The nation has been immersed in Jimmer-mania during the NCAA basketball tournament. And for good reason.
Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette is the nation's leading scorer and has the Cougars in the Sweet 16. His replica jerseys are flying off the shelves.
But for folks who grew up or still live in 'The Point' area of Dubuque, the name "Jimmer" means only one person: Jimmer Meyer. And everytime I think of the original Jimmer, it brings a smile to my face.
Jimmer Meyer was a tough kid with a motor that never quit. His short fuse frequently got him in trouble, and his spats with the neighbor we called "Yard Work" were legendary. But he was a loyal friend you wanted on your side.
Jimmer might not have been the most gifted athlete in our neighborhood, but nobody worked harder. And I can remember countless games of Whiffle Ball and Indian Ball he saved because he was willing to climb onto a two-story roof or slide into a wet sewer or outrun an angry neighbor with his tremendous speed.
Fortunately, I was able to catch up with Jimmer Meyer a few years ago, when his son, Tanner Meyer, starred for the Western Dubuque baseball team. It was a neat trip down memory lane to see Tanner display a lot of the same toughess and drive he inherited from his father. And I loved sharing a few laughs with Jimmer as we told stories from our days on the playgrounds of Marshall School or Holy Trinity.
Now in his mid-40s, Jimmer Meyer is still the kind of guy you want on your side. His wife, Sharon, and his family have matured him over the years, so his fuse isn't as short as it was when he grew up in 'The Point.' But he still has that never-tiring motor, which suits him perfectly in the construction field.
I'll be pulling for Jimmer Fredette the rest of the tournament. But to me and a lot of long-time Pointers, there will always be only one true Jimmer.