Wow. July is gone, like that. The fastest 744 hours in history, I’m sure. Seriously, wasn’t it just June 30, like, five minutes ago? And now it’s August.
When last we spoke, exactly 21,000 made foul shots ago, we had just left the quality world of my childhood — Nantucket — and were amidst a month in which we have no access to the Epsom Central School gym, which spent its July getting a Do Not Disturb makeover. Not to worry, those in charge of the meteorology department took care of us, seeing to it that practically every day was virtually rainless and windless.
Most of those days since ACK have been somewhat repetitive — 1,000 alone in the driveway here, 1,000 alone in the driveway there, 1,000 in the driveway yet again — but we also had a few occasions to play nicely with others, something like this:
That man in the middle in that top photo from a few weeks ago, who is also that man on the basketball card from a few decades ago, is Dwight Davis, third round pick in the 1972 NBA draft, Realtor, United Way volunteer, humanitarian, and all-around genuine, humble, real solid dude. And thanks to Seacoast Board of Realtors President Jim Therrien, the dude on the right in that top photo, Dwight joined the HFH team at a Seacoast Board golf event in Greenland (the town, not the country), where he shagged rebounds for an hour or so before signing the backboard of that hoop, which was to be raffled off before the day was over.
It’s been said that it never rains on a golf course, but I can tell you that the air is rarely still, so it was a minor miracle that our shooting session yet again included little to no wind. With Dwight, Jim and our pal Lauren Kane under the hoop, we fired away for awhile, and were all set to shut down at 1,500 when Michael Bean — founder and CEO of the wildly successful Bean Group — finished his round and walked past with this: “A buck a shot for the next 200.”
So we shut down at 1,700.
Humility is a wonderful thing, so July 19 was doubly wonderful. First, there was the kindness and generosity of the Earl family, and their buddy Dave Skinner, who showed up in the driveway to talk about the project, rebound and give us, well, stuff: brownies, cookies, a card and Friendly’s gift certificate for the family, and best of all a very generous donation to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
That’s the gratifying kind of humility.
The other kind is what I received in an incredibly brief game of H-O-R-S-E after the official shooting session. Five of us started, including myself, Dave Skinner, Michael and Dan Earl, and our own Noah David Cummings.
The first guy out? The guy who’s been practicing the most for the last two years. It wasn’t even close.
For the record, Dave and Dan were the last two in, and I’m pretty sure Dave won. My ego wouldn’t allow me to pay real close attention.
We’re Episcopalians, we Cummingses. I’ve never really known what that means from a religious standpoint, but from a practical standpoint, it means that we belong to a wonderful church family in Pittsfield, where we have been known to congregate with the parishioners of St. Stephen’s.
I say that as though it has happened recently, which it hasn’t. But family as we are, we love them unconditionally, and apparently the feeling is mutual. That’s a long way of saying we appreciate the continued blessings they provide.
The most recent of those blessings is an invitation the church extended to HFH to participate in Pittsfield Old Home Day, which happened on yet another perfect and windless Saturday. The setup was unique, a little more challenging that usual, and particularly fun: a beat up parking area out behind the Old (and I mean old) Pittsfield Academy, and adjacent to the festivities. The shooting was slightly uphill to the hoop, and from atop what I would have called a frost heave were it not 90 degrees fahrenheit. It wasn’t exactly the X-Games, but it was as close to extreme as our free throws have gotten yet.
The first two shots were wild, and the third went through … kinda … before getting held up in the net. The good news is we had a strong team of rebounders, a foursome from the Pittsfield High team — Bryant Courtemanche, Cam Darrah, Cody Gauthier and Casey Ward. Bryant took charge of the too-tight net, pulling it apart with two hands as if to insist that the next ball would, in fact, ultimately reach the ground … which it did.
The hoop kids went for the first 500, after which they were called to board their parade float, and a new group stepped in, including Steve Ekerberg, Gary Colby, Connor Manteau and Quinn, um, didn’t get Quinn’s last name.
They ignored the heat and ran around chasing until about 1, which was parade time … and, of course, butterfly face paint time for Rosie.
Thanks for the support, you great folks of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. We love you.
July 24, 2011
The best steak tips in the world are from The Meat House. Just believe it, and if you feel like treating yourself to culinary heaven, go a step further and find a way to introduce a couple pounds of their Meat House steak tips to your Weber, then your mouth. It is likely to change your life.
Another thing The Meat House does is take Veterans issues very seriously, which is why for the last seven-ish years, they’ve hosted “Operation: Thank You,” a military fundraiser and all-around day of appreciation for Veterans and service men and women.
This year, they invited HFH to participate, which we did with 2,000 made foul shots on the grounds of Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth, thanks to the rebounding skills of a couple Portsmouth couples: Ben Canfield and his special lady friend Abrah Smith; and Ryan Bourbon and his special lady friend (so special, in fact, that they’re married) Kristen Bourbon.
And I swear, we did not use that seven-foot hoop you see behind Ben’s head. That would be cheating.
It was a good, hot, and once again windless day, which brought us to the 87 percent mark … at 870,507 down, 129,493 to go to 1 million made foul shots. (Since that time, we’ve been out in the driveway for 11 consecutive days, at 1,000 made shots each, and a little more than 88 percent.)
Ninety-nine days left, as of this moment.
And seriously, you’ll never have better steak tips.
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.