Let’s just say this … I’m not that strong a planner. Just ask The Beautiful Heth. Example: It was about a week and a half ago that I finally got around to telling her that I’d be away for two nights on a work trip that was scheduled, oh, about a year ago. So it’s no surprise that when I did arrive at the amazing Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods (NH) Sunday night, I had no idea what the shooting plan would be for the next couple of days.
The good news is that I’ve got pals who were ready to act at a moment’s notice. Late Sunday night, I asked Paul Sargeant, an all-around tremendous man and former President of the trade association for which I work, whether or not he thought meeting at 5:30 a.m. in the hotel lobby sounding feasible. I was expecting some hesitation. I got none.
So 5:30 a.m. came, and sure enough, there was Paul in the lobby, ready to roll. To where were about to roll? Thanks for asking.
“Weird question for you,” I announced to the front desk clerk. “Any idea where we might find a basketball hoop?”
(Not that strong a planner.)
Amazingly, she had an answer. About five miles back on Route 302 east, we were to take a left onto Route 3 south, and then an immediate left into a park. There, she said, we’d find a hoop. Maybe even some electricity to keep the video camera alive for the duration. So away we went, into the 25-degree morning.
The park was there, as promised (although no power source), but it was still dark when we arrived, so we strategically angled the car so that the headlights would illuminate the court. It was functional, although far from perfect. The headlights were to my right but well within my peripheral vision (isn’t that just the way … “The sun was in my eyes!”), and Paul’s rebounding angle was such that he was blocking the light from his own sightline to the hoop … I had too much light, he didn’t have enough.
Plus, where the pavement ended just behind the basket support pole, it formed a two-inch ledge — in the dark, it was just enough to be dangerous to our fearless rebounder.
So we began, and …
(It went kinda like that for a while, which is to say there were plenty of misfires.)
Paul did tumble once, and it was a good one, but he recovered quickly and carried on. And my early shooting woes were corrected after the first hundred or so. The only thing remaining cause for concern was the camera battery, which we checked every 50 shots or so. After 550 made, it was just about dead, so we switched to a backup camera that suited us just fine.
In all, it was about an hour and a half to make 1,000 … not lightning fast, but considering the circumstances, not too bad at all.
By Monday night, I began wondering about Tuesday. Paul had offered to help again, and my office (and hotel) neighbor, the Association’s Government Affairs Director, Bob Quinn, had said he’d join us as well. This time we decided on a 6 a.m. lobby meeting, and it was deja-vu, only faster and with one extra person.
After we warmed up (and I use the phrase loosely) with one ball for the first 200 made shots, we got a second ball into the rotation for the next 800, and we cruised. All together, our 1,000 made for the morning took just a little over an hour.
Thanks, Bob. And double-thanks, Paul. You were spectacular. I hope you slept well last night.
Which brings us to today. We’re back home (sure takes the pressure off the planning component), and with the gloves making their first appearance of the season, “Annette” and I got through another frosty 1,000, bringing our total to 478,007 down, 521,993 to go to 1 million made foul shots.
Twenty-two days to Veterans Day, and roughly 22,000 shots to 500,000 — the halfway mark. Sounds like about 1,000 a day to me.