Jock Talk with Joel Charron: The one, the only Mike McNorgan

He’s the type of kid that you would want living next door to you. He’s charming and witting and has been called the most charismatic athlete to walk the hall of General Amherst in quite some time.

Ladies and Gentleman, I would like to introduce you to Mike McNorgan.

McNorgan first grabbed my attention during the 2010 Amherst senior football season, to be more exact it was the Wilson Conference semi-finals against Essex.

The game was tied and heading into the second quarter when I walked by the bench and saw McNorgan sitting on the sideline, waiting for the defense to take the field with an intense look fixed upon his face.

I walked closer to the bench and said

“Hey McNorgan, we need a big play here. How about you go grab a pick-6.”

“Yes, sir,” he said, with that same intense look.

Two plays later, McNorgan snatched the ball that was intended for an Essex receiver and ran it back to the house for six.

McNorgan jogged back to the bench, looked up at me, flashed his big, toothy smile and said,

“That was for you.”

That was my first impression of the kid and ever since then it’s been a growing relationship full of laughs and amazement.

If there is one thing that really caught my attention about McNorgan, besides his athletic talent, is the way he treats people.

I’ve never seen McNorgan get down on any players for making a mistake, I’ve never seen him yell at someone because they couldn’t make a play and I’ve never seen him take out his frustration on someone else.

“When you watch someone play sports, it reflect what kind of person they are,” said McNorgan. “I want to win in everything I do, but there is a way to win with grace and respect. There is no need to belittle anyone.”

McNorgan said what gets his athletic juices flowing, is a new challenge.

Maybe that’s why last year he decided to try out for the General Amherst hockey team, having never played the sport in his life.

He said he got the idea to try the sport after watching Montreal’s P.K. Subban play some random game.

“It was one of those thing when you wake up in the morning and think, hockey is what I do,” he said.

McNorgan didn’t make the team (but he knew that even before he stepped on the ice) but said he found a new appreciation for the guys that do play.

This year, in addition to playing basketball, McNorgan tried out and made the wrestling team.

“Wrestling is different. It’s physically demanding and I found out the hard way it’s a very tough sport,” he explained.

Every year McNorgan said he tried to play a new, unfamiliar sport. He said he does that to keep him on his toes, to keep his mind fresh.

Maybe that’s why he’s so captivating.

For what ever reason I found myself looking more in his direction during a sporting event. Whenever he was on the field, I knew where he was and thought “what kind of play is Mike going to make today.”

It was this love of watching him play that led to our pre-game ritual, the triple-slap salute, a low hand slap done three times which is followed by saluting each other.

It’s a ritual he and I came up with during the summer and it’s been our pre-game ritual every since.

The future is bright for this kid, you can tell that by just talking to him for five minutes. McNorgan may come across to some as cocky, borderline arrogant however I don’t see it like that.

He displays a confidence that few teenagers possess at his age.

He’s a young man who has goals set in life and has the will and determination to reach those goals, like I said spend five minutes with him, you will see what I’m talking about.

This is McNorgan’s last year at General Amherst. After this year, the 18-year-old kid with the golden smile will walk into the world, looking to make his mark (and I have a feeling it’s going to be a big mark.)

There will never be anyone quite like Mike McNorgan who will walk the hall of Amherst as he did. There may be imitators and people that come close but there will never be a duplicate.

He is the one, the only, Mike McNorgan.

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