Tom Hoskins remembers Manteca fondly.
Hoskins raised his family in The Family City and worked closely with its youth as a teacher at Sequoia Elementary School for 12 years.
The 64-year-old is retired now, living in the shadow of Mount Shasta, but he’ll return to Manteca on Wednesday.
Bearing gifts, too.
Hoskins has authored and published his first book, “When I Was a Kid,” which compares his childhood experiences growing up in Davis in the 1960s to those of children today.
“The first chapter covers my childhood, ages 8 to 17,” he said. “The rest of the book is about helping kids with friends, divorce and self image. One chapter covers the pitfalls of today that didn’t exist when I was a kid. It’s sprinkled with lines from songs and goof-ball quotes to keep it light-hearted and fun.”
The book is currently being sold for $9.51 on Amazon. Hoskins says he printed a few hundred books and hopes to also sell them at bookstores in Davis, Manteca and Stanford University, where he received his teaching credential and Masters.
“That’s my big whirlwind book tour,” he said with a chuckle, “and I hope to have a really good time. If I sell five copies, I don’t care. You put the line out there and see if the fish bite.”
Hoskins has scheduled a presentation on Tuesday evening at The Avid Reader in Davis. He’ll return to Manteca on Wednesday for a similar presentation at The Book Exchange on Main Street.
Though his time in town is short, Hoskins hopes to see many of his old friends, colleagues and former students.
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Fantasy sports’ real superstars
On Tuesday, The Bulletin featured the Xtreme Fantasy Football League in its buildup to the NFL season.
The XFFL is a 24-team high-stakes league run by Mike Richter and Sam Johnson, a pair of East Union graduates with nearly 20 years invested into fantasy sports.
Richter and Johnson touched on the commitment it takes to be successful in a league with thousands of dollars on the line. Lost in the examination of fantasy football were some of the pastime’s true stars – the spouses of fantasy owners.
Lori Richter deserves much of the credit for the XFFL. In the early years, before the instant age of the Internet, fantasy sports were conducted by hand. Players would phone in their lineups and commissioners would scour box scores to determine winners.
Mike Richter was quick to shine the spotlight on Lori, praising her patience and acceptance while he chased his football fantasies.
Many times, Lori, a Manteca Unified School District teacher, spent her Friday evenings transcribing lineups off the family answering machine while Mike was at work or en route.
“It wasn’t the best time for her on a Friday or Saturday night,” Richter said. “... She put up with a lot.”
She’s also played gracious host, opening her home to the XFFL’s many owners for their live draft parties and offseason meetings.
Fantasy sports have a history of breaking up a happy home. A quick Google search will yield hundreds of blogs about “fantasy football widows” and fantasy induced divorces.
A staffer at Mom Logic gave this testimonial in 2008: “There are times when my guy actually prefers to check his stats than have sex. Several times, I’ve had to pry him away from the computer to get some attention. And when sports season ends, another one begins. It’s non-stop.”
Johnson, who once managed six teams at once, said fantasy owners walk a fine line between dedication and obsession.
“It consumes them so much,” Johnson said, “it wrecks their relationships.”
No so for his fellow commish. Richter is happy to report this better half, Lori, “is still around.”