Joseph M. Mecca passed away on March 22 at the Dunmore Health Care Center. He was 70 years old.
Mr. Joseph Mecca will be remembered as many things; a teacher, coach, brother, friend, and parishioner. Most Dunmoreans affectionately knew him by his nickname, ‘Scappy.’ Mr. Mecca is from the old school. He believed that hard work was the key to success and that you could never fail if you gave it your all.
He lived life the way my parents raised my brothers and me, to treat others the way you want to be treated and show respect even when it is not deserved. You see, Mr. Mecca did it right. He did it right in every aspect of his life. He lived to teach and lived to serve.
Whether in the classroom or on the athletic field, if you watched Scappy go about his business, you couldn’t help emulating his drive and attention to detail.
I remember watching him run down the first base line between every inning; running back to the dugout after the last recorded out. He was consistent. He made a point of taking pride in the little things knowing the big things would take care of themselves.
During the best season the Bucks baseball team had while I was in high school, we were playing our rivals and I remember Coach Mecca’s knee was bothering him and it affected the way he ran to the coach’s box down the first baseline. We could hear the laughs and comments being made by the other team (and fans) as he ran past their dugout, but it didn’t faze Coach Mecca.
I remember being angry about the disrespect and shallowness of those involved, but then I looked at Scappy and you’d swear they were cheering him on. You see. He thrived on it. The fact that they were teasing him was justification to Coach that he was doing it right. Running through the pain in his knee was worth it and if his players approached the game with the same attitude, we couldn’t lose. We couldn’t ask for a better role model and mentor.
In the classroom, Mr. Mecca was a giant. He taught mathematics with a zest that only the best educators possess. Anyone who was a student of Mr. Mecca can tell you the story about Quadratic Man. I bet most of them could probably recite the Quadratic Formula if asked.
Mr. Mecca brought his teaching to life. Watching him transform behind his podium was one of the funniest moments of my education, but then watching Mr. Mecca ‘soar’ around the room reciting the quadratic formula was his way of helping us to remember the formula forever; not to mention the pretzels and mustard that accompanied the masked man!
Mr. Mecca always made time for everybody. He was a staple behind the scorer’s desk doing the clock at basketball games, participating in faculty basketball games and at most school functions. He lived for all of us and never said no when asked to help. When I was a sophomore in college, my catcher’s mitt had several laces that broke from use and wear. I asked Coach to restring it and when I got it back it was better than new. Twenty three years later the laces are still holding strong. I true testament to the quality of work Mr. Mecca always did.
Joseph Mecca was a tower of a man. His presence was always apparent; not because of his stature but because of his persona. His colleagues respected him, the administrators of DHS appreciated him, and his students rivaled at his knowledge and love for his content. Mr. Mecca may have passed but the legacy he left will endure through all the lives he touched. Joseph Mecca was more than a teacher, coach, or colleague. He, like the late Mr. Paul Kelly, will live on through everyone who knew him and the example they set, the knowledge they imparted and the love they had for everything they did in their lives.
Before the Avengers, Dunmore had its own super hero. He was Quadratic Man. Rest in peace Mr. Mecca! You left it better than you found it. I’m sure you’re sitting with Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio talking baseball and you’re still hustling to your rightful place in the first base coaching box in the sky.