Teaching Profession

Math Teacher’s Lacrosse Points Seriously Add Up

By Anthony Rebora — April 24, 2013 1 min read
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Obscure but interesting factoid alert: Did you know that the highest-scoring player in the history of professional indoor lacrosse is a high school math teacher?

According to a somewhat curiously extensive New York Times piece, John Tavares, a 44-year old math teacher at Philip Popcock Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, has amassed 779 goals, 887 assists, and 1,666 points (“stratospheric totals”) playing for the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League.

Known as the “Wayne Gretzky of lacrosse,” Tavares—who is also the uncle of the current New York Islanders hockey star who shares his name—has been with the Bandits for 22 years. He currently brings in $30,000 a year playing lacrosse, making him one of the highest-paid players in the league. Not bad at all for a moonlighting gig.

Despite his success on the field, however, Tavares sees himself first and foremost as a teacher. From the story:

This is my bread and butter," he said, sitting on his desk at the head of his classroom in Mississauga. "I love teaching. Long after I'm done playing lacrosse, I'll be a teacher. This is my career."

Nor, apparently, does he put on jock airs at school:

John really compartmentalizes his two lives," said Henry Tyndorf, the school principal. "Most kids don't know about his lacrosse life. When they do find out, they're impressed. But it's not because they're star-struck—it's because they've gotten to know him as a math teacher. He does not trumpet his athletic career."

While Tavares has managed to be modest about his second career, the Times reporter does note that he “appears to be an exceptionally fit teacher ... .”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.