Monday, September 23, 2013

A good guy

There's a Facebook page I keep up with that shows pictures and shares memories of the part of town where I grew up, and the other day, someone posted a picture of a fellow named Jack Thomas.  Jack graduated the year after me from Towson High, but he was even as an underclassman the star athlete of the school, excelling in football, basketball and lacrosse.  His father was the football coach, and if you sent out for a guy to play "high school football coach," you'd get a guy who looked just like Mr. Thomas...sort of burly, red faced, wearing a nylon jacket and sweat pants with sneakers, a baseball cap and a whistle on a lanyard around his neck.  As I recall, his son did not look like the archetypal jock, nor did he act like one.  Let me tell you how...

A fellow who had been in Jack's phys ed class wrote on the page that he was always the last guy to be chosen for a team. He said that under normal circumstances, he couldn't catch a ball, but that he still remembers a kindness and a good deed that Jack did all those years ago...and the appreciation he felt for the kind of man Jack was and is.

Here it is, right from Facebook:

Baltimore SUN photo
 In our senior year at THS, Jack and I were in the same gym class. I was the kid always picked last for every team sport. I was so uncoordinated I couldn't catch ANYTHING, baseballs, footballs, b-balls, etc. During the last seconds of a gym class touch football game Jack threw me the ball. I caught the ball and scored. What a HIGH for me. He was so good he could make ME catch the ball. He just smiled at me. What a leader and gentleman. I will never forget this though it seems insignificant. Besides a great sportsman, he is a person of great character!

It would have been easy for the star athlete to be a total churl in dealing with the non-jocks around him.  Heaven knows, a lot of them were, and are.

It turns out that Jack Thomas is now teaching history in a Howard County high school.  I have no doubt that a man of his decency and goodness is teaching his students a lot more than who won the Peloponnesian Wars.

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