Letter: Remembering a local institution

To the editor:
   Last week the South Brunswick educational community lost a great friend.
   Thomas Fitzpatrick passed away. We all knew him as "Fitzy," and for 25 years he served as athletic trainer for South Brunswick High School and Crossroads School.
   As an athletic trainer, his credentials were second to none. He served as athletic trainer for the U.S. Olympic Baseball Team in South Korea, as well as several other college, minor league and professional ice hockey teams.
   For those of us who had children who were student-athletes in South Brunswick in the late ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and for the children themselves, "Fitzy" had a different meaning.
   He was the man who knew what to do and what to say to an injured athlete. Whether he was massaging their arm or ankle, helping them off the field or telling them a joke that would make them laugh and forget their pain; "Fitzy" always knew what to do.
   "Fitzy," however, was more than just a trainer; he was a friend to the children and many times to their parents. He was the person we all sought out when we were having a bad day because we knew he would make us laugh and make it a better day.
   If one of the kids was feeling down, "Fitzy" always offered a positive solution. In al the years I had the pleasure of knowing him, I never recall him having a bad day. "Put ice on it," was a favorite line and he allowed the children to poke him and mimic him, the kids though, loved and respected him. It was a unique relationship, one we hardly ever see anymore.
   The legacy of Thomas "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick will always live on in the hearts of the thousands of student-athletes and the parents who were fortunate enough to have our lives touched by him. It was a unique relationship, one we hardly ever see anymore.
   The South Brunswick Police Athletic League will honor "Fitzy" by awarding one of the scholarships we give to a South Brunswick High School student-athlete in his name this year on Senior Awards Night in June.
Jake Rodriguez


Police Athletic League

South Brunswick