I wrote the following column an hour after learning of the death of one of my school’s administrators, Mr. DuBoyce. In addition to being one of the friendliest faces in the school, Mr. DuBoyce was an avid supporter of the cross country team and came to many of our cross country meets.
One of the great appeals and abilities of sports lies in its power to unite us. Sports allows us to care for one another, to encourage each other, to share our victories and defeats. Joseph DuBoyce, our school administrator and the number one fan of our cross country team, understood this power and used sports to impact my life and the lives of all the athletes on my team.
Mr. DuBoyce was never a coach on the cross country team. He didn’t have children on the team, though his son previously competed on teams at Linganore and UMBC. There was no obligation for him to be around the cross country team. Cross country meets aren’t mainstream high school events like football or basketball games, after all, and a multi-hour commute to a meet across the state is far from convenient. Yet Mr. DuBoyce was a constant, uplifting presence at our team’s meets in recent seasons and touched all of us with his kind words and encouragement before, during, and after our races.
I never fully understood why Mr. DuBoyce would travel all over the county and state to attend our meets. But I’m sure grateful that he did. During the toughest parts of our 3.1-mile cross country courses, he’d run over and exuberantly tell us to give it our all and fight through the pain. His encouragements extended beyond the varsity races- if you were wearing Wootton red, Mr. DuBoyce would be on the course pulling for you. To him, it made no difference whether we won or lost. It only mattered that we fought.
Through his actions, he showed us that our sport was important. Cross country isn’t considered one of the premier high school sports, like football and basketball. There’s no admission fee and the sight of other students from our school is a rare occurrence. I never thought that, though, because by coming to our meets, Mr. DuBoyce sent the message to us that our sport was worth his time, that it was relevant. Our effort through the pain meant something to someone outside of our team.
Mr. DuBoyce will be greatly missed by our team and the school community. Aside from sharing a few words, Mr. DuBoyce and I didn’t have any conversations and I didn’t have him as a teacher or administrator. Instead, he impacted me from the sideline and taught me lessons simply by example. He taught me to go beyond the call of duty in caring for others and showed me that just a few words could go a long way. He was the teammate we always loved, and will forever strive to be like.