Rhodes kept life, coaching on track

Congratulations to Coach Steve Rhodes on his outstanding three-plus decades of coaching and teaching in the Altoona Area School District.

Coach Rhodes was also the athletic director at both Roosevelt and the Altoona Area Junior High School.

The athletes and students who Rhodes came in contact with were better for it and will realize that more and more as they progress through life.

Rhodes has qualities we all want our children to strive for — integrity, character and dedication being a few.

Many of you know Rhodes through your children or possibly your own track or educational experiences.

Rhodes is and has always been the most consistently consistent person I know.

I met him in 1961 in first grade at Fairview Elementary. We’ve been best friends ever since. Even then Rhodes’ moral compass encouraged me to make correct, although maybe not as much fun, decisions.

Now we don’t see each other a lot during winter months, but we do go golfing once a week or so in the summer.

What some may not know is that two weeks before her oldest child would graduate from AAHS, Anne Rhodes would die while performing her duties as a teacher at Roosevelt Junior High. So opposite from today’s fast-moving news, we didn’t hear about it during the rest of the school day.

Rhodes came to my house after school and said, “My mother died!”

It was crushing. He became an adult that day, far quicker that the rest of us. It was a conscious choice. He had a 12-year-old little sister and a 15-year-old little brother.

Rhodes’ father’s job had different hours than most and was on call. Rhodes became “mom” as well as pursuing his own goal of becoming a teacher in the AASD, following in his mom’s footprints.

Character goes such a long way. Steve Rhodes did both jobs admirably.

Mike Gibbons

Altoona

Question of the week

At what age do you think it’s appropriate for kids to start tackle football?

Responses should be emailed to sundaybag@altoonamirror.com, faxed to 946-7540 or mailed to Voice of the Fan, P.O. Box 2008, Altoona, Pa. 16603. Letters should be kept to 150-200 words.

The Mirror reserves the right to edit for length, clarity and fairness.

Full names and addresses must be included with all mail.