Seeing Is Believing

Happy Hump Day, Y’All!

Now before I write anything else, I just want to apologize for my typographical errors in previous e-mails. It seems that no matter how hard I try to be utterly perfect in these e-mails, I miss something …. some little thing …. like “Hapy Monday” on the message from Monday. I could read it over several times, make some changes, then even employ the spell check …. but I always miss something! Peace be still ….

Secondly, before I go any further, I want to thank Frank Jones, former timbale player for “The Whole Damn Family/Inner City Funk”, a band I played trombone in circa 1970 for making it possible for me to meet up with Armond Hill, assistant coach for the historic Boston Celtics! Thanks, Frank!

So, Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 was the first home game for the Miami HEAT this shortened NBA season due to the extensive differences between players and owners. Armond is a former room mate of mine from sophomore year at Princeton University circa 1973-74. He is also a former team mate from the freshman basketball team at Princeton 1972. We had a pretty cool coach but Pete Carril, who was the varsity coach, kept an eye on our team because we had some greats like Armond, Mickey Steuerer, Bob Slaughter and even Glen Christy who went on to play varsity basketball under Carril. So, in essence, Armond “Doc” Hill has been a friend for over 35 years if I am doing the math correctly. He also recently became a part of this e-mail family after Frank mentioned me to him recently at one of Doc Rivers’ Golf Events usually held here in Florida.

He, Armond, was kind enough to leave two tickets and Post Game passes for me at the Triple A Arena so that we could meet up and chat. While the game was “funtastic” though the real highlight was chatting with him there in the stands afterwards. Now, our game seats were not directly behind the Boston Celtic’s bench, which I thought they might be but even better, up a bit and to the right of their team’s bench enabling us to see the whole floor. Upon my arrival with the son of probably one of my best childhood friends from White Plains, Peter Zachary, I noticed a woman who looked liked Boston’s Ray Allen’s mother. I went over and shook the hand of this woman who was indeed, Ray Allen’s mother!! She had a green jersey on with words written in gold sparkling letters – “Momma Allen”. So we enjoyed the game in an area where there were various vociferous Boston Fans! But we were accompanied by several other HEAT fans of a similar level of appreciation for the Miami HEAT.

After the game ended, Jordan and I sat and waited in an area designated for Post Game meetings. Soon I could see a handsome well built gentleman sporting a dark grey pin striped suit with a nice dark paisley tie walking from the locker room up towards the stands where Jordan Zachary, in his 20’s and sporting a HEAT jersey, and I were waiting. It was Armond! He waved and approached me after recognizing who I was and we opened arms and held each other and hugged tightly. This was a Kodak moment but a much more spiritual one for me so no pictures were taken with a camera …. only with the heart. What a moment, as well as the ones that followed, while we chatted about old times on the freshman team, at the Gauss dormitory at Princeton where we shared a six man suite and the late nights that he and I and Glen Christy and Bruce Puckett, Bob Slaughter and Randy French spent literally “growing up” together sophomore year!

We continued talking for another 20-30 minutes and even Jordan had a story to share since his Aunt Christie was a close friend of Moe Howard from DC and Armond was the best man in Moe Howard’s wedding. We talked about girlfriends and love, work and play, and before I knew it, we were like we were those late nights over 30 years ago at Gauss Hall shucking and jiving and laughing about everything, even the game he had just coached and we had enjoyed due to his kindness. We experienced some true quality time. I even gave him “shout outs” from all the crew from our Princeton days who know and admire him, as they all had asked me to do!

So …. seeing was believing! We hugged tightly again, promising to make efforts to stay in touch, gave high fives and fist bumps …. glanced at each other and said good night! I just wanted to share probably one of the best Christmas gifts I could’ve gotten all rolled into one!

Peace be with you!

John I. Cook, Director

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