After too many consecutive days with only me and Annette and pavement and cold, it was happily back to the gym tonight with a few human rebounders — new-old friend Bob Jandrue, the Peabody, Mass. high school teacher who e-mailed after hearing the NPR segment and joined us for the first time a few weeks ago, and two of his students — Alex Hernandez and Joe Fronduto.
(Back in my journalism days, I was known by my editors for writing painfully long sentences. They’d have loved that one up there.)
So … I had a feeling we were going to get something serious accomplished just by watching Alex and Joe toss the ball around as I was getting ready. “Plenty of athleticism here,” Bob had said. True that.
I instructed them on how the two-ball thing works, with two under the hoop and one next to me — the two feeding the one, and the one feeding me. No breaks, but the three rotate every 100 makes. Pretty much always a ball either just shot or ready to be shot. They were ready. I was ready. Records were going to be shattered. The world was going to stop in its tracks to pay homage.
So then we got to shooting and, well … I was kind of, um, flat. Make several, miss a couple, make several, miss a couple. No real significant streaks to speak of, so we were going along okay, but at a pace that wasn’t doing their superior services justice.
Each of the three had a unique hand-off style. Bob would kind of swing the ball out to his right and then stuff it back into my hands. Alex would hold it perfectly still, waist-high, just in front of me. Joe would stand about five feet to my right and toss it, so just as the shot ball was making its landing up at the rim, he was tossing … usually I didn’t even have to look his way, but could see enough peripherally to have his perfect passes land in my hands on their way up.
Anyway, they provided a nice mix, and kept things interesting — most interesting, I should say, when Alex fired back one particularly errant pass that just happened to nail me right in the, let’s say, lower midsection. Right, the delicate part.
Turns out it was one of very few miscues on their part. Bob, Alex and Joe were probably rebounding at a pace that could have netted us 2,600 had I been anything better than mediocre … but we ended up landing on a still-very-respectable 2,500, in just about 2 hours and 30 seconds. And with that, we crossed over the 17 percent threshold, at 171,107 down, 828,893 to go to 1 million made foul shots.
Afterward, the three of them then had their own foul shooting competition, and following a first-round tie between Joe and Bob, Joe put the clamps down in overtime for the victory. And finally, it was Joe (in black) vs. Alex (in white) in a one-on-one showdown highlighted by Alex’s 3-point prowess, as seen below.
Thanks for the help, guys. I hope to see you again before this is all said and done.