LONDONDERRY — It was a cliche every coach has used 1,000 times. Dennis Bishop, however, couldn’t help but make a slight correction.
“The (University of New Hampshire) coaches were telling us that everyone, ‘Had two eyes, two feet, two hands and two ears,’” Bishop remembered from a football camp in the summer. “I raised my hand and said, ‘Actually coach, I don’t have two ears.’
“The coach looked at me and said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ Then everyone started laughing.”
That’s Bishop in a nutshell. Always quick with a joke, and never afraid to make light of a situation that would leave others terribly embarrassed or uncomfortable.
Bishop, a sophomore at Londonderry High, was born without a left ear.
But the charismatic, fun-loving running back — who has led his team in rushing twice this season — isn’t about to let a slight difference make him hide in the corner.
“Dennis has never let it really hurt him,” said his step father, Ken Minasian, who has been with Bishop since his adoption. “He has had a lot of operations on his ear and has no hearing out of it, and that has been hard. People used to mention it in the grocery store, but I have never really seen him despondent over it. He is good-hearted, hard-working kid.”
Few would guess from Bishop’s lighthearted personality the struggles of his youth.
Born in the Worcester area, at 3-years-old he was adopted from foster care by Melodee, who at the time was dating Ken, and the three soon moved to Londonderry.
“I’m not really sure why they (his birth parents) gave me up,” said Bishop. “I remember one day going to Chuck E. Cheese to meet my adopted mom. I met my parents for the first time that day. We moved to Nashua first, then to Londonderry where my uncle was building houses.