Rim Shot Rennie finds his purpose

Kevin Frisch

Back in high school, Rennoldson Burt was known for two things. He was the only student who, when attendance was taken last-name-first, sounded like his name was being read first-name-last. And he had an incredible propensity for rim shots -- not the musical kind, where the drumstick hits the edge of the drum at the same time as the skin to create a loud retort, but the sports kinds.

Rennoldson didn't have the most unusual first name in our class -- we had a boy named Alpheus, a girl named Espen and a Yancy, who had permission to skip gym class and, thus, remained of an undetermined gender.

Rennie, as he was known when attendance wasn't being taken, was a pretty good athlete: tall, coordinated, in shape. I didn't play alongside him much because we went out for different sports. In the fall, he played lacrosse and I ran cross country. In the winter, he went out for basketball while I went home and watched "Match Game." It wasn't until the spring, when we both made the baseball team, that I got to know him.