My strangest act of kindness happened in P.E. class over 40 years ago

Perhaps the strangest act of kindness I ever performed happened when I was a senior in high school.

As you can see from the photo, I was an even bigger nerd then than I am now. But except for less hair, more wrinkles and different eyeglasses, I haven't changed much since 1969.

Maybe you can identify with being the last person picked on the teams in physical education class. The coach chose two kids to be captains, usually from the students who participated in varsity sports.

Those boys then got to choose their team members, whether it was for touch football, softball, volleyball, or the much-dreaded dodgeball.

An act of kindness from 1969

Along with the other nerds and geeks in my gym class, I was always last or next-to-last chosen, because I was skinny, uncoordinated, and bad at every kind of sport ever invented. This was a humiliation I and my fellow nerds endured through our freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years.

Then, one day in my senior year of high school, the coach chose one of the jocks (as usual) for one team captain--and me for the other one!

That had never happened before.

I suspect the coach did it more out of curiosity than kindness. Even today, I remember him as little more than a bully with a whistle. An entire team of nerds? But what I then did with my choices dumbfounded not only him, but all the macho athletes who expected me to pick them for a sure win.

With each of my alternating choices for teammates, I started with my friend Allen, another first-class nerd, and proceeded to pack my team with the geekiest losers in the class. My team was a cornucopia of outcasts and pariahs, a motley collection of the clumsiest klutzes in the entire school.

Forty years later, I can't even remember what game we were playing. I don't remember the score, although I remember that the athlete-packed team trounced us unmercifully. I do remember that my strange little act of kindess resulted in the PE class that I enjoyed the most in four years of high school.

At the end of the period, as my fellow clods and I went into the locker room, laughing all the way, the coach looked at me, perplexed. I'm sure that if he's still alive today, as a wrinkled up old bully, he still wouldn't get it.

The moral of this strange story?


Jack's truths for thriving.

Kindness doesn't have to make sense,
as long as it helps someone who's hurting.





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