Make Your Own Madness

A Guide to Home Basketball System.
Everyone who’s shot at a hoop in the driveway has done it. You shoot a 3-pointer, trying to replicate one of the most exciting plays in all of sports: the buzzer-beater. THREE! TWO! ONE! And everyone screams out the iconic final horn sound.
As spring gets into full swing and the sun shines a little longer each day, it’s no coincidence that you hear more basketballs bouncing on driveways across America. While college basketball’s best create madness on the court, it’s easy to create hardwood moments in your own driveway.
It doesn’t take much to have the essentials required to re-create that unforgettable Villanova game-winner from last year’s tourney. Thanks to Spalding, the Official Backboard of the Final Four, there are plenty of choices for any budget.
Baller Basics
Given so many different brands, types, materials and sizes, selecting the right basketball can sometimes be a challenging task. You’ll find indoor-only, which are often genuine leather or a leather composite; indoor-outdoor, providing a little more durability to withstand concrete surfaces; and outdoor-only, which are usually rubber and are the most durable for outdoor surfaces.
Ben Simms of Spalding suggests asking yourself, “Where am I going to be playing the most?”
Once that question is answered, he explained, all you have to do is check the packaging on Spalding products. has a module on their website that can help guide as well.
Portable Pros
There are countless benefits to adding a portable basketball system to a player’s arsenal. You can not only go out and shoot on a whim, but with the technological advances found in Spalding hoops, you can also move your hoop around. This lets you bring the game anywhere, from shooting around in the driveway to playing three-on-three in the street.
Portable systems help players of any age or skill level stay in tune and in top shape by having a hoop mere steps away. There’s nothing easier than picking up a ball and going outside.
“Athletes are training year-round to perfect their game,” said Simms. “Having an at-home backboard system allows athletes to stay active, perfect their shots, simulate plays or play a little friendly pickup whenever they want.”
A fantastic feature of Spalding’s “The Beast” system is undoubtedly its size and glass backboard material. At 60 inches, it’s only 12 inches shy of a regulation backboard. And the heavier, more durable glass backboard gives a truer bounce, leading to a more authentic shooting experience.
“The Beast is the first and only 60-inch glass portable,” explained Simms. “You can bring the arena straight to your driveway.”
Backboard to the Future
“After you have identified if you want a portable or an in-ground, there are four main categories we utilize to categorize the systems based on playability: glass, acrylic, polycarbonate and eco-composite,” said Simms. “Each of those are board materials, with glass being the best play and eco-composite being limited play.
Acrylic backboards feature a solid rebound and bounce, but they are not quite as strong as glass. Acrylic is, however, optimal for competitive play. Polycarbonate won’t give you as true of a bounce but is still a great option for shooting around with friends. Eco-composite won’t give you that gym-like shooting experience, but it will be a perfect start for that young college baller to be.
Every March, college basketball offers more than enough madness to go around. And it’s only the kickoff to springs and summers filled with dunks, 3-pointers and pickup marathons all over the country. From outdoor balls perfect for the driveway all the way to gym-like backboards like The Beast, Spalding offers the tools to create hours of mad moments this year.
Since the confetti has long fallen in Phoenix and a champion has been crowned, closing another March basketball tournament, grab your ball and some friends and get out to make your own moments. Remember, the clock is ticking: THREE! TWO! ONE!
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Five Spring Stars

