Growing up in Annapolis: “Teddy”, “JP”, and the “AHEPA Shot”
Ted Siomporas and John Pantelides (“JP”), grew up as members of the Annapolis Greek-American community, having intertwined their lives for over seven decades.
Their upbringings were similar:
- Each boy was the senior male child of large closely-knit families, headed by hard working fathers who operated well-known highly successful Annapolis restaurants. Their mothers managed the business finances and stayed at home to raise the children.
- Both Johnny and Teddy have a 50% Macedonian bloodline.
- Both were altar boys.
- Both toiled through the typical first generation Greek-American childhood drudgery of weekday afternoon Greek School.
Where their upbringings differed was:
- in the other 50% of their bloodlines: Johnny identified with his Greek-Cypriot family friends and kin, while Teddy’s Greek-American social life was dominated by the Vlachi mountain folk, with their Aspropotamos Society’s annual Panayiri festivals.
- The Pantelides family house was in downtown Annapolis, always busy with visitors; the Siomporas house was located in a no-man’s land behind the S&S Restaurant in the midst of a light industrial park, several blocks away from two large City neighborhoods of Homewood and Parole.
In the mid-1950s, Teddy, living outside of downtown, relied his sidekick little sister Joanne as his athletic playmate, with no boy playmates. The Pantelides back yard basketball backboard and rim helped serve as the magnet for the young Annapolis Greek-American boys, especially after the Saturday YMCA games..
During these Saturday pick-up games, John announced his invention of the “AHEPA shot”. (AHEPA is the acronym for the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association). Unlike the normal basketball shot where the ball is held just below the chin before being launched from mid-range, the AHEPA shot was launched, usually long range, from the far right shoulder. The AHEPA shot could be a virtually unblockable deadly weapon. All the young Annapolis Greek Americans practiced and perfected it. One morning Teddy Siomporas used it to set an unofficial “record” for his YMCA team by scoring 9 points, going 4 for 4 using Johnny’s invention. The 20 minute YMCA games rarely wound up with total team scores above ten points, making this a memorable performance.
Regrettably, young Teddy stopped growing at 5’ 6”, not tall enough to play organized basketball and never able to demonstrate the deadly effectiveness of the AHEPA shot.
Despite retiring the AHEPA shot, John and Ted have remained close friends for seven decades, including:
- Ted aced several classes at the University of Maryland thanks primarily to John’s class notes
- John was one of Ted’s wedding groomsmen
- Ted’s wife Linda sponsored backyard political event for John’s run for Congress
- Ted helped devise a campaign strategy for Johnny’s son Michael’s win for Annapolis Mayor
- Ted helped implement Michael’s signature project: The Annapolis Renewable Energy Park
- John and Ted (plus Ted’s former “sidekick”, his “Little Sister” Joanne) are implementing the Annapolis Greek Heritage Project