Roseburg Booster Club members shocked/floored/honored me Thursday night with the Booster of the Year Award. My response in thanks was very short. For someone who is used to speaking in front of crowds, extemporaneous speaking doesn’t come easily. I do better when I have time to listen to my heart and then record what it tells me. Here’s what it subsequently said:
I hope you were squirming, along with me, at the outlandishly large number of times emcee and Roseburg High graduate Knute Buehler mentioned my name in his talk. Seriously, do YOU want YOUR name brought up every fourth sentence? By my count it was seven for Winston Churchill and 22 for Don Crossfield, more than tripling the recognition given that night to a world famous prime minister. Actually I think that exact ratio, 22:7, was closer to 3.14, which means kudos to Knute, if he planned it that way.
Knute mentioned the Nertz card games on the kitchen table, but he neglected to mention his ordeal of baby-sitting for our daughter, Megan, when she was less than a year old. We came home one night to see a shell-shocked teen holding a bawling baby, looking up at us and saying, “She’s been crying for quite a long time.” Whatever lesson Tom Nelson thinks that the leaded baseball bat may have made on bat boy Knute’s long-term decision making, I think that the one Megan imparted that night was even more impactful; raising children is not all fun and games.
In that light, all of you who know me are well aware that 80 percent of what I get credit for is due to the fact that my wife, Mary, is covering for 90 percent of the things I don’t get around to doing. Think about it. Furthermore, the exact percents are even more, but I know that she would prefer/insist that the knowledge of those exact percents stay a secret between us.
Mary and I are honored to be members of the Roseburg community. As Knute said, the size of our community is far smaller than our statewide impact. I have been blessed to have a teaching career that yearly spanned the student ages to which Knute referred as the teenage tunnel. We’ve been aware of the opportunity and responsibility you’ve given us to speak words of truth, kindness and wisdom to our community’s youth during those years. As we think about the people who were in attendance that night, we are very appreciative of so many of you who spoke in like manner to our own children. It’s a team, this community thing.
We teachers recognize the important role you have given us, and we recognize the important roles that you also have. There can’t be too many good role models set in front of our youth, because we all know how seldom they are actually paying attention, and consequently whose words or actions they will eventually elect to emulate.
So, I receive your award as a member of the entire group of us — teachers, parents, Booster Club members and community role models — all of whom understand their roles and quietly go about doing them daily, so that our community can continue to impact the state and beyond in a proportion that far exceeds our size.
I’ll end with a quote from my mom, given to me during my own impressionable teen years. I think it reflects my heart at your very kind recognition of my role in our team/community’s efforts. She said, “Flattery is like perfume. You’re supposed to sniff it, not swallow it.”
Your very kind recognition of my own small role in our community’s efforts is a perfume that I will often sniff with happy remembrances and gratefulness.
Don Crossfield of Roseburg retired from teaching at Roseburg High School last June after 39 years of service. He and his wife raised three daughters here and now work with the Wellspring Bible Fellowship high school youth group. Crossfield continues to think of himself as a Roseburg Indian and may be contacted at email@example.com.