Editor’s note: This story about Rutland High School’s Jimmy Mee is part of a four-part series about three-sport senior athletes in Rutland County.
Playing three sports has paid back Jimmy Mee in a big way, but if it were up to him, he would have played five sports in high school.
“If anything, I’d play golf, lacrosse and baseball in the spring. That’s the only thing I’ve been debating,” the Rutland High School senior said last week of things he might change.
Mee has already completed his personal triple crown and is looking for a second Division I golf championship as his final sports season gets under way.
He was a member of a state championship team as a freshman for Rich Alberti’s Raiders. He helped Mike Norman’s Raiders win a Division I football title in the fall of 2015, and perhaps the sweetest of his titles came about last month, as a member of Mike Wood’s basketball team that gave Rutland its first state championship in 50 years.
That might make it a little easier to accept that Mee’s days as a competitive athlete are numbered. He’s earned a spot to play for Vermont in this summer’s Shrine football game, but he won’t attempt to play a Division I sport at any of his possible destinations for next fall: North Carolina State, North Carolina-Wilmington or the University of Vermont.
Mee will focus his efforts on a business degree.
“It will definitely be a huge difference, just the fact of not having something to do after classes for what? Six years?” he said. “Hopefully I will use that time to study.”
Mee has always done that: in addition to an impressive athletic résumé, he’s a four-year Tri-Scholar Athlete and a Boys State delegate.
It’s obvious that one thing Mee has mastered through his four hectic high school years is how to manage his time.
“You learn how at a young age how to manage your time and quickly, and it becomes second nature,” he said. “We have so much opportunity for (academic) help at the school, it’s stressful but it’s never pulling-your-hair-out stress,” he said.
Mee said he would recommend playing a sport every season.
“I would say play every sport you possibly can. There’s a great benefit because one sport goes into the next,” he said.
Mee played three years of varsity football and basketball and four in golf, and has a well-earned reputation as a go-for-broke athlete: the guy who dives on loose basketballs and fumbles and gives it his all on every play.
He was a two-way player in football, including extended time as quarterback late in his senior season; he has been in the lineup for all four of the Raiders’ state championship golf matches; Mee was a part-time starter on what were three very deep basketball teams, but most often was one of the first Raiders off the bench.
A typical day for Mee begins with a session in the school’s weight room before classes (except on a game day) at 6 a.m. and then it’s pretty much non-stop classes, practices, homework and games until bedtime.
“(The day is) packed and before you know it it’s 8 o’clock,” he said. “Once you get the hang of it, it feels weird not doing it, because you’re with your buddies and they’re all doing it.”
One impressive distinction, other than the obvious hardware Mee has earned, is that he’s never missed a varsity game due to an injury. He credits that to playing a variety of sports, thus always being well conditioned, and the regimens outlined by athletic trainer Tyler White.
“When we work out it’s not just working out, it’s injury prevention,” he said. “We stretch more than anyone knows. We do core stuff. We’re not just benching; we’re doing smart stuff like Tyler White sets up for us.”
Mee’s last two title seasons come with great memories and finishing flourishes: a nine-game win streak to end the 2015 football season and 17 straight victories in basketball, culminating with a championship game win over CVU.
“Ending the 50-year drought was an accomplishment in itself,” he said. “It was really exciting, having the support of the community. People are still talking about it. It’s a great feeling in the community.”
The post-season party carried on to a special gathering at the Elks Club, where invited dinner guests included the last Raiders team to win the title, in 1967. There was a special video address from London by former Raiders superstar Jim McCaffrey, in which he congratulated the team and spoke about some of the program’s near-misses.
There were enough of the latter that longtime fans and followers will look back and treasure the efforts of 2017’s special group.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Mee said of the support of a small city that treasures sports.
“Like, one thing that stick outs to me was during football season. Every Saturday morning after practice we’d go to Olivia’s, and each day people in there want to hear about the game. You see support from everybody and it really helps more than anybody knows.
“Especially when you see these little kids who look up to you when you’re a counselor at a summer camp. And then you see them on the sideline rooting their heads off for you.”
And that’s something that a trophy can’t duplicate.
MEE’S ATHLETIC/ACADEMIC PROFILE
- Varsity football player: 10th through 12th grade
- Varsity basketball player: 10th through 12h grade
- Varsity Golfer: ninth through 12th grade
- Four-time Tri-Scholar Athlete award recipient
- Football: Two-time First team All-State wide receiver/ running back
- Football: Two-time First team All-State safety
- 2015 Division I State football champion
- 2016 Bruce Wing Award recipient
- Football: 2016 North-South all star game participant
- Football: 2017 Shrine Bowl participant
- 2014/2015 Division I basketball semifinalist
- 2017 Division I Basketball State champion
- 60-10 record during three years of varsity basketball
- 2014 Division I Golf State Champion (team)
- 2015/2016 Division I Golf runnerup (team)
- 2016 Boys State Delegate
Follow Bob on Twitter: @Bob_Fredette