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Some of the great joys of spring line the produce aisles of you local produce store or farmers market. Along with the delicious spring harvest comes some great opportunities to up the nutrition content of your diet, while enjoying it more! Fresh, seasonal produce reaps the most nutritional value. We’ve picked five of our favorites to share with you!
• Apricots‘ long growing season last from May to August. Fresh apricots are an excellent source of Vitamins C, E, potassium, and iron, as well as being a great source of beta-carotene. Additionally, two to three apricots offer nearly 50% of your daily value of Vitamin A. Did I mention they’re a great source of fiber with the low-overhead of three for 50 calories!
• Artichokes are available year-round, but the best time for truly fresh artichokes is from March through May. A study done by the USDA found that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable. Some of the powerful antioxidants in artichokes are quercertin, rutin, anthocyanins, cynarin, luteolin, and silymarin. They are also a good source of iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin C. A 2-ounce serving has about 3 grams of fiber… all that for just 25 calories!
• Asparagus is one of the first foods to signal the beginning of spring. Fresh asparagus are at their peak from March through June. They are a good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K; and are also a very good source of chromium, which heightens the ability of insulin to move glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Additionally, asparagus is rich in of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. Finally, each one of those green spears is brimming with antioxidants that neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Preliminary research shows it may even help slow the aging process!
• Sweet cherries have a short harvest season, from late spring to early summer. They’re not only a highly sought-after summer favorite, they’re a true super fruit! Chock full of antioxidants, they help replace free radicals in your body before they can cause any damage. They are rich in the flavanoid queritrin, one of the most potent anticancer agents and contain ellagic acid, a naturally occurring plant phenolic known as an anti-carcinogenic/anti-mutagenic compound, which some researchers say acid may be the most effective way to prevent cancer. It’s hard to find a treat that offers so much goodness along with great taste!
• Fava beans are a nutrient-dense food that provide a high amount of nutrients packed in a low amount of calories. You can get 10 to 19 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin B1 or thiamin, iron, copper, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium in just 1/4 cup of fava beans.They’re also an excellent source of folate, and manganese, supporting the immune system function and cardiovascular health while enabling metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and cholesterol. Fava beans also have 9 grams of fiber in that 1/4 cup and are particularly rich in soluble fiber which may help improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Leap into spring with a with these high-nutrient and anti-oxidant rich foods for a great, fresh start!
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[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Busy schedules, stress, family, and medical issues can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. Four common problems that arise from lack of needed sleep are depression, memory loss, weakened immune system, and a lower tolerance for pain. Now, recent research indicates that the health costs of sleep deprivation is greater than previously thought.
A recent study restricted a group of young men to four hours of sleep for six consecutive nights. After the sixth night, researchers found levels of glucose spiked for the study participants while production of insulin, the hormone that removes sugar from the blood was reduced. The effect was so strong that the participants’ blood sugar levels rose to between normal and diabetic! Fortunately, blood sugar levels returned to normal after the individuals’ customary sleep patterns were restored, but long-term results remain unknown.
How much sleep is enough sleep? Requirements vary between individuals, however general guidelines are:
• Infants need about 16 hours a day
• Teenagers need about 9 hours on average per day
• Adults need 7 to 8 hours per day, keep in mind that individual requirements for adults vary widely.
Easier said than done? Many of us lie in bed at night, our minds racing with chores, careers and family issues. There are steps you can take that will help ease you into sleep.
• Go to bed the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
• Sleep in a dark, quiet, comfortable environment.
• Exercise daily (but not right before bedtime).
• Turn off the electronics — yes, the computer and cell phone!
• Relax before bedtime. A warm bath or reading both help muscles relax.
• Avoid alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine late in the day.
Feel better … be better, get your sleep!
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Children and Cardiovascular Health

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
We have watched with dismay in the last 30 years as the rates of childhood obesity more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. Now we find there is more to this story. Recently published studies have found that kids are about fifteen percent less aerobically fit than their parents were at the same age! The findings of this research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 in Dallas, TX.
For this large study, researchers analyzed 50 separate studies that concentrated on running and fitness between 1964 and the present that included more than 25 million children who ranged in ages from 9 to 17 years-old in 28 different countries. Timed runs, which were either a set amount of time or set distance, were used as the measure of cardiovascular strength and endurance.
The findings? Over the 46 years during which these studies were conducted, children’s cardiovascular endurance has decreased approximately five percent in every decade. This decrease in cardiovascular strength is accompanied by higher obesity rates. Along with sedentary lifestyles, researchers concluded that between 30 and 60 percent of the decline is directly the result of rising obesity. This decline is made evident by the finding that it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile now than it did in the 1980s!
How did this happen? Inactivity is the main culprit. Children no longer walk to school. Communities are designed without sidewalks, which discourages walking. Schools no longer offer daily physical education. Finally, our kids are sitting in front of the television or computer screens rather than becoming involved in physical activities.
This is a very serious situation, and the lack of a robust cardiovascular system can follow a child throughout his or her entire life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer some important guidelines.
• Kids should exercise for at least 60 minutes a day, most of which should be aerobic exercise, such as walking, running, swimming, gymnastic or bicycling. A minimum of 3 days per week should include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
• Include muscle strengthening exercises, such as gymnastics, pull-ups or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes of fitness activity.
• Don’t forget bone-strengthening activities! Try jumping rope, gymnastics, running or hiking, also at least 3 days per week.
• Stretching offers more flexibility and help protect your child against injuries. Include side-stretches or toe-touching bends or go for martial arts, dance or gymnastics.
Give your children the gifts of a lifetime … help them pursue active and healthy lifestyles!
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