Sports

This figures to be the last season in the sun for South Kitsap's Fairweather family

Alex Fairweather, far left, who now is a student at Washington State, Brad and Tori all have participated in sports at South Kitsap. Brad played tight end for the football team, while Jim coached that position in addition to linebackers. - Courtesy Photo
Alex Fairweather, far left, who now is a student at Washington State, Brad and Tori all have participated in sports at South Kitsap. Brad played tight end for the football team, while Jim coached that position in addition to linebackers.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

This figures to be the last season in the sun for SK’s first family of sports.

One of the courses Jim Fairweather teaches at South Kitsap High School is U.S. History, so perhaps it’s natural that this story begins with a lesson in the subject.

In the late 1950s, Fairweather and his future wife, Nancy, were stationed in Northern California — him in Petaluma and her in Vallejo — with fathers serving in the Air Force.

Both later graduated with education degrees from Washington State University; Nancy in 1979 and Jim in ’81.

Despite those connections, it took a chance meeting for them to get together.

Fairweather, who played baseball and football at South and later tried out as a catcher at WSU under legendary coach Bobo Brayton, was at Seattle’s F.X. McRory’s Steak, Chop & Oyster House in 1985.

While there, he spotted Detroit Tigers first baseman Darrell Evans, who led the American League with 40 home runs that year.

It wasn’t easy for Fairweather to break off that conversation, but he felt compelled when he saw Nancy.

“I had to go meet this girl,” he told Evans, as she walked in with a friend and sat down across the restaurant. “(It) was totally out of my character.”

Nancy Dunlop was raised by a single father in Clarkston, a small town along the Idaho border, in a house where a game always was on.

When they met, she was the tennis coach at East Valley High School in Spokane.

Three years later, the couple had settled in Olalla and had their first child, Alex.

The Fairweathers decided they wanted Alex to have a younger brother or sister, and on Sept. 6, 1990, she gave birth to Brad — and Tori.

“Originally, it was a shock and a half,” Jim Fairweather said. “Everyone plans two kids — zero population growth.”

Fairweather said he decompressed by mowing the lawn frequently. Issues, such as a house that was constructed for four people, were a concern. Eighteen years later, he views it as a blessing.

“They’ve been really good,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

In a sense, fall marked farewell to the Fairweather family as the community knows them.

Sure, Nancy still will teach family and consumer science as Jim carries on with social studies and his role as baseball coach.

And Tori will play basketball this winter, while Brad swings the bat for the Wolves in the spring.

But the end of the fall season marked the last time Jim and the twins all are simultaneously involved with sports at South. Some might view that as depressing, but the Fairweathers agree that they’ve been grateful for the opportunity.

“Probably one of the best things about all of us being here is we haven’t had to miss too much,” Nancy said.

Tori, who hopes to attend WSU, said she’s excited to begin the next stage of her life.

“I think it’s time for me to go out and live on my own,” she said. “I owe a lot of gratitude to my parents for what they’ve done.”

Brad is interested in pursuing a career as a firefighter at Central Washington University. It’s a career he says that will keep him close to the action.

Of course, he’ll miss some elements of having his parents nearby.

“I love having my parents at school because it’s easy access to everything,” he said.

Just not on the field.

Jim always has been sensitive to allegations of nepotism. Many coaches who are parents of students in athletic programs complain that parents perceive that they favor their own children.

“We all feel we’re in a position where we have something to prove,” he said. “We always try and make sure we do the right thing.”

Tori, who earned first-team, all-Narrows League Bridge Division honors in basketball last season and was a second-team selection in league as a forward in soccer this year, said the critics only propel her to “put forth not just 100 percent, but 110 percent. When we set our mind on something, we go after it.”

One instance where Tori said some tried to dismiss an achievement came when she was named homecoming queen and Brad was selected as king. It’s believed to be the first time siblings have held that honor the same year at South.

“We had people saying that we only got it because our parents work here and because we’re brother and sister,” Tori said.

Despite that, all were happy with the experience.

And no, they didn’t do the traditional king-and-queen dance.

“No way,” Brad emphasized.

Still, the twins said they were proud and happy for each other. Tori, who describes herself as an alpha female, said, “The running joke is that I shoved him out of the way” during birth.

Brad retorts that he’s a gentleman and allows “ladies first.”

As adolescents, the children were involved in several activities. Tori took piano lessons and Alex sang at her graduation in 2006. Since entering high school, Tori also has been involved with Future Community Leaders of America, acting, as student-body vice president, and other activities.

“I’m very fortunate to have what I have and I want to give back to others,” she said.

Jim, who has guided the baseball program to a pair of state-playoff appearances in five seasons since replacing Elton Goodwin, also has coached linebackers under D.J. Sigurdson.

“I consider Jim and his family close friends,” Sigurdson said. “They’re a proud South Kitsap family.”

Sigurdson said Brad is “less outwardly verbal” than his sister, but he’s never questioned his intensity. The coach said one look at his blocking from the tight-end position would show that.

“Bradley is quiet as far as speaking goes, but he’s a very intense competitor,” Sigurdson said. “You see it in his play. I think they have similar personalities.”

And the legacy they’ll leave behind with their parents?

Besides the historical ramifications of their work on the field and this year’s homecoming dance, Sigurdson said it comes down to trust.

“They’re very loyal South Kitsap people,” he said. “They definitely bleed South Kitsap maroon.”

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