The amount I know about politics you could probably stuff into a pen cap, but I’ve always liked John Lynch.
That’s not a unique sentiment in this state. The four-term New Hampshire governor, who announced last month that this will be his last go-round, counts as his favorite job-related activity meeting the fourth-graders on their State House tours. He looks you in the eye, smiles broadly and shakes your hand with strength. He has an approval rating somewhere near that of ice cream.
Could be he’s simply a brilliant politician, of course, but it matters not a whit to me. He transcends partisanship, he elevates the political discourse, and he is a gentleman. He’s a damned fine governor, and I’m going to miss him in that role.
As an assist-guy on our free throw shooting adventure, it turns out, he’s pretty darned good, too.
That was his job for about three minutes on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 27, the date on which he had agreed to join us outside of his sweet office (see photo above) to lend an hand or two to the Hoops For Heroes effort.
First, let’s rewind for just a bit …
You may have heard about my exceptional organizational and planning skills (sarcasm). Well, they were on full display that morning. I had kinda told The Beautiful Heth that I had to leave early, but I had kinda not been very specific about what that really meant, so when she casually arrived home from her workout, I was already running just-barely-on-time-if-everything-goes-perfectly.
Things 1 & 2, Noah and Mason, were getting the morning off from school to join us, as was our pal and Noah’s classmate Chay (his real name, Chandler, is gone now … don’t bother looking for it) Bean. We stuffed ourselves into the Honda Pilot at 7:45, with the Governor expected to meet us on the State House plaza at 8:30. The problem: We still had a hoop to pick up, and it’s fair to say that I hadn’t exactly tested to see if it would fit into the rig.
(Yes, I realize that you know from looking at the photo that this all worked out, but please just play along.)
We met Bob Quinn — the Government Affairs Director at my workplace and my arch rival in the movie that will never be made about us — at the office, and managed to wrangle the base and lower post of the hoop into the Pilot — half in, half hanging out. The backboard and upper post went into his car. Like clockwork, baby.
We got there just about on time, and after assembling the hoop, Noah, Mason and Chay rebounded for 50, bringing us to 954,950 made … 50 left for the Governor.
And there he was.
We spoke privately for a few minutes. He asked about the project. I told him. He agreed that there is a profound and growing chasm between everyday Americans and these wars, which have become old news in the decade-plus since they began. He said he planned to make a donation.
Then, he introduced himself to the boys, and we got to shooting. Noah and Mason rebounded, the Governor sure-handedly provided the transfers, and before long there were 50 more in the books … 955,000 in all.
Afterward, he got everyone involved, prompting shots by the kids, his spokesman Colin Manning, his deputy chief of staff Pam Walsh, the head of his security detail Bruce Twyon, and the Governor himself.
He then took hold of the Sharpie to sign the rebounders’ T-shirt, at which point I made what I would call a savvy political observation cloaked in the context of the moment couched as a joke, or something like that: “Governor Huckabee signed on the right,” I said. “You should probably be closer to the middle.”
He chuckled. Side-splittingly, no. Politely, yes.
And then he signed, smack-dab in the middle.
Soon after that, Team Lynch was gone, and we were left in the plaza to shoot a few more hoops, clean up, and wrangle that hoop back into the cars.
And finally … Have we talked about my organizational disabilities yet? Well, in all the hoopla surrounding getting there on time, I had forgotten to pay for parking. Big surprise. A $10 ticket awaited us on the Pilot windshield.
Worth it, I say.
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.