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Maryland first grader Blake Harper hits free throw, wins day off for entire school

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The Monday after the Super Bowl is always high on the list of days we all wish was a national holiday, but isn’t. Instead of relaxing and nursing a hangover in the comfort of one’s own home and pajamas, most Americans relax and nurse a hangover while pretending to do work at the office. Kids are no different: They want the day off from school after staying up late to watch the entire game … and the postgame celebrations … and the premier of whatever trashy reality show follows the Super Bowl.

Now imagine that you could have that day off, but only if a first grader hit a freethrow. If that doesn’t make one’s stomach turn, it’s hard to know what would. After all, how often does a first grader prove reliable from the charity stripe.

Well, now America knows of one. Meet Blake Harper, a Bethesda, Md. student who came through with the biggest unguarded shot in Montgomery County in 2013.

On the Friday before the Super Bowl, Bethesda (Md.) Mater Dei School had a competition to determine whether everyone would have to come to school on Monday. First, two older students were given the chance to connect on three-pointers. They missed. Then came young Harper.

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The first grader, looking awfully diminutive that far from the basket, put up his shot, saw it fall through the hoop and then was immediately mobbed by a crush of celebrating students.

Naturally, they had good reason to. After all, when’s the last time you saw anyone younger than 18 not celebrate an unexpected day off from school.

There’s no word yet as to whether Harper plans to continue playing basketball as he grows older. He has plenty of time to make those kinds of decisions. Yet even if he does, he’ll have a hard time topping the shot he put up from the free throw line in first grade.

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