AYER — It’s better than a fishing story and it’s not about the one that got away.
Three local men went elk and boar hunting over the winter and scored quite a catch for the town beach — two state-of-the-art, 3,000-pound basketball hoops, backboards and ground mounts.
It all happened in the backwoods of Maine when Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Tim Taylor went hunting with Calvin Moore of Moore Lumber Co. and Brian Bouchard, the construction contractor coordinator at the Groton School.
While talking about gymnasium upgrades at the private prep school, Bouchard mentioned that the decade-old, floor-mounted hoops were being replaced with ceiling-mounted retractable backboards. Seizing the opportunity, Taylor said, “Geez, we’ll take ’em” if the school has no need for them.
Bouchard brought the question back to the Groton School’s building maintenance, business office and athletic directors, who all helped with the handoff.
The backboard systems, which had been laid on the ground, were iced in over the winter. Groton School staffers dug them out with a front-end loader and placed them aboard an Ayer landscaping trailer.
“Everyone got together one day, put our time in and loaded them up,” Bouchard said.
Workers attached to the adult Community Service Program at Lowell District Court dug holes to secure the massive posts in the ground at Sandy Pond Beach, according to Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Thomas — “a great resource,” he said, because his department’s budget is small and spoken for.
The installation required $600 worth of cement and framing materials, funded by donations in memory of late Park Commissioner Ann Drapeau. Paul Seeley of Ayer loaned a cement mixer for the job. Parks employees filled the holes with cement and the court was ready to go in April.
Tim Dumont, the Groton School’s director of buildings and grounds said its donation of the hoops was a perfect fit.
“It sounded like a great cause and a great place that could benefit from them,” he said. “One thing led to another. We were very happy to help out.”
Taylor said the hoops system is especially suited to the recreation department’s Unlimited Basketball Program for physically and mentally challenged children. The hoops can be brought down from the regulation 10-foot height to more child-friendly heights of 4 to 6 feet.
“Kids with crutches or wheelchairs can’t reach the full height,” he said. “This way they can run up or wheel up and score a basket and have a great time.”
The elk may have gotten away but hunting trip produced a special trophy for Sandy Pond Beach.