This morning, we’re officially in catch-up mode … on some sleep after the trip to Whitefield, on uploading the most recent three days of The Most Boring Movies Of All Time to hoopsforheroesvideo.com, and on a blog entry or two. And trying to condition myself to call it a “free throw,” not a “foul shot.” (More on that later.)
We made one thousand this morning in the driveway, following 1,500 yesterday at Plymouth State, which by the way was my fifth and final college, from where I finally graduated back in 1993 (Some people pack four years of education into two or three years … me, I packed four years into, um, eight.).
But before we get into yesterday, I’d like to go back to two days ago, just for a minute, and express my sincere gratitude to the New Hampshire School Administrators Association, collectively and individually, for their support of Hoops For Heroes. Despite the fact that our project has no connection with the NHSAA other than the fact that The Beautiful Heth is its President-Elect, President Nate Greenberg (Londonderry superintendent) saw to it that those in attendance were aware of the cause, pal Kent Hemingway (Rochester assistant superintendent) prompted me to say a few words to the group, and Past President Jerry Frew (Kearsarge superintendent) took time during his remarks to eloquently encourage his fellow superintendents to invite Hoops For Heroes to their schools next year.
I’m not typically a conference kind of guy, but I’ve always truly enjoyed this group, because of its heart. These are New Hampshire’s school administrators, the buck-stops-here group where it comes to the education of our kids. And you don’t have to be around them long to know that they are, as the NHSAA’s motto says, “Champions for children.” They genuinely care about kids. They genuinely care about people. Many of them expressed their willingness to have Hoops For Heroes in their schools next year … a very exciting prospect, and I’ll be looking forward to connecting those dots.
Now, to the Plymouth State experience. I know it’s Plymouth State University now, but when I was there a few moons ago, it was Plymouth State College. I’m conflicted. I’ll just leave it as “Plymouth State.”
We started at the Hartman Union Building, a Grade A student center which I believe was constructed approximately 15 minutes after I graduated — go figure. There I met Joe Long, Plymouth State’s Director of Alumni Relations, and Annie Gagne, a recent graduate who is now working in the HUB. As usual, my planning left a whole lot to be desired, so thanks to the two of them for being there to efficiently help rebound on incredibly short notice. We plowed through 1,400 in about an hour and 10 minutes, and then it was off to see the Scheinmans at the school’s fieldhouse, where John Scheinman, who this week is officially finishing up his 10th and final year as Plymouth State’s men’s hoop coach (but remaining as the university’s Major Gift Officer), was conducting a basketball camp.
John and Susan Scheinman have played a significant role in Hoops For Heroes, having taken an early interest and sharing it with their son, Jacob, the namesake of Jacob’s Bridge Through Autism. The Jacob’s Bridge home page contains a link to Hoops For Heroes, and HFH was the subject of Jacob’s recent bar mitzvah project, by which he helped to raise over $600 for the cause. The mission of Jacob’s Bridge is to globally educate the public and private sectors concerning Autism and other pervasive developmental disorders and spectrum disorders.
From the Jacob’s Bridge website: “We are looking to bridge the gap of the unknown. It is devastating enough to have the diagnosis of Autism come into your life, but even harder when you have to put the puzzle together yourself. We are here to put the puzzle pieces on the table …”
Jacob, now 13, is the middle child and a real athlete, with a beautiful shot and a gym-warming smile. He and many of his pals were wearing their Hoops For Heroes T-shirts from the bar mitzvah (I’ve got to say, the gray is much nicer than the white that I usually wear.), and I spoke about the project briefly before Jacob and two of the younger campers came out to assist with 100 more made shots — Jacob by my side for the handoffs, while Owen Brickley and Carter Wilcox shagged rebounds.
My only faux pas during my time in Plymouth: using the term “foul shot” in a Scheinman gym. “It’s a free throw,” he had said in correcting one of the campers earlier. And as soon as he said it, I told myself, “I’m not going to say foul shot. I’m not going to say foul shot. I’m not going to say foul shot.”
And, of course, this is what I told the kids: “To raise the money, I’ve got a goal of making 1 million foul shots …”
“I’m so upset,” he told me, “I’m going to resign.”
It was a great visit, the campers were a terrific audience, and Jacob is a prince.
Thanks, Joe and Annie. Thanks, Sheinmans. Thanks, Plymouth State. We’ll all be getting together again, I’m sure.
Free throw. Free throw. Free throw.
I’ll get it, John.
As of this morning, we’re at 326,507 down, 673,493 to go to 1 million made foul shots.