As I was walking to the West End Y today I heard a friends voice in my head telling me that our old high school basketball coach John MacLennan had passed away. I think I first heard this while I was completely focused on something else because I forgot the sad news until today. I looked him up on the internet, found the details of his passing and realized I had probably not seen him in twenty some-odd years.
John MacLennan was an amazing person. He was a great coach, teacher and a good friend while I was in high school. (I think he may have had something to do with me being Valedictorian) His sense of humour and jokes rubbed off on me so much that I have a few "standbys" that I still use on a regular basis with my kids and music students. He used to pinch your sweater between his thumb and forefinger and say; "Is it felt?...it is now. " The variation on that would be feeling the material but actually rubbing his thumb while saying "nice."
He certainly led by example with his consistent smile, positive body language and constant words of encouragement. I try to bring all these things to my teaching and daily life.
I played basketball for him in Grade 9 and 10 and loved it. (had to give it up for my music eventually) I still use his quote that applied to basketball and day to day life "hurry without rushing." Also, as I now coach and continue to play much hockey I think of him always insisting one should look to the net when they first get the ball. This applies well to hockey too. (although not a common thing to hear)
He was one of the few teachers I remember calling me only by my nickname; Pozz and I can still hear his voice echoing in my memories.
I am sad for the loss of his family and close friends. I know he is outstanding in his new field now as others have suggested and I will never forget him.