Victor Hugo once wrote that, "Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes."
When he wrote this, he no doubt had people like Billy Raynor in mind. There was an amazing article about him in The Boston Globe recently.
There is an image in the article that is just so beautiful, as he drives his players home on game nights, crisscrossing the neighborhoods of Boston, making stop after stop in neighborhoods where young men are at odds, and where violence is real. But they are not at odds in his van; in his van something different is happening:
"Starting in Framingham, we go down Route 9," says the coach. "We cut over and go through West Roxbury and into Roslindale. We drop off Kerline [team manager Kerline Desir] next to the Archdale projects. We proceed down to Forest Hills Station, boom, drop off Sam [center Sam Etienne] and drop off Jakeen [guard Jakeen Cobb]. Then we proceed down Washington Street, boom, drop off Jordan [forward Jordan Moors] right before Egleston. Then we proceed down past the Shelburne, boom, drop off Deshawn [star forward Deshawn Gibbons]. Then we proceed to Dudley, drop off James [Barnes], [Alexander] Hoover, and Mike Nelson. Then we take a left and we proceed over to Roxbury Crossing, boom, drop off [starting point guard] Paul Rose. Then we do a U-turn, come back, and I go home [to Roxbury]. On game nights, I'm walking in the house, it's after midnight."