Where in Fallon is Keith Van Horn?
It was no different than any other day.
The end of the week was finally here. Oblivious to this unique day 11 years ago, it began as a normal morning as I walked into the LVN office on Maine Street, greeted our receptionist and walked to the newsroom. I skimmed through a copy of Friday’s tabloid edition, chatted with several colleagues, including then-editor Steve Lyon ,and then we moved on to getting ready to put out Saturday’s newspaper.
The morning dragged, as any Friday morning would. Then came the afternoon haul of getting the paper finished early so we could head out for the weekend. Around 2 p.m. on April 1, 2005, a call came into the newsroom that someone spotted then-NBA star Keith Van Horn shooting hoops at the middle school basketball courts. Van Horn played for several teams, including the Nets where he made his mark, and his mother used to live in Fallon.
Steve called me over and relayed the news about a Van Horn sighting a couple miles down the street. I quickly grab my camera and notepad, jumped into my 1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass and drove down Maine Street. I approached every stop light and stop sign with more and more anticipation that I was about to steal a shot of a basketball celebrity.
As I turned onto West Virginia Street, I rolled down my window and started to slow down across the street so I could line up the perfect shot of Van Horn.
But he wasn’t there.
I called the LVN and asked for Steve.
“Are you sure Van Horn was spotted playing basketball here?” I asked.
“Yes,” Steve said in a straight, monotone. But he did reply with more information that he could have switched up the basketball courts and advised to check the high school.
I rolled up my window and pulled back out onto West Virginia Street. As I turned onto South Taylor Street, the anticipation came back as I hoped I didn’t miss out on this opportunity. I arrived at the high school, turned into the north parking lot and gazed at the basketball courts. No Van Horn.
I didn’t want to call Steve back because I knew what he would have said. Go back to the middle school and see if he returned.
I hurried back to the middle school and pulled alongside the basketball courts and saw a couple of teenagers shooting hoops. I stepped out and asked if they had seen a tall man earlier shooting around and both replied back with a subtle “No.”
The window closed on getting this one shot of an NBA star supposedly casually shooting around at a school court. Discontent, I drove back and arrived in the LVN parking lot. Got out, walked through the two sets of doors and there was Steve with one of the biggest grins this man has ever made.
“You couldn’t find Van Horn?” he asked.
There was no Van Horn. There was no photo. I had been duped.
Congratulations, Steve, on successfully pulling off a prank that still tops the charts of my young history with April Fools.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.