One of my seventh hour students approached me after class Thursday, letting me know that her sister had been one of my students when I was teaching at South Middle School.
It didn’t immediately click with me just who her sister was, and to be totally honest, it was only the second day of school, so I did not know the girl’s last name yet.
Shortly after she told me that, I remembered the student, who was one of my favorites during my first year at South, but for the girl’s sake I hated that I could not come up with the name.
It’s just like those many times when I will be at Wal-Mart or at the mall and a former student will come up to me and though I immediately recognize that this was one of my students, the name somehow manages to elude me.
It happens to almost all teachers, especially after you have been in the business for several years. It is virtually impossible to keep thousands of students’ names straight, especially when many times they are much taller, have grown facial hair, or have an entirely different look.
It’s impossible that is unless you’re Bob Shore.
Anyone with a knowledge of East Newton High School football history knows that Bob Shore fielded the first winning teams in the school history, during the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. After that, he moved on to Camdenton High School, where he has been the last 35 years, winning five state championships and compiling a stellar winning percentage.
Twenty-one years ago, about 16 years after Shore left East Newton, I called him for a story I was doing for the Lamar Democrat on the undefeated Jasper High School football team of 1968. Shore was an assistant coach for that team.
It didn’t take two seconds after I said my name for Shore to say, “Randy Turner from East Newton?”
I said I was, and before I could say anything else, he was reliving old memories and bombarding me with questions about people from the old school.
That would be enough of an accomplishment to remember a student after 16 years, but what made it all the more remarkable is that I did not play football- and I never had Coach Shore as a teacher.
Tonight is a special night for Bob Shore. The veteran coach, who reluctantly left East Newton to take the Camdenton position, will receive yet another in a long list of honors.
School officials are naming the football stadium after him, a fitting tribute to a man whose name has become synonymous with winning football in Camdenton.
Bob Shore is still prowling the sidelines for the Lakers, so this is one of those rare times when someone receives the honors he richly deserves while he is there for people to appreciate him.
And when that day finally comes when someone else takes the reins, the name above the stadium will ensure that people will never forget Bob Shore’s name, just as he never forgot theirs.