When I was in the fifth grade at Towle Elementary School, I played the role of the king in a production of “It Takes a Wizard.” Kevin Gagne was the jester, Paul Karr was the wizard, and as best I can remember, the storyline was simply this: The king was short, got made fun of a lot by the Lone Heckler (played by Peter Franklin or John Markland, maybe?), and at the end of the story called on The Wizard to magically make him tall.
I have no idea in the world what the moral of this story was, but I do remember my mom’s audio recording of the play, during which every single one of my lines was followed by her explosion into hysterical laughter. It was clear that her little boy was pretty much the next Red Skelton.
Getting closer to the point here, my buddy Tom Radford (whose twin brother Tim, incidentally, was the hind end of the dragon) was cast in the role of Sir Leroy, the king’s not-so-brave knight who was regularly asked by the king to capture the Lone Heckler. Being not-so-brave, however, he did not make good on the king’s demand, and in that squeaky, 11-year-old voice of his, Tom Radford as Sir Leroy sang the song … “He who turns and runs away, lives to fight another day.”
Geez, talk about burying your lead.
Sir Leroy’s song back there at the Newport Opera House in 1977 was my credo tonight. I spent the first 10 minutes or so fighting a frustrating fight against the wind and cold in the driveway, then finally — after the 125th made shot of the night — turned and ran away, into the car and down to the toasty warm gym. An hour and five minutes later, we had 1,500 in the books for the night, and I could feel my fingers just fine.
(But please, the next time this happens, somebody remind me to remove my long johns before making the transition indoors.)
I’ve said this before, and it came back in vivid technicolor again tonight: I would have never, never, never ever made it as a soldier.
For more on Hoops For Heroes, with a goal of 1 million made foul shots and $1 million raised for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, visit www.hoopsforheroes.com or contact Dave Cummings at 603-554-7855.