Maryvale Muse

The Gentle Giant

Courtney Kenny '17

He stands, towering six feet and four inches, with a broad frame and large bulging muscles. A scruffy Viking-like beard is covering his serious looking face. He’s like a tall brick building with various rooms inside that can’t be seen even when staring straight at it. What’s going on in his mind? I wonder. Then, for a moment, I look at him as though he’s a stranger, but my illusion is suddenly broken when a tiny head of curls comes bouncing into his large, yet gentle arms.
A little girl’s delicate frame is lifted, as if on an elevator, six feet above the ground before resting her head on a shoulder twice her size. The four year old is so petite, she looks like a kitten being held by grizzly bear. The contrast between the two unlikely friends is comical and I can’t help but to smile as I watch their interactions. In his arm, the little cousin takes shelter. Perhaps, she is overwhelmed by the amount of unfamiliar faces of unknown relatives who have gathered for the reunion. As Jack watches Kate jump around the couch, our gazes meet by accident. He cocks his head a little to the side, his eyes squint until they almost close, his orange caterpillar eyebrows climb up his forehead and he gives me a smile through gritted teeth as if purposely making himself look goofy.
“Hey Court, how’s it goin?” He says and shoots at me with finger guns using both his sausage-sized index fingers.
“Pretty good, dude”, I reply. This is the depth of a usual conversation with my introverted brother. On his sleeve there is no heart; he hides his emotions with a camouflage of corny jokes and vague references from his favorite sports movies.
As he sits, his bulky legs are stretched out due to the couch being too low to the ground for him. The light pink polo shirt he wears in no way matches his maroon Boston College athletic shorts which seems to be a staple of his wardrobe. At casual family gatherings, like this one, he looks at ease. Although, perhaps his relaxed state is a product of the tin can, dripping with condensation and looking minuscule in the grip of his large hand. It’s odd to me that he is of age now since he has always resented growing up. He preferred the simpler days when he had time to trade Pokemon cards and go to ball games with Dad. The broad college football player is, in fact, a child at heart who can be found playing board games when he’s not tackling another massive human being on the practice field.
Despite his intimidating exterior, something about Jack seems to capture every little kids full attention, especially, the younger boys who view him as a hero. A hero that talks to them in person, unlike those characters from a buzzing screen of bright color and sound. A hero whose warm green brown eyes will make a little boy think he is nothing short of incredible.
“Am I gonna be as big as Jack Kenny?” an adoring cousin asks the doctor as if Jack Kenny is a well known movie star.
“Do you think that telephone pole is as big as Jack Kenny” another little fan asks as if a Jack Kenny is a unit of measurement.
So many look up to him, but it seems that the reason he pushes himself to the limits of his ability is because he never thinks he is good enough. How can that be? I wonder as I picture him dressed in the crisp suit and tie that he wears as he walks out of the locker room after a football game. Never would anyone guess that the beloved Jack Kenny is not as confident as his new brown leather shoes would imply.

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The Gentle Giant