Brian Holloway, whose name will probably be familiar to people who follow football, had a locker just a ways down from mine in high school and was close friends with my friend Brad (the friend who posted notice of Steve’s passing.) Between them and their little brothers a grade younger, they set the tone for the jocks in the school: be good to other people. Be proud of their accomplishments (missed the state football championship by one game) but not too full of themselves. The stupid drunk partying thing? Not cool around the captain of the team and his buddy.
Every high school should have jocks like that (said the emphatically-not-a-jock). I don’t remember a lot of details about Brian but I do remember that our class was fortunate he was in it; he was just a really nice guy who made the world better around him.
Over twenty thousand dollars in damage to his house, stupid teens tweeting their own little reality show while Brian read their posts from far away, incredulous. The rampaging mob, hundreds of them, stole, drugged, drank, peed, broke, shattered, vandalized, graffittied, all the while publicly glorying to each other in their destruction.
And his response?
To hope to rescue those kids from the tragedy of the trajectories they’d just sent themselves on. To hold them accountable for the sakes of their own souls while telling them here was his website and here was their chance: own up. Come clean. Don’t stay in that horrible hole forever where it will only get worse if they let bad decisions compound bad decisions and flood out their futures. And don’t think you can duck out if you don’t do it–we know. He offered them something priceless: take responsibility and by so doing begin to reclaim yourselves. Come help me get the place ready for a picnic for military personnel.
Other teens who had had nothing to do with that night showed up too after they heard: to help clean up the terrible mess in shame for what their peers had done and to offer solidarity to a family who had done nothing to deserve this.
And that is a gift they gave themselves as well as the Holloways, forever.
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