What is a fan? Is it one of those silly-looking guys with no shirt on, waving a “We’re Number One” foam finger in the air? Is it the person dressed in an ugly costume, portraying some kind of Oakland Raider? Is it an out-of-control youngster storming the court, knocking people and things out of their way as they clamor to get to ... where? No, I don’t think so.
What is a fan is a question that could be answered in numerous ways, perhaps a thousand ways. For me, however, the word “Fan” comes down to its’ purest form in the support of young people, whether it be Little League, Middle School or High School. Support of college and professional teams are merely outgrowths of that basic tenet.
The Larned Indian sports teams lost two of their biggest boosters over the Holiday season as Jim Bohart and Pat Schartz passed away. It will seem a little strange going to a basketball game, a football game or any other Larned sporting event and not seeing their faces. Both of them, and their families, were/are the epitome of what I am trying to describe as a fan. Win, lose or overtime, Jim Bohart and Pat Schartz were there. They attended games when their children and grandchildren were in school and they continued to do so when they had no family members participating. They cheered for my and your children and grandchildren.
It would more than fill this column to list the many things that the two of them did for this community. That old saying, “if you look up the word VOLUNTEER in the dictionary, you would find their names listed first”, couldn’t be more true. They are the glue that makes communities work. They volunteered not when it was convenient but when it was needed.
The wonderful thing about these “fans” is that they are repeated in communities all over this great country. Great Bend, Hoisington, Ellinwood, St. John, Macksville and countless more places are all blessed by the “I support you” attitude that was exemplified by Larned’s Jim Bohart and Pat Schartz. The, “let’s get it done” attitude. I hope we all, in whatever community we live in, take time to recognize the “Jim and Pat” that are making where we live a better place.
In a testimony of praise like this it might seem a little unusual to link two people together whose main shared feature was that they loved Larned and the young people of this community. Gosh, they even usually sat on opposite sides of the gymnasium when they supported the basketball teams! Yet, that is exactly what joins them: they both loved and supported the young people of the Larned community. Other than that, they might have been very different but, oh my, what a common bond!
George Washington , in his Social Maxims, wrote about friendships, which is what I call a fan:
A slender acquaintance with the world must
Convince every man, that actions, not words,
Are the true criterion of the attachment of friends;
And that the most liberal professions of good-will
Are very far from being the surest marks of it.
The actions of Jim Bohart and his family and Pat Schartz and her family have shown all of us what it means to be a friend, a fan. Jim and Pat, we’ll miss you at the ball game.
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned.