Good thing there are only a couple weeks left in this project, because given enough time, I’m certain that I would show up for one of these shooting gigs having forgotten at least one of my feet. In that context, it’s really no big deal that I’ve developed a recent habit of merely forgetting my sneakers.
It happened again on a recent trip to the Goldie Crocker Wellness Center at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, where my old pal and NHTI Coach Paul Hogan invited me to shoot with his team during a afternoon practice on October 21. So rather than pathetically ask if anyone had a pair of shoes I could wear, I simply strutted out to the foul line in a pair of socks, almost as if that’s just the routine … and nobody even looked twice.
This NHTI men’s basketball program, under Coach Hogan, has developed quite a national reputation in his 12 years at the school, including a United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II National Championship in 2005. Keep in mind, this is a two-year school at which many players only stick around for one before moving along, so it’s no small task to develop continuity over a period of years. But Coach Hogan, who doubles as the athletic director, has done it.
His secret? Didn’t tell me.
What he did do, though, was permit his players to join me, despite my shoelessness. They came three at a time, four shifts, 250 made free throws per shift. In just about 40 minutes, we were through 1,000 more … and there were two new sweaty footprints on the Crocker Center gym floor.
Thanks Coach, and thanks to Sander Vanderveen (7-foot-2, by the way), Josh Morgan, Peralt Annulysse, Ben Hill, Ryan Sweeney, Tyler Yeaton, Brendan Norton, Satae Ayers, Patrick Lavin, Greg Lablond, Jackson Riel, Zach Stevens and Bobby Shatinsky. We’re at 979,007 down, 20,993 to go to 1 million made foul shots.
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.