I do not recall exactly which year in the mid-'60s that Dan Gonsalves was my PE teacher at Davis High, but I will never forget him. I was a little stunned to learn of his passing. He was one of the finest coaches, PE teachers and all-around good guys in Modesto City Schools. He was a towering figure to me.
I say "towering," yet Mr. Gonsalves was just about my height. Seeing someone his size performing with much athleticism gave me hope and courage. He was determined to help us, and I was always willing to try anything he asked us to do.
I have one special memory. There was a co-ed dance segment in the PE curriculum. We were to learn the Virginia reel, the jitterbug and a few ballroom steps, presumably to help us develop socially as well as physically. This was high school, however, and the ick factor plus looking less than manly was a big drawback.
Without missing a step, Dan Gonsalves took the hand of his female counterpart and showed us how to relax and perform. He never once made us feel that it was anything less than gentlemanly to attempt these dances.
Though Dan Gonsalves coached himself into the history of Modesto City Schools, he did a lot for the self-esteem and well-being of many young boys who were not particularly sports-minded.