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ON THE MOVE
REFLECTIONS ON A GREAT MENTOR A LESSON IN PERSEVERANCE
Well, the fall semester is upon us yet again, and my eldest son, Michael, is
some choice quotes from the other team. Needless to say, we were chomping at the bit for this rematch. I think we took the other team by surprise with our intensity, because we ended up winning that one! Wins were nice, but ultimately, they were really just a side effect of what Mr. McLaughlin was doing for us. As both a PE teacher and a coach, his No. 1 concern was always helping us to do
“Throughout my life, there have been times where a challenge seemed too great, but I persevered thanks to the lessons Mr. McLaughlin taught, both in class and on the court.”
headed into his first year of high school at the prestigious St. Francis Prep! As parents, we’re excited for him to go to a bigger school with lots of club and sports opportunities. As an alumnus of St. Francis myself, I’m proud my son is going to get the same great mentorship I received at his age.
The uniform has changed a bit since my school days. Back when I was a teenager I had to wear a tie and everything. My younger self would probably have been jealous of the simple polo my son gets to wear! Aesthetic changes aside, I was grateful to learn that one of my most influential teachers is still at the school, my PE instructor and basketball coach, Patrick McLaughlin. You would not have picked me out as a basketball player if you’d known me as a freshman. I was flat-footed, vertically challenged, and only 165 pounds. I wasn’t exactly the fastest guy on the court either. But I wasn’t the odd one out. The St. Francis JV basketball team at that time was pretty scrappy — as a prep school, we didn’t have a huge roster of top athletes to pull from. Yet somehow, Mr. McLaughlin pulled our little team together and made us winners. Now, this isn’t some “Hoosiers” story. We never went on to win state or anything like that. But no matter which of the city’s biggest schools we were going up against, Mr. McLaughlin always had us fired up to go out and play our absolute best. He got pretty creative with his sources of inspiration too. I remember one game in particular, where we were going to face a team we’d already lost to earlier in the season. When we came to school the morning of game day, each of us found a newspaper clipping in our locker telling the story of our team’s previous loss. Mr. McLaughlin had circled certain words the author had used to describe the game, as well as
our absolute best. That meant being tough at times, but he was never negative. He pushed us when we thought we couldn’t do something or when we thought a loss was a foregone conclusion. For our coach, pulling the best performance out of us was the real victory. Throughout my life, there have been times where a challenge seemed too great, but I persevered thanks to the lessons Mr. McLaughlin taught, both in class and on the court. It’s one thing to think you can’t do something, it’s another to rise to the challenge and give it your all. Win or lose, you’ll feel better having tried. Since my time on the court, Mr. McLaughlin has become Principal McLaughlin! At St. Francis’ orientation for parents, I was happy to see he was still capable of giving the stirring speeches I remember from the locker room. It’s great knowing that such an inspiring man is heading the school Michael will be attending. As both Michael and Matthew head back to school, I’m excited for them to find their own mentors, as I did at their age.
Here’s to all the great teachers out there,
–Dr. Robert Morea
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