I never met Jack. I had heard the stories a thousand times and even held his medal in my own little hands. In my family, Jack Cooper was a legend, a mythical figure of epic proportions, who quietly led Barnsley to the 1912 FA Cup Championship.
Born John Holloway, he was also the same scrapper who took on Millwall supporters, single-handedly battling the crowd who threw rubbish at him from the stands.
That was Jack — a conundrum — both tough and tenacious while being a thoughtful, caring man who knew the importance of friends and family.
Jack Cooper was a guiding ghost who haunted my life from early in my childhood. A phantom who helped this kid from Nottingham muddle through the muck and mire of having to grow up English in Canada, before emigrating to the United States.
This story is for everyone who has ever failed, fallen, or felt they didn’t have the strength to get up again. This is the story of my family through the generations, illustrating how our lives are all interconnected and intertwined in layers upon layers over time. For, in the end, we all impact each other in so many different ways without ever really knowing.
Ultimately, this is a tale about you, and me, and what we all can learn from Jack Cooper’s indomitable spirit.
This is the story of Jack’s Mettle.