The A Shot For Life Gauntlet started in 2017, 30 players set out to play basketball for 24 hours straight as a nod to the 24 hour emotional and physical battle that cancer patients must fight. The ASFL Gauntlet was planned to be a return to our roots with its 24 hour structure, but we were determined to make it far more safe. Doctors, nurses, masseuses, catered food, and athetlic trainers were all on hand to take care of our players and make sure the event was as safe as possible. There was, however, one hurdle we could not anticipate: we lost heat in the building on an exceptionally cold night in November.
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 the most difficult conditions imaginable. 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.
Fast forward four years and the ASFL Gauntlet has exploded into a robust initiative involving hundreds of players from all different basketball and non basketball backgrounds. 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 is light and fun rather than intense. Although the event is a serious physical challenge where players will have to fight through the inevitable wall of exhaustion, the community feel of the experience makes it much easier to get through. In a marathon event you are running alongside other runners, but more often than not it is a solitary experience. In the ASFL Gauntlet you’re on a multi-hundred person team all going through a challenge together. Many of our players originally registered for the ASFL Gauntlet alone and after they left with dozens of friends – they come back year after year because this is their team.