SAN DIEGO, CA (April 8, 2010) – March Madness may be over, but Richard Paff is preparing to run the longest fast break in the history of American basketball.
Starting Monday, Paff, a longtime member of College Center Covenant Church, and two other men will set out from Nipton, California, to set the record for driving the 48 contiguous states and scoring a basket in each of them. They hope to make the journey across country and back in just 10 days.
Call it April Madness.
“Running the floor” with Paff will be his brother-in-law, John Baker, and friend Jack Davis. The Record Holders Republic Registry of Official World’s Records has sanctioned the attempt.
There is a purpose and method to their madness. They will be raising money for New Dawn Christian School, a K-9 school in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala, which is located next to Lake Atitlan. Paff and other members of College Center as well as Grace Covenant Church in Spring Valley, California, have been making mission trips to the school for seven years.
The groups help with a different construction project each year in addition to teaching English, music, art, and physical education. They also take the older kids to a weekend Christian camp each year.
“San Juan residents – primarily coffee growers and artisans – earn roughly $5 per day, but what they lack in wealth pales compared to the joy and the hope they cling to, particularly with regards to their children’s education,” Paff says.
The love for education is especially heartening to Paff, who taught in public schools for 32 years. He also coached basketball, experience he brings to the mission work in Guatemala.
The kids needed a place to play, so the mission teams constructed an outdoor basketball court several years ago. The men hope to raise $26,000 to build a roof for New Dawn’s court, which also serves as a gathering place for school assemblies, music, dramas, and other activities.
The climate is rainy, and the roof will enable the school to hold the activities regardless of the weather. The project also will include building a stage at one end of the court.
The trio is paying all expenses associated with the trip so that 100 percent of the donations will go directly to the roof project. “Children of Lake Atitlan,” which operates the school, is run completely by volunteers,” says Paff. He serves on the organization’s board of directors.
Paff has set up a blog where people can follow the progress of the team, find a list of stopping places along the route, and donate to the project.