You know, you get shooting for a couple hours at a time, and your mind tends to wander a bit, maybe even get a little goofy. Kind of like mowing the lawn, if you were counting aloud while you mowed the lawn.
After a while, sometimes, you wonder what in the heck you’re doing, throwing a ball toward a metal circle in the sky, saying a number if the ball goes in, nothing if it doesn’t. Then repeat. Then repeat. Then repeat. Just gets a little puzzling sometimes, in that say-a-word-long-enough-and-it-sounds-like-nonsense kind of way. Maybe a little weird. Like I said, you just get to wondering.
Then you meet a group of kids like Ms. May’s third-graders, and it all comes back.
Epsom Central School is where Noah and Mason currently attend fourth and first grades, respectively, and presumably where Rosie will be educated starting in a couple years. Each of Noah’s and Mason’s teachers has been nothing but wonderful for them personally and professionally, the education has been excellent, and they’ve made some great friends.
Noah didn’t have Ms. May as a teacher, so I don’t know her all that well, but a few months ago she told me that her students had taken it upon themselves to start a Hoops For Heroes fundraiser, and eventually they’d like to make a presentation. That day came yesterday, so at 8:30 a.m. we began the dutiful march from her classroom, on the third floor at one end of the building, to the gymnasium, on the first floor at the exact opposite of the building.
Not a huge K-8 building, but it’s big enough. It was a workout-sized walk.
So we arrived, the kids sat at the midcourt circle, and we talked about the why.
I didn’t have to explain much. They get that “It’s for the soldiers,” as one said matter-of-factly. They get that there are men and women willingly in harm’s way on our behalf every day, and that sometimes the harm finds them. They wanted to help, and they did. I was handed a five-pound, plastic Hood lowfat strawberry yogurt tub, with “Hoops For Heroes” printed in red Sharpie on the side. It was stuffed with 29 dollar bills and a bunch of change.
A very generous $73.10.
After we talked a little longer, we got to shooting. I had made 900 with the dependable if not personally dynamic “Annette” earlier in the morning, and to get to 1,000 for the day, the group — Hayden Drew, Ben Lewis, Kelsey Larson, Ashton Ramsdell, Alex Bachelder, Karley Towne, Makayla Mayotte, Garrett Frew, Luc Blanchette (Hey, neighbor!), Christian Army (who rebounded with his family a few months ago) , Katelyn Young, Alyssa Hubbard, Em Duffy, Kaleb Miller and Domenic Dahood — circled around the key area and took turns rebounding, while Ms. May worked hand-off duty.
In eight minutes or so, we were at 100 for the session, 1,000 for the morning. They each signed the rebounders’ T-shirt, Mr. Nase (who, by the way, made the very first ceremonial shot back in November) took our picture, and off we all went to the workday.
Happy Summer Vacation, Hayden, Ben, Kelsey, Ashton, Alex, Karley, Makayla, Garrett, Luc, Christian, Katelyn, Alyssa, Em, Kaleb and Domenic … and you, too, Ms. May! It’s a great group you’ve got there. I’m liking the future more and more all the time.
Oh, might as well add in this morning’s 1,500 to our total, which now stands at the brink of 30 percent. We’re at 299,107 down, 700,893 to go to 1 million made foul shots.