Today was our staff vs. the students basketball game at Jackson. It was fun to beat up on the boys a little bit...they are always sooooooooooooooooo cocky (unlike me!) and then the old games take 'em apart a little! It was fun!
Today reminded me of the my first staff vs. student game when I was in 8th grade...I will NEVER forget the EVER COMPETITIVE Mr. Douglas shoving me into the wall!! I was a LITTLE upset, BUT he is a teacher that I just LOVED! (He did finally apologize!)
Mr. Douglas ran his gym class in a way that he truly invested his LIFE into his work and into the boys. Back in the day we had separate classes for girls and boys...Mr. Douglas would then split us up in AAA, AA and A...so that everyone would have a chance to compete and win...not politically correct today, but it gave EVERYONE a chance to be successful at their level...we would give $.25 at the beginning of each new sport and if we won our division he would give us trophies! The battles in his class were INTENSE...FUN memories!!
I'll never forget one time I was complaining about a call in basketball...Douglas grabs his whistle and in his unique voice starts yelling..."Boucher...if you want me to blow the whistle...I'll blow the whistle...play the game Boucher." The next time I touched the ball..."WHISTLE" "Foul on Boucher!" I looked at him in disbelief! The next time I got the ball..."Whistle" "Boucher walked with the ball...come on Boucher...what's the problem...get your head in the game?!?!" Seems mean...but you can bet I didn't whine about any calls for the rest of the year!!
At the end of every school year...Douglas would use his own money and put on a SPORTS DAY...Mr. Douglas had people from all over the world come and check out "his program."...Sports Day was an ALL DAY LONG event...and it was a CARNIVAL! Races...Pop drinking contests...food...("6 pieces of peperoni...more than you'll ever get in the cafeteria!")...he would pay for a band to come and they were usually ROCKIN! THEN...we would earn points and get prizes...and he bought A TON of stuff for prizes!! He was a VERY generous man!!
Douglas was also good at pouring MANHOOD into his students...he was a man's man and he expected us to man up. To walk like men...to treat the girls well...to compete with EVERYTHING we had...and to "not wear polka-dotted shorts..." He wanted us to battle against the odds...he would tell us..."give me the worst team and I'll beat all of you in volleyball...doesn't matter who I have...we'll win...I'll will us to win!" Crazy thing...he was right! His intensity was contagious...he longed to pull the best out of each of us and in his unique style he sure did!
My brother and I can go on FOREVER telling Douglas stories and using his unique voice to do it...I am grateful to him for the fire that he burned in me...for the time that he took to pour his life into us! I have A LOT of great memories from Manchester Middle School...MANY of them revolve around Mr. Douglas!