Sunday at the 136th commencement of Thomas Worthington High School, Social Studies teacher Tim Cave was selected by the Hall of Fame committee as one of new members of the Thomas Worthington Hall of Fame. As Tim arrived on stage he shook the hand of Principal Jim Gaskill and Superintendent Thomas Tucker. He then did something none of the other Hall of Fame recipients did (and I am in no way implying they should have…) he came over and made a point of shaking my hand. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that mean a lot. At that moment I wanted to put Tim Cave in a giant man hug. But, if you know Tim well, you know had I done so he may have publicly executed me. Thus, I settled for a firm hand-shake and a look in the eye.
Over the past seven years as an administrator in Worthington’s central administration office I have known Tim as an outstanding teacher of AP European History at Thomas Worthington High School. I’ve known him as a man who believes teachers should be allowed to carry guns to confront violence and I’ve known him as the guy who shoots off fireworks from his front yard when the Thomas Worthington Football team scores touchdowns. (Don’t tell the Worthington Police and yes, we need to score more touchdowns!)
While my connection with Tim in an official capacity has been very positive, my connection with Tim actually goes back 28 years to when I met Tim Cave as a scared 14 year old freshman coming out to play Worthington Lacrosse. Tim was the assistant coach and was my position coach. He was in ridiculous physical condition and he would send us on long runs from the high school around Antrim Lake and back up the hill to the field house. Not only would he make us run but to ensure we actually ran the whole way he would run with us and every so often stop and do push-ups so slow guys like me could catch-up.
For four years I learned a lot from Tim Cave. Two things stand out and they are two things that I’ll never forget. First, Tim taught me “you’ve got to shoot to get hot, you’ve got to shoot to stay hot!” He’d say it over and over. The phrase has been important in my life. When I was nervous to ask the woman who is now my wife out on a date that phrase was in my head. You’ve got to take a shot. When I applied to become the Superintendent of Worthington Schools four years ago and everyone thought I was crazy, Tim’s voice was in my head. At many points throughout life when I’ve had doubt I’ve heard Tim’s voice. You’ve got to take a shot!
Second, Tim, along with our head coach CG (no first or last name needed, just CG), taught me one simple phrase. “Finish.” I’ll never forget running up the hill from the flats to the TWHS field house, dog tired, wanting to quit with every fiber of my being. Here comes Tim Cave and he’s running back down the hill after already finishing to run next to me, all the way saying “Finish. Don’t you dare quit. Don’t walk. Finish.” Later in life when I went through a marathon running phase, over those last six miles of the marathon I would hear Tim’s voice or picture CG sitting on the back of his black Ford Bronco, yelling FINISH! When I was struggling to complete my doctoral dissertation and wondering if it would be worth it, Tim’s voice came back to me. There was no way I could quit. What if Coach Cave found out?
Tim is Worthington to the core. He actually attended preschool at St. John’s on the Village Green. He was a long-time Colonial Hills resident and now he and I both live in Kilbourne Village. Tim didn’t get inducted into the Thomas Worthington Hall of Fame for his work with me. He was inducted because he’s a great teacher and a credit to his profession. But for me personally he’s in my hall of fame. He made a difference in my life and I hope to teach my own children, and someday my grandchildren, what Tim taught me.
Congratulations Coach Cave! Well deserved! #Go Cards!