Mad for…John

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs- jolted by every pebble in the road. (Henry Ward Beecher)

I love this old picture of John Berger with his two sons, Patrick and Thomas. Look at the baby faces!! This is about how old they were when I met them, and even though Patrick is now in college and Thomas is a Golden Eagle at Guerin Catholic High School, I still largely see these sweet faces in them when we cross paths.

John has coached two of my sons over the years– Drew and Zach– in baseball and football. People who volunteer their time to coach kids are often underappreciated, but not by the Thieme family. Those hours are a significant investment, and we are grateful! The guy is passionate about his sports, but he seems to me to be crazy for baseball! He likes to watch baseball, coach baseball and play baseball!!

We’ve had a great deal of fun over the years teasing John whenever the opportunity has arisen. Mostly, it’s just plain fun because John’s a joyful “people person” who doesn’t even try to hide his laughter at his own jokes (because he definitely thinks he’s hilarious). Usually, he’s not wrong. My friend, Janet Andriole, and I had an exceedingly good time questioning his masculinity every time we ended up at George’s Restaurant with him after a practice or game back in the Skiles Test Baseball years– because he LOVES their hummus. It was funny to us I suppose because it just seemed so incongruous for a guy’s guy like John Berger to order a hummus plate! He’s got a great sense of humor, so he shrugged us off with laughter!

John is a welcoming man who can always be counted on for a wide smile and a big hello hug. Those are my favorite kind of people!

In my son Drew’s senior year of high school, he decided to take up the sport of football. Coach Dilley decided he was a tight end. He was the only true tight end on the team that year and the tight ends coach was….John Berger! We cackled a lot around the dinner table that fall about how watching that duo (Drew and Coach Berger) do their thing was a lot like the blind leading the blind. They managed to make progress together, but more importantly, they had a fantastic time!

We never got to thank Coach Berger properly for the time he spent with Drew during the fall of 2017, or for the incredibly gracious words he wrote about our son to be shared at the awards banquet for the team. As the already emotional mom of a senior, the kindness brought tears to my eyes that night. So, Coach Berger, there’s no time like the present to set things straight! As you celebrate your birthday tomorrow, we want you to know that your cheerful and encouraging spirit has been enjoyed and appreciated by our clan many times over the years. We appreciate you for both your volume and your positivity, ha?! Thanks for all the smiles and the time. We think you are pretty terrific!

If you run into this guy tomorrow, be sure to wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and give him a big hug from the Thieme family! HAVE A GREAT BIRTHDAY, JOHN BERGER!!