Untold Stories of Melrose: Jim Kelly

Today I would like to introduce a new series on my blog: The Untold Stories of Melrose, which is being written by two senior interns from Melrose High School, Freddie Kelley and Connor Locke, who have been working in my office for the past few weeks.

This series will feature interviews with people who have a connection to Melrose: Residents, workers, businesspeople, and others. The purpose is to bring the people within our community to the forefront and recognize individuals that make this city what it is today and what it will continue to be in the future. By doing so, we hope to aid others in realizing the vital role that the people in this city provide to the betterment of our community. An impactful event or story from the person’s past will be provided to give insight on the individual’s unseen story. New stories will be uploaded to this blog every Tuesday and Thursday.

JIm Kelly

Our first interview is with Melrose resident Jim Kelly, who is a Korean War veteran and a member of the Veterans Advisory Board. He went to high school in Louisville, Kentucky.

The first chance I had to play football was when I got to the Air Force. The coach asked where I was from and I said “Louisville,” and he thought I meant the University of Louisville! So I hadn’t played a day in my life, and here the coach thought I was a star from the University of Louisville football program.

My team won all the time. I had a rule: I’d rather lose with people I like than win with people that are nothing but problems. When I was playing football in the Air Force, I was playing for this guy from University of Alabama, and I was a pretty good player—I mean, I could run that ball, score some touchdowns, and you know, have all kinds of fun. So one day I missed practice and I didn’t have a good excuse for it. The coach said “OK Kelly, we’re benching you. You’re not gonna play, so put your uniform away ’cause you’re not gonna start.” So when it was game time, my buddies all lined up by the bench next to me, and when they called out the football team but didn’t call my name, my pals started chanting “WE WANT KELLY” and they were making lots of noise. My coach then proceeded to say “Hey, go up in the stands, your fans want you.” And later on, when I became a coach, I learned from this that everyone is just a player on the team and you as a coach cannot let anyone influence your team over you. No matter how good or talented they may be. You can win the game and lose the war. And you see a lot of teams today, and they have a superstar, but the superstar won’t win the championship for you, the team will. So I always try to surround myself with people that wanted to play, and play right.


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