The obituary in The News-Gazette on Saturday told about the Friday passing of Paul Jarboe. It created an opportunity to reflect on a person I had known in the years that don't seem that far back.
When we were in grade school, he was the one person you did not want to play tether ball against. I can't recall anybody ever hitting the ball with the power that Paul had. He was a year ahead of me in school, and eventually the family moved to Champaign.
I lost track of him for some time, until I was a freshman in college. For some reason I can no longer recall, I was up early (for me) on a Saturday and my path took me through the UI Armory. I stopped at the sight of a wheelchair football game. I had never seen one before. To be honest, I'd never even heard about it before.
As I watched and enjoyed the action, I recognized one of the players. It was Paul Jarboe. He was more than holding his own and it was obvious he was a physical presence in that game. I made it a point of stopping by the Armory on subsequent Saturdays.
Years before I had the privilege of watching and interviewing wheelchair stars such as Sharon Hedrick and Jean Driscoll compete, I already had developed an understanding and appreciation of the tenacity that these athletes displayed. I had lost track of Paul Jarboe. Can't remember the last time I saw him, but I've had random meetings with his brother Jack, who was in my class.
Good memories about good people. Thinking about the family brings about good feelings as I share in their loss.