Friday, March 28, 2014
March Madness - N.C. teen Spencer Wilson's Hail Mary basketball shot gets help from late friend Josh Rominger...
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A couple months ago, just outside Greensboro, N.C., the Bishop McGuinness boys' basketball team had what may be the most remarkable game in school history.
"I still can't believe that even happened," one player said.
"I will remember this game for the rest of my life," a third player said.
The game was against their arch rivals, Mount Airy High School. But to fully appreciate what happened here, you first need to know how Coach Josh Thompson prepared them for this night.
It all started a few days earlier with an old ball and a gold Sharpie. Coach Thompson told each player to pick someone to dedicate the game to. Could be an uncle, a grandpa -- one kid picked his parents.
"Josh's passion for life just really drew me towards him," Spencer said.
Spencer and Josh were two great friends with one lousy thing in common: they both had cancer. The difference was Spencer beat his, and Josh didn't. He died nine months ago.
Spencer wrote a letter to Josh's mom explaining what they were doing and why he would be playing for Josh.
"Just wanted to let you know the impact your son has on my life, to this day," Spencer wrote. "I will never forget him. Play for Josh."
Spencer said he still thinks about Josh every day. That's why this opportunity meant so much to him.
"During the timeouts, when we touched the ball, I found where I wrote 'Josh,' and I looked for that," Spencer said. "Put my hand on it every single time."
Spencer thought of his friend, whom he said "meant a whole lot to me."
Which brings us to the end of that game. With two seconds left on the clock, Bishop down by a point and their rivals at the free-throw line, Bishop needed a miracle. And some say that's exactly what they got.
In the official record book, Spencer Wilson will get credit for that remarkable Hail Mary. But the boys at Bishop believe Spencer's friend Josh deserves at least an assist. And no matter what you believe, you've got to score one for friendship.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
A message in a bottle, with a story going back nearly 55 years, has surfaced.
Keith Moreis of Oak Bluffs was out walking on Long Point Beach on a bitter cold December afternoon when he found a small bottle in a clump of seaweed. Though Mr. Moreis could see a message printed on the bottle that said “break this bottle,” he chose another way to find out what was inside.
“I used a corkscrew,” he said.
Inside was a message on faint red paper asking that the contents of the bottle be sent to a Washington, D.C., address that was suspiciously old.
“It didn’t have a zip code,” Mr. Moreis said.
He decided to keep the bottle with his collection of other interesting beach finds. But when he heard in February that someone in Canada had also uncovered an old drift bottle, he decided to do some research. On Feb. 20 he took the bottle to Woods Hole, first to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and later to the National Oceanographic Atmosphere Administration Northeast Fisheries Science Center.
With the help of staff at the science center, the source and history of the bottle became clear.
Shelley Dawicki, a spokesman for the center, said with significant digging in the files they were able to determine that the bottle was released in the fall of 1959 from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Ship Hydrographer. According to records, the vessel did environmental studies in three areas off the New England Coast, and one was south of Noman’s Land, or 36 miles south of Aquinnah.
Dropping message bottles was an early way to understand ocean currents.
Jim Manning, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Laboratory at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, said: “I am always amazed by the information we derive from these bottles. They did well in those days and drew up the maps that we are still using today.”
Researchers have since embraced newer technology to study currents but Mr. Manning said they still use drop bottles, too. In fact, there was a bottle drop last fall south of the Vineyard, Mr. Manning said.
“You hear bottle stories here and there, but this was the longest I’ve heard,” Mr. Manning said, referring to Mr. Moreis’ find. “It was probably buried in the sand. I bet there are many more in the sand.”
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
40 year old blind singer and musician Tony DeBlois, who is also autistic, travels near and far to spread his inspirational message...
Before the year is out, Randolph native Tony DeBlois will have traveled to Pennsylvania, Virginia and Los Angeles, among other places, entertaining at venues nationwide with his music.
DeBlois, 40, is a musical savant who is blind and was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5. To his mother, Janice DeBlois, who travels with him to every gig, spreading his inspirational message close to home is a treat.
“I think that anything that can show people that someone with autism is capable of all the things (Tony) can do, that he has the same dreams and goals as anyone else, is important,” she said.
Virginia Polio, the head of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas chapter in Braintree, got the message. She said she saw DeBlois play last year in Scituate and knew she wanted to book him to play at the group’s annual fundraiser, which took place Sunday at St. Francis of Assisi Church.
The event was a combination of a luncheon, a bake sale and a silent auction. DeBlois’ renditions of Irish folk songs provided the backdrop for the gathering.
Polio said the money from each ticket sold will go directly toward the Catholic Daughters’ charitable works. The group provides scholarships to students at the St. Francis School. It is also affiliated with several national and international charities, including Smile Train, which provides cleft palate surgeries to children in need.
Polio described Tony DeBlois as an “awesome talent” and praised him and his mother for their strength and positive outlook.
“I thought everyone would enjoy listening to him, and it is a real blessing to have him and his mother here,” she said.
DeBlois knows how to play 22 instruments. He has been playing music professionally since he was 9, and graduated magna cum laude from Berklee College of Music in 1996. Before that, he attended the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown.
He has been recognized for his achievements by the Boston Celtics and many other organizations, and the CBS television movie “Journey of the Heart” was inspired by events from his life. In addition to playing concerts all over the country and around the world, DeBlois does speaking engagements aimed at encouraging other people with disabilities to discover their potential.
After 31 years of touring, Janice DeBlois said, nothing surprises her anymore, but the thrill of helping Tony to share his music and his story is still there.
“It’s nice to give people from our area who have seen him on TV but never seen him in person the chance,” she said.