Fourth and Long

Published 3:46 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My two best friends in high school were not lucky enough to attend Bertie High School, but were instead forced to attend Hertford County High.

They both played football as well and, while we did put our friendship on hold for one week out of the year, I got to meet some pretty cool people throughout the other 51 weeks.

One of those people was Jake Spears. Jake, like me was an offensive lineman (he played some center as well if I remember correctly) and throughout the years I have gotten to know Jake and his family better.

While checking Facebook the other day I received a message from Jake that I found so compelling I chose to share it with you.

I must apologize for sending you a form letter, but my time is limited, and Facebook isn’t very helpful when sending letters to multiple people. I need your help; I need your motivation. See, I’m fat…again.

If you’ve not seen me in several years, then you’re not surprised. If it’s only been a few years since you’ve seen me, then you are surprised. Because Age is a demon that can’t be defeated, I’m fighting a battle against time to lose the weight. My metabolism is slowing and my family duties are increasing. If I’m going to lose weight, I need to do it now.

However, I’d like to do more than just lose weight; I’d like to help out the students I teach and coach at Washington and Lee High School. This is where you come in.

I’ve proposed a fundraiser for our weight room. The details can be found at  However, let me sum it up for you; our kids need new weight equipment, but we don’t have the budget to do so. I’ve proposed a weight loss fundraiser for our school division. I need you to sponsor me so my students and athletes can be successful in their endeavors.

For the next five months, I’d like you to sponsor me by pledging to donate anything from $0.25 to $1.00 per pound of weight I lose per month. So far in January, I’ve lost 13 lbs. I can promise you I won’t lose that much weight in the coming months as my body will get used to this process. However, if you’d donate what you can, any amount, you will be doing our students a great favor. You’d also be motivating me to slim down to the size I need to be!

Personally, I‘d love to get enough sponsors so that we could raise $1,000 in five months. If at least 25 of you would pledge, we can reach that goal.

Why $1,000? My principal doesn’t think this fundraiser as a whole can raise that much money. I’d love to prove him wrong by bringing in that much with my sponsors alone. Please help me with this endeavor.

If you can’t help through sponsorship, then do two other favors for me; first, send this web page to all the people you know, second, keep checking up on my progress through my blog at while leaving me motivational feedback when you can.

Thanks for your time! I look forward to hearing from you!

Jake Spears

Teacher/Coach at Washington and Lee High School

Chowan College 2001 graduate

Hertford County High School 1996 graduate

It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there like that and I admire and commend Jake for his willingness to put his ego aside and grasp an opportunity to become a better man, husband, father and teacher; all while helping his students.

I plan to give and now I hope you do too.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at