Jack. Jack, Jack, Jack. Out of all the loved one's lost, this one hit the closest to home. Jack Pinto and his family were close family friends of my cousin's family. And my cousin's stayed closely by the Pinto's side during some of the worst times of their lives. But because of that, I feel just a little bit more connected to their sadness. To their loss. It makes me look at Jack's picture and see my own son's face reflecting back at me. It made it all that more personal and real.
Jack has this face that I can't help but look at and see what kind of a person he was. It's almost as if his eyes and his smile tell you everything you need to know. I look at him and can visualize what kind of person he was going to be. He looks like the kind of kid that was going to grow up and be captain of every sports team he tried out for. Ace every test. Prom king. Date the head cheerleader kind of a guy. The kind of guy that everyone wanted to be close to. Because he looks like the kind of kid I would have loved my son to look up to.
It's not too far fetched to imagine that there could have been a day where I would have brought my son to the town play ground to let him burn off some energy. And Jack could have been there. My son gravitates to older boys and Jack would have been someone that he would have bee-lined for. He would have instantly recognized that Jack was ruling to playground with a baseball or a football. Two sports that my son loves as well. And Jack would have tried to involve a much younger child into the game as best as possible. My son and I would have left that afternoon, and I would have smiled at the thought of the sweet older boy that took the time to be so kind to my baby. I would have left thinking that I hope my son grows up to treat younger children as well as that boy on the playground treated him that day. We would have gone our separate ways, lead of separate lives, and I would have hoped in the back of my mind that my brother, the Newtown High School chemistry teacher, would come across that boy in his class one day.
But my brother will never teach Jack chemistry. My son will never get to have a chance encounter on the playground with him either. Instead, my cousins will continue to stand next to the Pinto family whenever they need a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. And the Pinto's will have a seat empty at the table that can never be filled.
Jack. I ran a race for you on May 5th. I hand picked that race for you because it was a trail run. I ran through mud and high grass, over bridges and sawdust packed trails. I did that for you because to me, you will always be an athlete. You will always be the soul of sports and competition for me. I will carry your love of the game, of every game, with me for the rest of my life. I will play for you for the rest of my life. In your honor and in your place. And I will always remember to teach my son to love the game, which ever game he chooses, and play it with all the heart and dedication that you exhibited while you were here with us.
All my love,
Here is Jack Pinto. The 10th angel I have now run for:
Pictures of race day. Full album available on the facebook page, 26 in 2013 for Sandy Hook:
For Jack, the biggest Giants fan the world have ever know.