Henry today (and yesterday)
Click pictures to enlarge
|Signature of Edson Arantes
do Nascimento, better known as Pele,
after a 1970 game of Santos vs. Kansas City Spurs
Mr. Jean Branstetter got it started -
| In early February 1969
Mary and I had moved to Derby, Ks. About a month later, Mary started to work
at the TG&Y store that was managed by Jean Branstetter. Jean was trying to
start the Derby Optimist club and was looking for men to join.
He had found out through Mary that I was somewhat interested in the game
of soccer. He then asked me to join the Optimist club and start a youth
soccer program. My first answer was that I did not have the money to run a
program like that. He responded with "The Optimist will sponsor the program".
My next concern was that I did not have any experience at organizing a youth
program. Again he convinced me that the Optimist would provide those skills.
I reluctantly agreed and the next thing I knew I was being interviewed and
photographed by the Daily Reporter. The article embellished my skills a bit
and the next thing I knew was that nearly sixty (60) kids signed up to play
I was overwhelmed and my wife's advice was to "Just do it" (You thought
Nike invented that slogan, didn't you). She told me that once the number had
dropped to around 30 players to make sure that they would stay.
The pictures tell the rest of the story
and we all are indebted Jean for having the foresight to convince me to
start a youth soccer program..
Ted Zollinger was always ready to help with
projects and build the first soccer goals -
The first goals in Derby
They are still there after 35 Years
A well deserved recognition
|Ted Zollinger was a tireless Optimist member and many of
you will remember him as the owner of the Trading Post hardware store on K-15
in Derby. Ted was the second president of the Derby Optimist club following
the first president Jean Branstetter.
Ted would today be known as "Ted the Toolman", not only did he have an
amazing inventory of handyman tools, he was also an expert at using them. To
support his hobbies he had a nice inventory of building supplies. He put his
used oil line pipe to good use by building the first set of goals for the
Derby soccer program. Once they were ready they were transported, under
police escort by the chief of police (and Optimist member) Sallee, to the
soccer field at St. Mary's church on Woodlawn. A concrete mix truck from
Hershey's Ready Mix donated a load of concrete and was waiting to pour the
mix to insure that the goals would be stable.
Ted became a personal friend and continued to help with other projects as
the soccer program matured.
He is surely teaching others how to use tools in heaven.
Bill Shepard helped me quit smoking -
|Bill Shepard was one of the players on the Wichita Soccer
Club. We played together several times per week on the soccer fields along
Hydraulic in Wichita. After practice we usually would walk accross the
street to the Soccer Club Inn, a bar that was owned by another member
Richard Brown. Richard was the coach and organizer of the soccer team.
evening in 1972, we were having our usual post practice refreshment when I
commented to Bill: "Bill, when I get to be your age, I want to be able to
play like you do". You have to understand that Bill at 42 years was quite
old, after all, I was a 30 year old youngster. Not only that, Bill was a
exceptionally graceful player who could make moves that were the envy
of many players on the team.
He looked at me for what seemed like forever, and said "You do?".
"Absolutely, that is my goal". He stared some more and as he pointed at the
cigarette that I was smoking, replied "Then you need to quit smoking today".
I had smoked about fifteen years, probably was puffing away a pack and a
half per day. I had lost a couple of bets with colleagues at work but I was
"Quit smoking will do it?" I asked, really knowing his answer. "I
guarantee it", Bill said.
I put out my cigarette and never touched another one.
He was more then right on one account: I not only was playing soccer at
the age of 42, I have continued playing as of 2004. He was not right on playing with the skills that he displayed, I never
quite mastered his elegant moves.
Bill passed away several years ago but I am sure he scans the web
for soccer articles. Thank you Bill