Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell of the British Army is recognized as the main protagonist of the Scouting movement for boys. Having been the author of several books on scouting, Lord Baden-Powell is responsible for teaching men and boys to survive and prosper in the wilderness.
The use of trail signs to designate direction and warn of dangers is widely attributed to Baden-Powell. In fact, on his tombstone is carved the most used of these signs, a circle with a dot in the middle signifying "I have gone home."
He was much too young to be taken, and yet to be taken so tragically, but Jasper Howard has gone home. A football stadium scrawls a roughly-hewn circle, with the field's logo as the dot.
From his new perch and from within their souls, Jasper witnessed a stirring display of football by his Connecticut teammates as they kept a faster and more talented West Virginia team on the ropes all afternoon. It took a monumental effort by the Mountaineers to win, but win they did.
The game was the kind that left a lump in the throats of football players, now and then, young and old, here and elsewhere. And it was the kind of game that even I, a witness of many West Virginia gridiron skirmishes, would have not minded had the Mounties lost.
Although too many adult fans ignored or perhaps forgot the purpose of the day, the students showed nothing but class. The purported burners of sofas and throwers of garbage cans and talkers of trash put aside their agendas and let the spirit of Jasper Howard and his Huskies carry them.
I am proud of the WVU students, proud to be an alumnus, and especially proud to be one of the scribes who recorded their moment.
Maybe, just maybe, the edge will be taken off by the memories of when the student section broke out into their Jasper Howard chant. I do know that when I catch wind of the next burning couch, I'll remember that when we all needed it, the students delivered.