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Cramer Award not so simple

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Years ago, I was sitting in my office when a young man I didn’t recognize came through the front door.

He was one of my former high school wrestlers I had coached long before. He was married with kids and he held a great job.

He stopped just to say “thanks” for the interest I had in him when he was in high school.

It was a great feeling.

On June 24, the Jack Cramer Ideals of Athletic Competition Award committee meets to select honorees for 2014. Want to give a former coach or fellow athlete a great feeling?

How about writing out a nomination?

Nominations are due June 15, and you can pick up a nomination form at the Columbus

Parks and Recreation Department at the Donner Center. The award committee asks that those who nominate someone try to learn as much as possible about the candidate so that they receive accurate information. “He’s a really great guy”

doesn’t qualify.

Sure, it takes a bit of work. If you are nominating someone, you will need to find out some history, such as the length of time someone spent on the local sports scene. You might need to list contributions or statistics. Perhaps you would want to give a few examples of people he or she affected.

The nomination form asks for a description of the nominee’s “mental attitude or behavior while engaging in athletic competition.”

Suggest other people the committee can contact to research the nominee.

Now when you consider how rare it is ... we all have busy lives ... for a former athlete just to stop and say hello to a former coach, it takes quite an effort to fill out forms and push someone for the Cramer Award. Then again, shouldn’t we take the time?

Has someone changed the direction of your life through their sports contribution to the community? How about a couple of local high school football coaches who have worked in the community more than a decade?

You don’t need to be a football player to have been influenced by Tim Bless’ love of conditioning at Columbus North. How many students has he pushed toward a healthier lifestyle?

If Bob Gaddis hadn’t done enough already at East, how about a state championship in football? Seems like it would be pretty easy to fill up nomination forms on those guys. The words used to describe the award recipient are “dedication, preparation, determination, maximum exertion, team contribution, fair play and sportsmanship.”

This isn’t a “coaching” award but some coaches just go above and beyond and certainly stand out. I noted last year that I thought that there had to be plenty of athletes who were influenced by local coaches such as Eddie Loweth (softball), Doug Bieker (golf), Sandy Freshour (gymnastics) or Kendal Hammel (tennis). You would think they would have plenty of former athletes filling out Cramer Award nomination forms.

Local runner Pat Pierz continues to coach beginner runners as he tries to get them hooked on a healthier lifestyle. He does it to give back to his community. Seems like someone would be submitting his name.

Speaking about runners, Danny Fisher should have thrown his hat into the ring when he won the first Mill Race Marathon. Seems like he lives up to the ideals for the award.

Columbus North senior cross-country/track star Mackenzie Caldwell will win the Cramer Award someday, so it’s just a matter of when. Her coach is Rick Weinheimer, the 1995 winner of the Cramer Award, and I’m sure he would be the first to say that Caldwell has made his job much easier.

All Weinheimer has to do is tell his young runners to “follow Mackenzie.”

The area has plenty of tremendous athletes, though, such as North swimmer Cody Taylor. And don’t forget we have a local kid playing for the New York Giants in Stevie Brown.

As I read through the nomination process, it doesn’t seem to me that only athletes or coaches are eligible. It could be a promoter or administrator who had a tremendous effect on the community. My guess is that someone will nominate Ben Wagner.

The key word in all this is “someone.” No one wins a Cramer Award unless someone takes the time to fill out a nomination form.

Is that “someone” you?

Jay Heater is the Republic sports editor. He can be reached at or 379-5632.

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