A father's gift
Published: Monday, October 24, 2005
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
He stood in the 10th row of the stands at the 34-yard line, 10 rows up from his usual position on the Boston College sideline. He wore a varsity-style jacket with the initials BH, for the Belmont Hill School, storing away his usual maroon and gold for the night.
On this night, he was a Marauder father, not the director of football operations for BC. The night was put together by him, but it was not for him. Not in any way was it for him. This was for his sons. One played on the field, and the other was being remembered for his life that was taken all too soon.
Barry Gallup, Sr. knew what the night would mean for Barry Gallup, Jr. He knew that the chance to play under the lights at Alumni Stadium was something special, but then he took it to another level. Darren, his firstborn son, who was killed in a car accident two years ago, was remembered in a service at halftime. On the megatrons were photos of the Gallup family and video of Darren's playing days to the tune of Coldplay's "Clocks."
The announcement was made throughout the game, reminding all in attendance that there would be a remembrance. The two high school teams had come back onto the field. Gallup, Sr. stood in the stands, hugged his wife, Victoria, and embraced his daughter, Lisa, a sophomore at BC. One by one families and friends from the area came, huddling under umbrellas as the rain fell down and emotions did, too.
They came to shake their hands, hug them, and share their pride. They were there for a football game, but if you know Gallup, Sr., you know that they were there for more; they were there as a family.
The tragic death of Darren is only made greater by the potential that he had. A leader on the football field and in the classroom, he was set to play quarterback for Harvard. But that never happened. Before he could walk the halls of Harvard or take a snap at Harvard Stadium, he was killed in a car crash, leaving behind memories and photos that graced the megatrons.
"When Darren died, there's really no feeling the same pain as Barry and his family," BC head coach Tom O'Brien said earlier in the day. "We just tried to be there for Barry in any way needed."
Away from his family and aside from his teammates, Barry Gallup, Jr. knelt down on one knee, watching the memories of his brother flash before his eyes.
He wears No. 21 these days, just as his brother once did. Next year he will attend the University of Notre Dame on a football scholarship.
He knows it is ironic that he will be playing for what many consider to be BC's biggest rival. But if you think about it, the fact that Senior did not force Junior to travel the same road he did, means that he does not want to force anything on his youngest child.
"He always loved BC, but he needs to grow up a little and make it on his own," said Gallup, Sr. "He is rolling the dice and people respect that."
It was appropriate that the game was played on the same field on the same campus to which Senior has dedicated his life's work; he took the opportunity to give another thing to his family just as he has given to his Eagle family all these years.
He graduated from BC in 1969 with school records for receptions (87) and receiving yards (1,325). Most of his records have been surpassed by now but the legacy still lives on.
In addition to playing football, he also suited up for BC's basketball team under head coach Bob Cousy.
"It's a dream come true for the Yawkey Center to be finished and to see where the school and football program have come from where they were when I first came," Gallup, Sr. said a few weeks ago.
And things have changed. At the forefront of the biggest changes, though, has been Gallup. Coming from Swampscott to BC, he saw BC when it was a regional school. It was an Irish Catholic school with commuting students and still not on the national level.
He is the man that, to this day, Doug Flutie says was a major reason for his coming to Chestnut Hill over the likes of Harvard and the University of New Hampshire. In fact, Darren Douglas Gallup is the full name, in honor of the Flutie brothers. But for Gallup, it's not about the big names that he has been associated with. It's about all of them as a collection of friends.
"In military terms, he's the beans, bullets, and bandages guy," O'Brien said. "He's the one who gets things done that we don't want to do."
He's gotten these things done while bleeding maroon and gold, and living on after the death of Darren.
Last Sunday at the Sheraton in Needham, John Cooper, BC '82, was inducted to the Varsity Club Hall of Fame. Nine other inductees got up and thanked teammates, coaches, and their family, but Cooper saved his best anecdotes for Gallup.
Cooper, who holds the record for longest punt in BC history, thanked Gallup for his guidance during his BC years. He told a story of a game at UMass Amherst and the day that Gallup took his car out to the game so that he could stop with Cooper to visit Cooper's ailing mother.
"She had been sick, and Barry encouraged me to go visit her. So we did, and she passed away soon after," Cooper said. "You made me a better person for knowing you. Thank you for being Barry Gallup."
But Cooper's not the only one saying that.
On Saturday night, Junior ran to the left side and scored the winning touchdown on a 6-yard run.
It was appropriate that he should have the last word Saturday night.
After the game, the family came together at midfield, taking in the moment as they absorbed the raindrops.
All was right. It was all for Darren.