Celebrate a community treasure: Mike McCabe
- Pamplin Media
- Forest Grove News-Times - Opinion
As a seven-year-old boy at Echo Shaw Elementary School, my life was blessed when Mike McCabe became my PE teacher.
Most kids at the age of seven dream of being a fireman, a policeman or a professional athlete. From the time Mr. McCabe came into that gym and opened his hands to give everyone '5,' I wanted to be a PE teacher. He would hold open gyms for us before there were any Boys and Girls Clubs in this area and he always had a hand out to make you feel like you were important to him.
As a 15-year-old, my life was blessed when Mike McCabe became my junior varsity baseball coach. I learned fundamentals and intricacies of the game that year that helped me in the next couple years as a varsity player and years later as a coach. That team was one of the tightest groups I have ever been a part of and we all would have run through brick walls for Coach McCabe if he hit one of his 'hogs' through it.
As a young teacher, I was lucky enough to work with Mr. McCabe, and I spent as much time as I could with him as I supervised my special education class in his PE classes. Mike was trying to move to the high school to coach the varsity baseball team at this time and he was passed over for the job that he had been waiting for as Mr. Bond was ready to retire. For all the pain of being passed over for the job that he coveted most, you would never know if you watched him teaching his classes.
The PE classes brought me back to a special memory and I saw how the kids were as happy as I was when he would put out that hand for a congratulatory tap.
In this district there are a few people who have been icons of what is good about living here and a reason why so many students bring their families back to live in Forest Grove. If you ask anyone who grew up here in any of the last four decades and mention the name 'McCabe,' a huge grin will come over his/her face and they will remember fondly their experiences with the man.
An icon like Mike McCabe should be celebrated and allowed to finish what he began as a positive community treasure.