San Mateo Daily Journal
August 29 2011 9:59 am Home Local News State / National / World Sports Opinion / Letters Business
Letter: Remembering Coach Parks August 29, 2011, 03:30 AM
Editor,I met Coach Ben Parks in 1967. We were coming out of heavy times as racial riots were happening during my freshman year in 1966 at Menlo-Atherton High School. In the movie “Remember the Titans,” Denzel Washington plays the football coach at a recently integrated high school in 1971. The school board forced to integrate. They combined the white school and the black school into one. It was the same thing with Coach Parks and he did it with gusto.
In many ways, his life was a bridge between his African-American heritage and the affluent “white” community that surrounded him. He built bridges of understanding and compassion in innumerable situations; from his racially tense and often violent high school to his own prejudiced neighborhood. Between races, religions, ages and between rich students and poor. He continued to reach out to the Mexican-American community where he was fed and cared for as a child and continued to provide food and clothing to many migrant field workers. He was a living example of “giving in action;” giving all that he had, asking nothing in return. Although his story has special appeal to African-American and Latino audiences, it will also appeal to every person interested in bridging gaps between races, generations and economic groups. Coach’s story is universal and his message transcends the boundaries of race, ethnicity, geography and culture. He will be missed!
Ted Rudow III,MA