My friend Rob and I have been doing basketball stuff (camps, leagues, reffing, playing) for more than two decades. He was a stud athlete in high school and played some ball in college. After college, he got into coaching. He and I actually coached against each other twice. My Amphi Freshman girls’ team went undefeated that season while Rob’s team only lost two games all year. I’ve always wanted to put that in print (even though it’s been 20 years); for some reason, Sports Illustrated passed on that story.
After coaching, he became a ref, quickly moving up the ranks. He went from reffing high-school JV games to doing college games in just four years. He was on his way to the Big Time, perhaps even joining the stratospheric ranks of Chris Rastatter and Bob Schofield, two Tucsonans who have done multiple NCAA Final Four games.
(Just as an aside, did you know that people who referee Pac-12 basketball games make at least $2,500 per game?!)
He eventually started a career in law enforcement and, sadly, stopped reffing, but he’s one of those disgusting 27-hours-in-a-day guys, always needing to do more. He became a fitness devotee. He’s not a maniac or anything. He just works out hard and, somewhere along the line, he made a lifetime deal with fat that they would leave each other alone. He may be the healthiest person I know, freakishly fit and perfectly on-balance.
His lifestyle, along with in-person deep dives into the cultures of more than 40 countries around the world, eventually led him to help others and he now owns Tucson Wellness MD, a multi-purpose facility that helps men and women achieve better fitness and a healthier lifestyle. He’s asked me to stop by his clinic, but I think he just wants to use me as a Before photo.
I’m more of a Eubie Blake devotee. After living to be 100, the jazz pianist said, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
I did offer Rob a slogan for his place. You know how they say that “60 is the new 40?” How about “Still Alive is the New Dead?” For some reason, he politely declined.
While his company is doing quite well, he’s all about being a part of the community and giving back. He’s always been athletic and really competitive. So, Tucson Wellness is sponsoring a golf tournament on Sept. 18, with foursomes from different businesses and government entities competing for the sweetest prize of all—bragging rights.
It will be the first tournament of its kind, with the winning team having its organization’s name put on the Champions Plaque that will be mounted on the Tucson Wellness “Winners’ Wall.” There will also be a cash prize and some services from his business, but that’s inconsequential. We don’t need no stinkin’ money. We just want to talk crap to those guys from Raytheon.
Speaking of which, we all know at least one person from Raytheon. Have you even gotten a straight answer as to what they do?
So, you work at Raytheon. What is it that you do?
Well, um, you know, I work at Raytheon.
Rob is excited about this tournament and what it could do for his hometown. “All my life, Tucson has been seen by a lot of people as this sleepy little university town, but I think the potential here in Tucson is through the roof. We’re coming out of the pandemic and there’s all this pent-up energy. We could have a business and community boom. I want to use this tournament to help make connections, to help give Tucson a little tiny boost that, we hope can snowball and lead to greater things.”
He wants to get teams from across the spectrum. “This is all about fun, Tucson culture and sportsmanship. So, no ringers! I want to help build our community with some healthy competition and good fun.”
The tournament will be at The Lodge at Ventana Canyon Golf Resort. And since it’s in September, the weather will be perfect. The deal is that the weather is nasty hot and humid in Tucson until the first weekend of college football, after which the weather is no longer a factor because it’s real football season (not NFL preseason football season). Entry in the tournament also includes a spectacular lunch spread featuring something called Brownies & Blondies. (I could probably write an entire column about that.)
Rob is hoping to make this an annual event, a gathering of sports-minded groups coming together for a morning of friendly competition, followed by (for one lucky foursome) an afternoon of talking some mad yang.