Bobcat Football To Honor One Of Our Own (8/27/12)
Friday night will see the Bobcats open the 2012 football season hosting the C-L Lions, at Memorial Stadium, at 7PM. A part of the evening’s festivities, will be a small ceremony to honor long time team manager Kevin “Fonzie” Slike. Kevin will be recognized for having been named last season’s D9sports.com, “Special Contributor.”
Kevin has been manager under three different Bobcat head coaches, Ray Austin, Larry Wiser and Judd Allen. He shared that he appreciates all three. Kevin was Coach Austin’s Junior High manager when he was in 7th grade and moved up to the Varsity with Coach Austin the next year. He managed through his senior year. Kevin returned to the sidelines in 2000 under Coach Wiser and has been team manager since, making the 2012 season, Kevin’s 18th as varsity manager.
Among his duties, he makes sure the equipment is ready to go on Thursday nights for Friday night games, making sure the trainers have their supplies ready to go. On the sidelines he changes cleats, takes care of the water and Gatorade, along with other things.
Managing the team has been a family affair of sorts for Kevin. Roughly six years back, realizing the need for a bigger vehicle to transport supplies, he got coach Wiser to enlist his brother Vance and his pickup. And nephews Cameron and Damien, along with niece Bailey, have been among his student helpers, over the years. Something Kevin is very appreciative of. He is also thankful to Vance’s wife, for sparing Vance for his duties with the team.
Kevin’s work with the team is a labor of love. He says, “I do this strictly volunteer. I enjoy doing it. I enjoy working with the kids. I think they keep you young. Even kids from the years past, since I’ve been on this, even the girlfriends will come up and say, ‘Hey you took care of my boyfriend.’ And it just makes you feel good that they remember you. So it has its perks. You know it’s working.”
Always one to encourage the Bobcats, Kevin is sort of an unofficial team mascot. Once before a girls basketball game with Union a while back, the mascot couldn’t be found. And although they didn’t find Kevin in the crowd, the first person they looked for to take over was Kevin. He mentioned “Alex Arth said, ‘We can get Fonzie to do it.’ You know, bringing the girls out. So that was a good situation back then.”
Kevin even saved the football team a fifteen yard pre-game penalty assessment once. Before the Keystone game in ’79 referee Frank Pallago told Kevin he was going to flag the team for being so late getting on the field. Kevin let him know that if he did, he’d suffer the wrath of Coach Austin. Frank reconsidered and kept the flag in his pocket.
Those who know Kevin personally, realize he is a walking Bobcat Football tales encyclopedia.
Kevin is looking forward to Friday night, saying, “I think it’ll be a special night, crosstown rivalries… ” And of receiving the award he says, “I feel very honored to get that, because they usually don’t do that, recognize someone like us (support staff/ those laboring in the background). I feel very proud to be honored.”
And this town should be very proud of Kevin. To know Kevin is to love him. This man may be little of physical stature (4’11”), but his heart for the Cats is immense.
To Those whose lives have been touched by this fine, ever smiling Bobcat icon, let’s fill the stands, Friday night, and give him an ovation befitting of his service to our boys. And after the game, go up to him and express your appreciation, and experience again that big Cheshire Cat smile of his, coming right back at you.