Since October when the Worthington Board of Education named me the next Superintendent of Worthington Schools I have been able to speak to many different groups in the Worthington Community. It’s a real pleasure to have the opportunity to partner with our community in helping to make certain Worthington is a great place for all kids.
This week one of the groups I was privileged to speak with was the Worthington Youth Boosters (WYB) Board. Worthington Youth Boosters is the volunteer organization that runs youth sports across the Worthington School district. They sponsor 12 different sports and support athletes ages 4 – 14. This group touches thousands of our Worthington students and their families each year.
When I went to the WYB meeting I brought with me my fifth grade football jersey from when I played “Big White” football under the old Cardinal Boosters umbrella. (WYB was Cardinal Boosters until Worthington Kilbourne High School opened in 1992 when the organization shifted to the WYB name.) When moving my parents from their previous home last summer we discovered this jersey in the basement. It was significant to me not because it was an old jersey but because of the story about how I became #15 on the “Big White” football team. I call this the Bobby “Stinkin” Basom story. (I’m certain there are many Bobby Basom stories, but most should never be told on a school related blog….)
If you’re a football fan try to name the famous football player who wore #15. If that task was impossible name any football player that wore #15. Likely you’re 0-2. No famous or even semi-famous football players wore #15. It’s just not a good football number!
5th grade football was my first year playing football. “Big White” was the local Cardinal Boosters travel team and I was going to play running back on that team. Before the first game the coach allowed each of us to choose our own number. As a young boy this was a dream come true. I had my number picked out. It was an obvious choice for 1983. I was going to be #33. This is the number that famous Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett wore every Sunday.
Not only were we going to be able to pick our number, but we were doing it in alphabetical order. I had hit the jackpot! My last name begins with a “B” and thus I had the third pick. I was dreaming about how I would look streaking down the sideline in #33 when the unthinkable happened. I remember it like it was yesterday. Bobby Basom, the person forever after referred to as Bobby “Stinkin” Basom chose number 33. He was the player right before me in alphabetical order. I was stunned. I had no back-up choice. It had never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be #33. And, with that I ended up with a number that no self respecting football player wears: #15.
32 years later I remember my experience in Cardinal Boosters. Thus, when I spoke with the community members who volunteer countless hours to run our youth sports programs in WYB I did so with significant gratitude. I’m thankful for my experiences years ago, I’m thankful for my daughters’ experiences today, and I’m thankful that as a school district we can partner with an organization that is good for kids in Worthington. It takes hundreds and hundreds of volunteers to make WYB work each season. Thanks to every one of you that goes above and beyond to make a long term positive difference in the life of a child!
Many of you know Bobby “Stinkin” Basom and his family. They’re great, great people and invest heavily in Worthington….but, I’m still mad at Bobby!