A Recent Passing Stirs Up Long-Ago Memories

Gale Sayers’ recent passing, reminded me of a different era from a long, long time ago here in Wellington. Many my age and older will certainly recall the annual Sports Banquets for WHS athletes (and their dads). It was always a sport coat and tie affair and it was always held at the ELKS LODGE, here on the north side of town.

Today, you would expect a town the size of Wellington, to have featured speakers at their banquets, that perhaps had set some records when they were Crusaders or coached with lots of success over the years here in Wellington and that would be and still is great stuff.

When I was in MS and HS, it was a different animal. Thanks to several hometown business entrepreneurs, who found great success here in Wellington and shared that success with all of us in many different ways, the guest speaker list was a bit different. As you ate away at your steak and baked potato dinner, just feet away from the head table where the master of ceremonies sat with folks like Gale Sayers, Hank Stram, Ted Owens and others. My jaw still drops when I think about that.

Gale Sayers, a prolific Kansas Jayhawk football player and Chicago Bear from 1965 to 1971 (you know, Brian Piccolo’s friend)…

Hank Stram, one of the most colorful AFL, then NFL head coaches with the Kansas City Chiefs, winning 3 AFL Championships and a Super Bowl (IV) …

or Ted Owens, head basketball coach at KU from 1964 to 1983, the 4th winningest Jayhawk basketball coach ever.

Pretty unreal when you think about it. We live in a different world today for sure. I can’t recall specifically, who everyone was that made those kind of events happen, but I’m sure John T. Stewart, Jack Mitchell, Ted Davis and other local business leaders were instrumental in the planning and success of all of those Spring events. AWESOME STUFF – AWESOME MEMORIES

THANK YOU WELLINGTON for those experiences, with my dad, as a kid, just up the street from where I live now.

Author: Steve Sturgis

Steve graduated from Wellington High School in 1974 and then Wichita State University (with honors) in 1979 with a B.S. Degree in Administration of Justice; his minor was in Sociology. Steve has held several positions ranging from Juvenile Court Service Officer, to District Manager in Circulation at the Wichita Eagle, Q.A. Planner at Boeing, Caregiver, Psychiatric Technician, Limo Driver, Ranch Hand, Photographer, Webmaster and Website Developer and a die hard Crusader Fan since the early 1960's. Contact the ole boy at shs74@wellington.cc or on Facebook or at any Crusader event year-round.