There are men that come into your life and make you better and outside of the men in my family, few men have had the influence of Mr. Jim Antos.
This weekend at the all alumni dinner the long serving principal Mr. James Antos will be honored and rightly so.
I like many Crusaders first met Mr. Antos at freshman orientation, this was 25 years ago, I’m scared as you know what shaking like a leaf on a tree. But in the new gym he explained everything and got you prepared for the journey you’d take on the next four years.
Right the next week I was in Mr. Antos’ freshman world history class, that class changed my life and I come from a family of teachers but Mr. Antos was special educator. He was able to explain the Vietnam War in detail because he was there, she showed us the movie The Hanoi Hilton and gave details. But mostly he kept his class light, educational but not easy. He had that delicate balance the best teachers have.
It was during this class he asked for volunteers to be equipment managers for freshman baseball for he was the freshman baseball coach at the time. As a baseball fan but not at the skill level to play at Rice I thought this would be a good opportunity.
I had no idea, it was a great opportunity despite taking criticism from some fellow classmates for being a “water boy”, I was able to be part of the team, learn the game and really for the first time go out of my comfort zone and do something cool. I learned so much about the game, teamwork (the guys on the team were awesome), and have a lot of fun. Coach Antos didn’t treat me like a water boy, I was just another guy on the team and that was great.
I remember on a Saturday road game (which were double headers), we are in the van headed back to Rice and take note I was the only African American in any level of Crusader baseball in 1991. But I never had any issues with that from anyone on the team and in fact on that Saturday as we are coming back to 99th Street Coach Antos asked what radio station I listened to and on the way back we listened to the urban R&B station 107.5 WGCI, I never forgot that.
The next fall as I started my junior year several classmates started employment (Thanks Frank), at Rice as student workers. Guess who oversaw the student workers outside of the staff at “the shop” behind the cafeteria? Mr. Antos and that fall I also had his world history class, so I got a double major in Antos.
He was no different as a boss than as a history teacher or baseball coach, tough but fair and always kept a positive attitude and good work environment. All these years later and I still fall back on how he kept that a good work experience.
One of the most memorable things he said that has served me well was “respect someone’s rank not the person”, in cases of dealing with a tough or unfair boss or coworker. It’s so true, you have to stay professional even when other’s aren’t.
And it’s a testament to Mr. Antos, one of the most professional men I ever met and I hope I’m half the professional and the man who truly stands for “Act Manly In Christ Jesus”, the Brother Rice motto.
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