When Creel became the baseball coach at VHS in the summer of 1999, Reynolds never told him about his condition.

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 30, 2001

“He never came up to me and said, Coach, I don’t know if you know …’ I found out through the vine about it. And he’s to be commended for that. He didn’t want any special privileges. He came in there and battled like everybody else,” Creel said. “I’ll always use John as an example when I talk about leadership, mentality, how to face life day-to-day. He’s one of the most well-mannered kids that you’ll ever be around … Every teacher speaks highly of him … .”

And Goo’s future is bright.

A drum captain in the VHS band, he hopes to attend Alcorn State on a band scholarship and try out for the baseball team next year. He wants to major in molecular biology, and is preparing for it by taking six science courses this year. He has a 3.01 GPA and scored a 24 on the science portion of the ACT, an 18 overall.

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“He’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. He’s always got a good attitude about everything. He’s always got a smile on his face,” Beauman said. “Sometimes everybody who doesn’t have things like that wrong with them take things for granted. But this guy comes out here and eats it up every day.”

Still, the thing that most amazes people about Goo isn’t his musical ability, his intellect, his spirit or even his defeat of cancer.

It’s the splits.

“I’ve never seen anybody else do that, especially a guy his size,” Beauman said. “He’s so mobile for his size, it’s unbelievable.”

And for once, even Goo who doesn’t hesitate about listing his stretch for a ball against Provine as his proudest baseball moment is fazed by something.

“It amazes me at times that I can do that and pop right back up,” he said with a laugh.

Amazing indeed.