This broadcast of New Hampshire Now comes from Washington, D.C. as part of the San Antonio Spurs victory tour. The 2014 NBA Champions brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy and a special Spurs jersey for President Obama to the White House. Concord’s own, Matt Bonner, was given special recognition by the president. In his remarks, Obama mentioned Matt’s quirky blog “The Sandwich Hunter” and his killer nickname “The Red Mamba.” Matt confessed that he turned red with embarrassment from this attention. Matt’s vantage point on the dais–upper right–allowed him to look over the president’s shoulder while he delivered the prepared remarks of his speech and also added some appropriate off the cuff one liners. In addition to the trophy ceremony, the team went on a guided tour of the White House which caused Matt to have a deja vu moment. Then he recalled being 11 or 12 on a Bonner family trip to DC which included a trip to the executive mansion. This celebrity tour, however, allowed him more access. He could walk around the rooms and look around. As a true New Hampshire native, he took time to take a picture of a book of poems by Robert Frost in the Reading Room and above a doorway in the East Wing Franklin Pierce’s portrait. While he was at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Matt also did a (PSA) public service announcement for Healthcare.gov about signing up for health insurance. Matt described his feelings about meeting with the president as feeling star struck and it being such a surreal experience that he can not recall what happened. As they were leaving, the team was overcome with curiosity when they happened to meet the man who plays “The Most Interesting Man in the World” in the Dos Equis Beer commercials.
The second segment of the show was about the New England Patriots exciting playoff victory over the Baltimore Ravens. There are comments from quarterback Tom Brady and Coach Belichik. Julian Edelman, who threw the option pass that was the pivotal part of the turn around., discussed the variables that can affect a game. He also talked about how to develop the proper mental attitude that is needed before a big game. Chris also talked with defensive standout, Kyle Arrington. The corner back feels that the team’s concentration and hard work in practice is what translates into success on the field. He also gives credit to Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Their professionalism and willingness to fit into the Patriots team concept when they joined the team this year helped to greatly improve the defense. Sealver Siliga, the 325 lb. lineman, also discussed how doing things the “Patriot Way” creates a winning formula.
The Boston Bruins were the topic for the show’s third segment. The Bruins have been on a 3 game winning streak. Some have given credit to a motivational speech by Charlie Jacobs, the son of the team’s owner. Others feel that the improved play is the result of internal improvements. Chris talked with the coach, Claude Julien. He also talked with two key players–Captain Zdeno Chara and the defensive mate on his line, Dougie Hamilton. They felt that the team is gelling now due to everyone getting healthy and working things out. Chara and Hamilton agreed that the negativity that had surrounded the team was holding them back.
In the next segment of the show, Chris interviewed the person that many consider to be the best player ever for the Manchester Monarchs, Mike Cammalleri. Ten years ago, Cammi was starring for the Monarchs before being moved up to the Kings. His NHL career has been an interesting journey. He has had lots of success, he has had some controversy, and he even played well for the Canadian Olympic team. After playing for the Kings for 5 or so years, he was traded to the Calgary Flames. After a year, he signed a big contract with the Montreal Canadiens. After another 3 years, he was dealt back to the Flames. Most recently, he has been traded to the New Jersey Devils. Mike is happy and at home with the culture of the Devils. When he reflected on his career, he credited his time in Manchester as an important part in his development.
The final segment dealt with various aspects of what it’s like to be Matt Bonner. The interview covered Matt’s views on politics and his possible political goals. So far, Bonner has become involved in two New Hampshire issues: 1) he has opposed to the Northern Pass Project; and 2) he shown support for the Affordable Care Act through encouraging people to sign up through Healthcare.gov. At this point in his life, he is only taking stances and using his voice to speak on issues which affect the people of New Hampshire. Matt and his brother, Luke, have been involved in Matt’s charity–the Sneakers and Speakers Concerts and the Rock on Foundation. They will be hosting a music concert in New York City’s famed Bowery Ballroom on Friday, February 13th during the NBA’s All Star Weekend. The concert features The Hold Steady, and it was sold out in an amazing 3 minutes. So, if you missed it, they are planning another concert next year when the NBA All Star Game will be in Toronto. Next, they talked about the current state of the San Antonio Spurs. The team has been playing better now that Tony Parker has returned to the line up. Matt feels that the team is still trying to find its groove. The recent trades by the Celtics to many of Matt’s Western Division foes were also discussed. Chris also asked how Matt spends his time when he is on the road with the team. If you guessed reading and listening to music, you know the former Concord High School valedictorian pretty well.