Last fall I went to see my best friend's son perform in a play at the same junior high school that we attended. Before the lights went down, I noticed a familiar teacher's name in the program. I asked my friend if she knew who he was, and she suggested that we talk to the principal after the play.
Her son stole the show, and I felt like a proud stage auntie. As a sixth grader, he came across quite cool and confident which were characteristics that his big man on campus character needed. This made me think about how I was anything but confident back in my junior high and grammar school days.
My least favorite class was always gym, but something changed when a new teacher came on the scene in third or fourth grade. His name was Mr. Lawson, and he always encouraged me to feel better about my lack of athletic prowess. He even set-up an after school program to help a handful of us work on our coordination.
He tried so hard to help me from tripping over my untied shoe laces, untangling me from a jump rope, and losing my pants while attempting a somersault on the trampoline. He even went the extra mile by driving me home from school a few times. Mr. Lawson was more of a manny than a gym teacher to me, and he never lost his patience along the way.
After the play my dear friend introduced me to the principal, and I asked her if the set manager for the play was the same Mr. Lawson who taught at our grammar school over forty years ago. Not only was he my former gym teacher, but his daughter-in-law was in the audience.
I rushed over to tell her how her father-in-law tried so hard to make gym a fun experience, and how he always went out of his way for me. I got pretty choked up as I thought back on all of my stereotypical gym teachers who favored the athletes, and shunned the underdogs. It also didn't help that they took off points if you needed a little extra time in the locker room.
Mr. Lawson's daughter-in-law was very appreciative, and promised to tell him how much he meant to me. I was really hoping that I would've run into him that evening, but maybe it's better that he didn't see me run.