Middlebury Magazine Spring Edition’s 2009 Class Column Devoted to Jeff

17 May

Today we received the Spring edition of Middlebury Magazine.   I thought readers of this blog would want to read the 2009 class column, which was entirely devoted to Jeff and is transcribed below:

“We asked Daniel Roberts to write about Jeff Klein, who passed away unexpectedly on November 9, 2010:

‘ Good guy’ is one of our language’s most grossly  overused phrases. ‘He was a good guy,’ we hear all the time about any old dude.  But Jeff Klein was truly and wholly that–an all-around, good-to-everyone kind of guy.  The last time I hung out with Jeff was in New York; he took me to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.  Jeff not only invited me, he told me I could also invite a friend of my own.  At the time, he was working as a paralegal in the city, planning to apply to law school soon and move into his own place.

Everyone who knew Jeff was shocked by what happened, but how he died is unimportant now.  How did he live ?  I can’t speak about Jeff’s life before Middlebury, but I know he played sports at Horace Greeley and was well liked.  Once he entered college, I believe he immediately embraced everything the campus offered and enjoyed himself immensely.  Jeff was very social and took pride in his KDR activities.  He went out pretty much every Friday and Saturday night and was especially nice to underclassmen, making them feel welcome right away.  His favorite weekend thing was playing beirut.  He was pretty good at it.  He was even better at real sports.  He never missed a season of intramural basketball and was known for having a surprisingly silky jump shot.  Not a varsity guy, Jeff got involved in the varsity games a different way: he wrote about them.  He covered the basketball team for the Campus.  By junior year, his passion and expertise led to a sports column, which he cleverly called J.K. Rollin’.  He would extract ideas from SportsCenter, Bill Simmons, or S.I. but then add his own criticism, making each week’s entry a very Jeff-style rant.  He hated David Stern and LeBron, respected Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.T

Although basketball was his thing-playing it, reading about it, reporting on it, talking about it-he also liked tennis.  When I began playing doubles every Sunday with a bunch of adult professors, and felt awkward being the only student in a group of men over 50, it wasn’t hard to convince Jeff to join.  No matter how late he was out on Saturday night, if I got up in time on Sunday and made it to the Bubble, so would he.  My game was power baseline, Jeff moved back and forth.  We had a great time on the court.

It was inevitable that the sports reporting and column would lead to a postcollege blog.  He called it Talkin’ Sports and wrote an entry every couple of weeks.  He was so proud of the time he took with the blog that he created a Facebook group to promote it.  The group quickly earned 130 fans.  Even if you didn’t know Jeff well, chances are good you recognized his face.  You probably met him at a party, or read his sports coverage often without knowing it.  If you did know him, you won’t soon forget him: one of the good guys, gone too early.”


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