Thursday, May 30, 2024

EDITORIAL: For the love of Pete

| February 24, 2023 1:00 AM

What we really need is more Pete Hohmans.

Instead, we have one fewer.

Pete finally lost his one-on-one with Parkinson’s disease, but in true Hohman form, he did not go quietly or easily into the night. He battled that bastard every day for 17 years, and for the vast majority of them, it was Parkinson’s, not Pete, that went to bed with a black eye and a bruised ego.

Hohman, who died Feb. 16, was a smiling fighter. The Spirit Lake High School star athlete and, later, teacher and coach, personified what’s glorious about sports.

He understood that fair competition brings out the best in people, that the mental and physical discipline one sharpens through that competition is generally a direct path toward success and happiness.

But Pete was much, much more than one of the Northwest’s finest high school coaches. He excelled at the game of life, an ability forged early, not just through sports but as an Eagle Scout and Boys State delegate.

And for those fortunate enough to circle somewhere in Pete’s orbit, the game of life became a little easier, a little more manageable.

One of the secrets to his success was that he alienated nobody. That’s a novel notion in North Idaho and, sadly, across the nation and around the world these days, which is why we’re all diminished by his departure.

Pete had the ability — or maybe it was just self-confidence glowing warmly in the bedrock of respect and compassion for others — to disagree so agreeably that one felt Pete was always on their side.

Those close to him grew from his wisdom, which he imparted not through lectures or punishments, but via entertaining anecdotes and well-planted seeds that would eventually blossom into better understanding. The truly great teachers — and Pete Hohman was one of them — always appear exactly when the student is finally ready.

For North Idaho newcomers and oldtimers alike, please feel free to borrow a page from Pete’s playbook. Pay attention. Help others. Have fun. Speak well and listen better. Seek no sympathy. Give a damn.

You’ll win.

Better still, so will those around you.