I actually knew Jack before he was Deacon Jack, since he became my brother-in-law before he was ordained as a permanent Deacon. When I met him, he was just Jack. So, I’m one of the few people in Dallas that didn’t know him from work or from Church.
When Virginia and I were married on a schooner off Key West, Jack and Trish attended our wedding, as representatives of her family. When Virginia and I renewed our vows on our 15th anniversary just over a month ago on a cruise ship (after 15 years, “we’re gonna need a bigger boat”), Jack and Trish attended the ceremony, as well.
He was always there, even if we didn’t talk to each other very often.
The reason we didn’t talk very much was because of the other love of his life which has not been mentioned too much yet – sports. If there was a game on in his house, conversation was usually minimal, and there was almost always a game on in his house.
Jack loved sports. This may be sacrilegious, but one of my first thoughts after we received the call that he passed was, “Well, at least we know Heaven gets ESPN.”
Jack was the only member of my extended family that was actually interested when I started doing analytics projects on baseball scores as a demo for work. He was more interested than some of the people at work, actually.
Jack attended Dallas Desperados arena football games as a season ticket holder, with me and Virginia. I think he knew more of the rules than I did, and he started going after me.
After Virginia and I were married, I realized that I didn’t have to explain any of the major sports to her. It had been done already. Thank you, Jack! She even knew the basics about sports I didn’t watch. Also, like Jack before her, moving from New York to Dallas meant that Virginia continued despising the Eagles and the Redskins during football season, but neither of them would ever leave their allegiance to the Yankees in the Spring and Summer (and hopefully, Fall).
When I was updating the main website this morning, I realized that what his memorial page needed was not only the basics of his life that an obituary provides and the very personal outpouring of love from all that knew him, but also the latest Yankees news. I think he would appreciate it. Opening Day will be here soon.
I miss you, Jack. I will see you on the other side. Oh, and if you have time, if you could put in a good word to your Boss about the Cubs, I would really appreciate it. I think this might be their year.