I met Coach Parks in 1967. We were coming out heavy times as racial riots were happening my freshman year in 1966 at Menlo-Atherton High school. In the movie, "Remember The Titans," Denzel Washington played the football coach as 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 is a bridge between his African-American heritage and the affluent "white" community around him. He has built bridges of understanding and compassion in innumerable situations, from his racially tense and often violent high school, to his own prejudiced neighborhood and inner, between races, religions, ages, 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 to provide food and clothing to many migrant field workers. He was a living example of "giving in action;" giving all that he has, 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
This week the Palo Alto Family YMCA has its annual shutdown.
They are installing new flat-screen televisions, remodeling the lobby and upgrading the fitness room and pool. While I am looking forward to seeing all the new changes when we return in a week, it will be not seeing some familiar faces that will impact me the most.
For various reasons, I am told chiefly financial, the Palo Alto Family YMCA has cut all four full-time staff in the Child Watch.
These are four mothers and grandmothers, several with serious family health issues, that live in our community, whose children and grandchildren go to our schools and who have combined to give more than 50 years of service to the YMCA and the community of Palo Alto.
They have been surrogate parents to our children, a shoulder to lean on when we felt like crying and a trusted place to leave our children when we needed a break. Now they have lost their jobs and their health insurance. This all happens as the Y has decided to raise the rates for Child Watch when most other YMCA's do not even charge for the service.
As I worked out today in the gym, I looked around the room at the four words on the walls, the four pillars of character — honesty, caring, respect, responsibility — and a got a sick feeling in my stomach. I signed up for the Y because I believed in these values and I believed in their commitment to my community.
It is my sincerest hope that the executives at the Y will rethink these decisions and find a way to make things right.
Congratulations to the Palo Alto Oaks semi-professional baseball team on winning the Team Sportsmanship trophy at the 2011 Stan Musial World Series.
This is the Oaks' second consecutive trip to the World Series, and this community should be very proud to have a team of young men who showed such determination and class during their league world series competition.
To the young men of the Palo Alto Oaks and their manager, Steve Espinoza, thank you for representing this community so well. We are proud of you and the team's accomplishments over your 61-year history.