Class of 1971
Parents and other family members provide their share of volunteer work at
tournaments. But John Meier of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., takes the task to
a new level. The bachelor from the St. Paul suburb has been a volunteer
scoreboard operator at high school and summer sports events for over 36
years. "I just like to do it," he said between games Friday night.
Meier started running the football scoreboard while in high school in 1971
at Henry Sibley High School. He gradually added basketball, soccer and
softball at three other high schools in the St. Paul area. He got started
with softball when one of the high school girls invited him to watch a
tournament she was in. "I got there and looked around, and no one was
running the scoreboard, so I just sat down and ran the thing," he said. Now
he travels with his own control panel and pays his own expenses.
He started with the Ringneck 10 years ago, when he came down with a team,
liked the complex, and started running the board. "He's a great volunteer,"
tournament director Cheryl Morgan said. "He calls us every year and
volunteers and pays his own hotel - he does a great job." He has worked
with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in information technology
for 34 years, so running various scoreboards pose no problems for him.
Kim Niederluecke, Richfield High School softball coach, saw him in the
dugout and came over to say hello. "John is an icon in our conference,"
Niederluecke said. "He will sit there all day long, every day - he just
loves being around the field. We sure appreciate him a lot in Minnesota,"
she said. After 36 years, Meier is slowing down a bit now. In 2001, he ran
the scoreboard for 180 high school and summer softball games. "I've cut way
down since then," he said. "You do too much and you get burned out."
But he'll be back at Sherman Park at the end of July to run the board for
the girls under-16 national tourney.
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