The Jeremy Lin story you haven't heard
"Front row," Mike McNulty said instantly.
Yes, it makes sense. The NBA sensation who came from the very end of the Knicks' bench used to sit at the very front of McNulty's classroom, where the longtime sports fan has taught "The Literature of Sport" for more than a decade.
"If you like sports, you're going to like the class," said McNulty. "Essentially, we talk about sports in society and how it all works out, especially looking at it thru various literary devices."
The reading list includes Friday Night Lights, The Blind Side, Seabiscuit and The Natural.
"My take is that sports influences society a great deal. All you have to do is look around the room and how many of you have a hat on or sweatshirt on," explained McNulty. "There are a lot of different trends in society that come from sports, so that's what we look at thru the semester."
Of course, the latest trend - Linsanity - actually enrolled in McNulty's class his senior year (earned an A grade, naturally), right about the same time he led Palo Alto HS (locals call it "Paly") to the state title over California state power Mater Dei (and their half-dozen D-1 recruits).
Which means that just like Lin went from NBA nobody to global luminary, he's about to advance from former student to future part of the curriculum. Meaning, the teacher that taught him will now be teaching all about him in the near future, while using Lin's papers as an example for current students.
"He's a very good writer, one of the better ones I've seen. And creative as well," said McNulty, adding that he most definitely remembers Lin's papers.
"He wrote an essay on Jackie Robinson's first day in the major leagues. He created the characters and background, just like he was there," said McNulty. "It was really interesting."
And perhaps telling. If nothing else, Jeremy Lin certainly knows cultural impact when he sees it. Or, in this case, makes it. At the very least, he learned the importance of seizing the moment, akin to "The Blind Side."
"There are some real correlations there," said McNulty. "Obviously, completely different socio-economic backgrounds, but with Michael Oher there was no way that he ever should've played football. He had his chance and worked at it and got some support and look at where he is now."
Which is pretty much what McNulty has been teaching his students this semester about the kid who used to sit in the front row. Difference is, you won't find it on the book list. Some stories you read. This story you tell.