Please don’t repeat this, because it’s kind of embarrassing. No, seriously, this is just between you and me. Deal? Really, you can’t tell anyone.
We good? Good.
So we’d just made 1,500 foul shots at the Epsom Central School gym last night — me doing the shooting, 62-year-old Army Veteran John Brock doing the rebounding — and Mr. Brock is telling me about this sports banquet and dinner he’s helping to organize as a member of the Lions Club in Hooksett, something akin to the annual Granite State Baseball Dinner in Manchester but on a smaller scale, and he’s talking about finding a keynoter.
“We want it to be a really nice event, so we’re trying to get somebody good,” he says, and already I feel like I’m starting to blush.
“We really want to get a premier athlete, you know?” he says. Oh yes, I sure do know … wink-wink. I’ve got the first couple paragraphs of my speech written in my head already.
“So …” he says, and already I’m nodding my head to accept.
“You know Bob Tewksbury?”
Um … AWK-ward.
So yes, I kind of vaguely know Tewks, the Concord resident who put together a 13-year Major League career with the Yankees, Cubs, Cardinals, Rangers, Padres and Twins, including a 1992 All-Star season with the Cardinals in which he was 16-5 and had a 2.16 ERA before finishing third in the Cy Young Award voting. He’s also a pretty wonderful philanthropist, and since his career ended in 1998, he’s been a Red Sox commentator and, if Wikipedia is up to date, he’s still a sports psychologist for the Red Sox.
So apparently that’s more impressive than my booting a walkoff home run in a boys-against-the-girls kickball game a couple weekends ago. (Really happened, by the way … Booo-yah!)
Anyway, I guess we got a little off track there, didn’t we? The real point is that we put another 1,500 in the books, with Mr. Brock a very efficient partner in the effort. He had called out of the blue a few weeks back and said he was interested in helping. Seems he’s made a lifetime of doing just that, first as a soldier, then as a psychologist for Veterans at the VA hospital in Manchester, and now as a Lions Club member and, by the way, a mentor in the Big Brothers program.
And he was aces as a rebounder (still plays pick-up three or four times a week), mostly employing the rarely used Forward Facing method (I just made that up), by which he is on the baseline facing me as he retrieves, kinda like so …
We plowed through, probably at right around 90 percent if I had to guess, in just under an hour and 48 minutes … or 18 minutes per 250 made, which is the goal.
Well done, Mr. Brock. Thanks for your service, and for everything since.
(And by the way, if you can’t get Tewks for the dinner, I know a kickball phenom who’d be happy to say a few words …)
As for the Hoops, with the 1,500 last night and 1,000 more this morning, we’re now at 453,007 down, 546,993 to go to 1 million made foul shots.