Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hometown Celebration with NFL Great

He told about having big hands and big feet as an adolescent.  A coach once said to him, "When you grow into those hands and those feet, you could become quite a football player." 
He did both. 

Jerry Kramer's body caught up with his hands and feet, and he played football at Sandpoint High School----wanted to be a running back but ended up being a tackle and didn't exactly like that position. 

He also played football as a Vandal at the University of Idaho and then he put Sandpoint, Idaho, on the map as a legendary guard for the Green Bay Packers.  

Jerry Kramer said yesterday that he had been to an award ceremony or two----many times with the room filled with people he didn't know.

Jerry was thrilled that he knew a lot of people at yesterday's presentation of his NFL Hall of Fame plaque to his Sandpoint High School alma mater.   

Family members, old friends, TV sportscasters and a whole lot of young people, thrilled to see a hometown legend---all, Kramer said, made his homecoming very special. 

Yesterday Jerry Kramer talked a little football and told a good fishing story about the day he got mad at his dad and ran away from home.  

He stirred many souls within the gymnasium while speaking of Thoreau, reading his favorite poem "Invictus" and topping off his words with thoughts from legendary coach Vince Lombardi.  

This ol' English teacher thanked the man with the big hands and feet for including meaningful literary elements into his short address and for reminding us about the most important guidelines for living one's life. 

Jerry Kramer has done it well, and to have attended yesterday's program honoring this Sandpoint legend was an blessing, to say the least.

The gathering provided a wonderful opportunity for lots of folks who hadn't seen each other in years, including Jerry's sister Carol who sat next to me in study hall at Sandpoint High School.  

Yup, I'm pretty sure it had been about 54 years since I'd seen Carol.  We took up where we left off and promised to see each other a bit more often than every 54 years. 

In one case, Jack Bloxom and Gary Johnson stood together for a short visit.  I met both in the eighth grade at Sandpoint Junior High.  Mr. Bloxom was beginning his teaching career, while Gary, my classmate and longtime friend, had just moved to Sandpoint. 

It was a thrilling moment to tell Jack, who also coached baseball at NIC for 30 years, that I modeled his method for starting out a school year in my own career.  It was a "firm but kind" approach, making expectations clear on Day One.

Jerry Kramer brought a lot of wonderful folks together yesterday, and I'm sure he's pleased as he truly followed his own advice to students----make the world a better place because you're in it. 

Thanks to my friend Janice, one of Jerry's relatives, for nudging me into attending yesterday's event.  It was a truly remarkable and inspirational celebration. 

Carol Kramer Anderson and me, catching up after 54 years. 

Keith Osso and Darnay Tripp covered the event for their respective Spokane television stations. 

Dave Brooks from Rokstad Ford speaks on behalf of the Ford Motor Co. 

 A couple of guys with rather illustrious sports backgrounds:  Jack Bloxom and Bill Barlow.  Barlow's father Cotton was Jerry Kramer's football coach.  Jack coached baseball at NIC, while Bill Barlow followed in his dad's footsteps as a football mentor. 

Jerry's daughter Alicia and Skip Pucci 

That's my friend Janice third from the left, her hubby Mark and her niece and nephew. 

One of Jerry's family members, Sue Hatch Smith

Alicia Kramer and Jerry's grandson Charlie

New Sandpoint High football coach Ryan Knowles was on hand to watch the ceremony, as were his mom Janice and Sandpoint High staffer Patsy Sletager. 

Of course, I proudly introduced Coach Love to my friend Carol. 

And, it's not often that Willie and I get together for a photo.  Good opportunity with Sandpoint High red and white. 

My classmate Gary Johnson and our eighth grade social studies teacher Jack Bloxom. 

More of Jerry's family members. 


Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

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