March Madness has begun, and we're seeing plenty of human interest stories about the teams and players. I was struck by one I read yesterday, about a player for the University of San Diego, Rob Jones.
Rob's father is Jim Jones, Jr. and his grandfather is Jim Jones. Yes, THAT Jim Jones, of the People's Temple and the mass suicide in Guyana. I'll never forget seeing those images on TV, the hundreds of bloated bodies in the intense heat. What an appalling, bizarre story, one that should be a cautionary tale about blind faith and fanaticism.
The remarkable thing is that Rob's father has never hid his history (he survived the mass suicide because he was away playing on the Jonestown basketball team) and has been open and honest with his son. Other teams' fans taunt Rob about "drinking Koolaid," etc. Can you believe the idiocy and insensitivity of some people? But Rob just uses it as motivation, and refuses to accept blame for the insanity of his grandfather's actions. Good for him. He's a kid who wants to play basketball, and he's good at it, and I am so impressed by his refusal to let the darkness of his family's history define his own life. That is real courage.