I was inspired to write this by Nick Demarco's tribute to his father. Nick is the Director of Sports Performance at Elon. I stole the title from my cousin Nick Covino Jr. He used those words years ago to eulogize his father (Uncle Nick to all of us) after his passing.
Arthur Boyle Sr was a teacher, a coach and eventually principal. I was blissfully unaware as a child that I had an amazing role model who loved his wife, his children and his jobs. His standard joke was that anyone with one job was lazy. He taught, coached, umpired and amazingly drove a Pepsi delivery truck summers.
My dad didn't drink, smoke or swear in the time I knew him. He was a larger than life character yet lived a very modest, very ordinary life.
He was a military policeman in World War 2, a post-war football star at Boston University and an institution at Malden High School, yet he never considered himself to be anything but ordinary.
He was inducted into the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame and named to the Boston University Football All Post War Team in the 1970's. He played with the legendary Harry Agganis at BU and in fact was the center when Agganis was the quarterback.
He coached basketball teams to championships in spite of never playing organized basketball and taught his kids about racial equality in the sixties when it certainly wasn't fashionable.
When asked about his military service he joked that his job was cleaning out bars in Paris. That is about as much as I got to know about his time in the military. He never spoke about his football career but, when I was lucky enough to meet teammates they described a monster of a man who dominated games. My dad was never a look at me type of guy.
He also died when I was 25. He was never lucky enough to meet Cindy or to hold Michaela or Mark. Those might be my biggest regrets.
The largest tribute to my dad is the high school building that bears his name.
Although the school is still Malden High School the building is officially the Arthur P Boyle building and, if you drive down Salem St. in Malden you can see the tiled image of my mom and dad on the front of the building.
The next, and maybe more fitting tribute, is that the recreation basketball league in Malden is the Arthur Boyle League.
I'm writing this today because 35 years later there aren't that many Malden residents who probably remember my dad.
Strangely, I worried about telling my dad's story. He was never one to brag and I guess I'm the same.
But, it is time to brag. As Arthur P Boyle nears what would have been his 98th birthday I want the whole world to know about this extraordinary, ordinary man.
If you search Arthur Boyle on the internet two stories pop up. Both are about kids who became successful after my father talked them into returning to high school to get their degrees at Malden High School. Both thanked them at their inductions into the Malden High School Hall of Fame for believing in them as kids and probably for seeing more in them than they saw in themselves.
My dad specialized in that. Seeing the good in kids who didn't yet see it in themselves might have been his real skill.
A story, that until now was known only to a select few, is more telling. When my dad was dying one of his former students, now a mom and a nurse, basically moved into our house to care for him. She described a man who took her by the hand and brought her to nursing school after high school and changed her life. Her only way to give back was to be with him those last few days. Imagine having that much impact in your life.
His wake was supposed to be 2-4 and 7-9 for two days. It went from about 1-10 both days as hundreds of people stood in line to pay their last respects. His funeral looked like a parade as people lined the streets of Malden for what seemed to be miles to say good bye.
For thirty five years I've been like my dad. Keeping quiet and doing my job but, today I'd like people to learn just a bit about my father Arthur Patrick Boyle.