End of an era
August 20, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Final Gellatly brother prepares for senior season at Issaquah
Robert and Susan Gellatly could be considered the ultimate Issaquah Eagles sports fans.
They’ve been going to football and baseball games for more than 10 years, witnessing two state championships and countless playoff runs along the way.
They aren’t just any idle spectators, though; they are the parents of Cameron, Matt, Grant and Jack, four athletes who have left an indelible mark on Issaquah High School over the last decade.
Cameron graduated from Issaquah in 2005, Matt in 2007, Grant in 2010 and Jack will do so in 2014.
“If you counted up all of the games, it would be a lot, but every time you go it seems unique and fun,” Robert said.
Arguably no family has meant more to Issaquah sports than the Gellatlys, with all four boys starring for the football and baseball teams. When one graduated, another one would surely follow, leaving opposing coaches lamenting, “Another Gellatly?”
Issaquah athletics without a Gellatly is something that the Eagles haven’t had to worry about in more than 10 years, but it will soon become a scary reality, as the final Gellatly, Jack, heads into his senior year.
“It will be strange next year when we take the field and there’s not a Gellatly out there,” said Issaquah football coach Chris Bennett, who has coached all four brothers.
Growing up Gellatly
As can be expected in a household with four competitive, athletically gifted sons, the Gellatly home was always filled with energy, matriarch Susan said.
“Everything is a competition with them,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting at the dinner table, if you’re standing trying to have a conversation or if you’re literally on a field.”
There were the usual sibling rivalries, but for the most part, the Gellatly brothers got along well growing up, Robert said.
Jack said he fondly remembers following his older brothers around, playing spectator at their various games and just absorbing everything that they did.
“My oldest brother is 10 years older than me, so they were always doing things that were well beyond my skills and expertise when I was a little kid. But it was fun to follow everything,” he said.
Being the youngest of the four, he also learned very quickly to develop a thick skin.
“You kind of learn that whenever you want to be a baby and quit, you’ve got to suck it up and keep going, just because there’s no room for that,” Jack said.
The most important aspect of growing up as a Gellatly, though, was the lessons instilled by Robert and Susan, who raised their boys to understand that education was the top priority, and demonstrated the importance of hard work and commitment along the way.
“It’s just great to have that type of family in your program,” said Issaquah baseball coach Rob Reese, who also coached all four boys.
On the field
As athletes, the Gellatly brothers have their strengths and weaknesses, but they’re all winners, Reese said.
Cameron is generally considered the quiet, soft-spoken brother. He was the lone wide receiver of the group; the others played running back at Issaquah. Cameron’s gift is his speed, Bennett said, mentioning that he was probably the fastest of the Gellatlys.
That speed was helpful on the diamond as well, where Cameron hit leadoff for a talented Issaquah baseball squad.
“He was a very good player, really fast, got on base, stole bases and was on our 2004 state championship team,” Reese said.
Matt, who is bigger than Cameron, employed a combination of speed and power on the football field, Bennett said. He came back from a bad knee injury his junior year to star in his senior season.
Both coaches praised Matt’s on-field leadership, especially Reese, who called him the clear leader of the 2007 Issaquah baseball state championship team.
“Matt’s personality is a lot more open and lot more joking around and having fun,” Reese said.
Grant is the most competitive of the group, with a work ethic second to none, Bennett said. He started as a freshman and led the Issaquah football team to the state finals against Skyline during his senior season.
“He may be the best all-around high school player I’ve ever been around,” Bennett said.
Jack is built more like Matt in that he uses that combination of speed and power in his game, Bennett said. He is also very intelligent, and generally does everything well, he added.
He is definitely the character of the group, Reese said, highlighting the youngest Gellatly’s outgoing personality.
“He’s probably the most opinionated of them all, and very willing to share it with you,” Reese said.
Saying goodbye to IHS
After graduating from Issaquah, Cameron and Matt both attended the University of Washington. Cameron now works in commercial real estate, while Matt is gearing up for medical school.
Grant continued his football career at Cornell University, where he now plays wide receiver, and is embarking on his senior year.
Jack is now preparing for his senior year of high school in what looks to be a promising season for the football team.
“This group of seniors, we have some really unique characters that, for whatever reason, have personalities that really bind the guys together, and it’s just been really cool to see that,” he said.
With every game, carry and hit this year, Issaquah athletics will move closer to what is the end of a legacy that began more than a decade ago starting with Cameron.
For Jack, who stood in the stands watching his brothers before he made it to the gridiron himself, there is a certain sense of finality, being the last Gellatly brother at Issaquah.
“There will be a very nostalgic feeling when I’m done, but it was definitely an irreplaceable experience and I loved every minute of it,” he said.
After all these years attending Issaquah games, it hasn’t sunk in yet for Robert and Susan that this year is in fact the final chapter of Gellatlys in Issaquah sports.
“Right now, it’s just looking forward. But yeah, I’m sure that last game, it’ll be kind of hard,” Susan said. “It will be hard to say goodbye to Issaquah High School.”