet has the atmosphere where all participants are going to make new friends. Many of our players come back year after year because ASFL is their team.