The best compliment of Tuesday night came at made shot No. 1,970.
“The year you were born?” Chris Nolan asked.
I’m way past getting carded, so as a guy actually born in 1967, I’ll take what I can get. And yes, I know that with my Sox hat on, Chris didn’t have the benefit of entering my eroding hairline into the equation, but hey … three years is three years.
Turns out Chris was born in 1978. Kids these days.
This Mr. Chris Nolan fellow came to us by way of coastal Rhode Island (where he was born), by way of Tufts (where he was higher-educated), by way of Brooklyn (where he first worked) by way of Portland (where he now lives). And he came by way of his mom, a volunteer for a program called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), which is a program designed to benefit anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one, regardless of their relationship to the deceased or the circumstance of the death.
Here’s part of the e-mail I got from Chris, a high school English teacher who recently wrapped up his masters degree, about a month ago:
I’m writing to find out about setting a time to rebound for you. It is actually a birthday gift for my mother — she heard about your efforts on NPR and rather than ask for a tangible gift, she asked that I get in touch about helping out.
So we set it up for last night at the Epsom Central School gym, and sure enough, there was Chris … 6-foot-3ish and very clearly a basketball player. Said he was the last guy off the bench for Tufts for one year. Based on the way he handles the ball, I’m thinking they had a pretty good team.
So we just started plowing through. The percentage was solid, and the retrieval efforts were pretty much perfect. Chris is a bounce-pass kind of guy, quick and right there at the waist, every time. Didn’t let the ball hit the floor out of the net much, either. So we cruised, and were at 1,800 made shots at the two-hour mark, when he suggested we do 200 more.
Number 2,000 came after just about two hours and 14 minutes.
So that was that, except for one final detail: a T-shirt, which I’d meant to bring to the gym but left at home. So I invited Chris up to the house. Now here’s the thing: No matter how great you think your wife looks in her PJs, I’m suggesting this as a rule to all of you husbands out there: If you’re going to bring someone she has never met to the house at 9:30 on a weeknight, let her know ahead of time. That thought struck me for the first time as I was on my way, but realized my phone was in the back of the car. It struck me the second time when I walked through the door, and The Beautiful Heth shot me a look that could have melted granite.
Turns out Chris and TBH were quick pals, what with their teaching-in-the-Greater-Portland-area commonality. However, I still officially recommend the phone call.
Great guy, this Chris Nolan.
Great young guy. And I hope he comes back to do it again someday.
With those 2,000, and 1,000 this morning, we’re now at 382,507 down, 617,493 to go to 1 million made foul shots.