Archive for Thursday, February 11, 2010

Merle Venable Sports Complex has a certain ring to it

Our View Editorial

February 11, 2010

When we heard about the effort underway to name the sports complex at Baldwin High School after legendary BHS football coach Merle Venable, we were thrilled. What a great idea and something that is certainly fitting for one of Baldwin City’s true icons.

Anyone who has met Venable has certainly been captured by his character. What a character he is. For those who haven’t met him, that’s too bad.

While he is the epitome of Baldwin High football, with the glossy record, the state playoff appearances and the state title, he’s much more than just football. That’s evident by what his former players say about him and anyone, really, who’s shared any time with him, whether that’s in the classroom or elsewhere.

All you have to do to get a sense of that is to listen to Baldwin School Board Member Scott Lauridsen, who played for Venable and went on to a Division I college football career.

“Nobody mentions that they learned football from him,” Lauridsen said. “They learned all of these other things from him about how to succeed. He always challenged us to be successful in school and life. It was the kids who needed the most help who he identified with. The star players probably got less out of it than the other kids did.

“He cared about you more as a person than a player,” he said. “It’s just evident by how he’s kept in touch with all of his former players. He’s more proud of what they’ve done after they played for him than when they played for him. That’s what he loves the most. He cared about us as people and football just happened to be his language. He just happened to be really good at it.”

Wow. And this comes from someone we respect as much as anyone in Baldwin City. Do you need to hear more? If so, talk to any of his former players, many of them who are still around. They’ll tell you about him and they’re likely to tell one of the many colorful stories that surround the man.

We’re also certain in these budget-tight times, where school districts are having to cut funding to programs and even laying off faculty and staff, that this wouldn’t cost the district a dime. We’re sure the legion of Venable fans would gladly pony up to pay for any signage to commemorate the complex.

We applaud Lauridsen for bringing this idea to the school board. We think it’s truly one of those “no-brainers.” Venable deserves this honor, to be permanently linked with Baldwin High football. Because the Bulldogs have always played their games at Baker University’s Liston Stadium, which is in the Charlie Richard Sports Complex, named after another legendary football coach, it can’t be done there.

So, our only caveat is let’s make sure the Merle Venable Sports Complex includes the two football fields to the west of BHS. To only designate the complex north of the school, with its soccer field and track, simply wouldn’t be right. Although he also was a track coach, we can guarantee you he never spent a minute coaching soccer. Ever.

Let’s do this honor quickly and let’s do it right.

Comments

Frank Westgate 4 years, 10 months ago

I think its appropriate name – and Honor -- for the new building - Merle is well know and it will breed a solid tradition of football players for generations!

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mommie2boogie 4 years, 10 months ago

like i asked on the article, how is this all going to be paid for? and is right NOW the best time? with people already struggling to pay their bills in this city since everything is so high??

i think Mr V is great too, and deserves this, BUT, i wonder if we can actually afford it right now....?

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jmyrick 4 years, 10 months ago

Mommie, did you miss this part of the editorial?

We’re also certain in these budget-tight times, where school districts are having to cut funding to programs and even laying off faculty and staff, that this wouldn’t cost the district a dime. We’re sure the legion of Venable fans would gladly pony up to pay for any signage to commemorate the complex.

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mommie2boogie 4 years, 10 months ago

yeah i read that. and that definitely answers my question. i guess many people will be moving as we cant afford anything higher. thats sad.

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mommie2boogie 4 years, 10 months ago

jmyrick,

so is this being paid for with donations from those people willing to chip in? or is this going to be via bond?

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jmyrick 4 years, 10 months ago

It hasn't gotten that far, mommie. What I'm telling you is this won't cost you a dime. If it happens, I will guarantee you that the legions of Venable fans will pay for it.

I know my check book is ready and I'm sure there are many, many more.

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mommie2boogie 4 years, 10 months ago

i will hold u to that jeff! if i have to pay anything im gonna come knockin on your door to have u chip in my portion! LOL

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frsam 4 years, 10 months ago

In this world of people who have broken trust, why not hold up a person who never broke the trust the school ask him to have. Coach went out of the way to keep us safe and to be an example of a good person. I remember coach Venable taking care of one of his students in a way that still is with me today. Coach Venable was given the job to tell a student that the students father had died in a car crash. As a Priest I have never forgot how fatherly and loving he was with that boy. It isn't just about sports, but it about making boys into men and to live with honor. He taught us " it not what you say it is what you do that make you a man.

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