The old man, "Mr. Brown Deer Schools," the 94-year-old guy who knows everything about the School District and has forgotten more than the current administration will ever know, will be on hand Friday night at ceremonies dedicating the new scoreboard on the Falcons football field.
After all, Joe Klucharich's name is on the field and on the scoreboard, too.
The young man, who had the potential to be as great as the older one, and whose name will also be going on the scoreboard, will not be there.
But Shaun Wild's family, which has gone through hell since his murder more than 18 months ago, is working hard to rise above the sadness and the anger. They are still part and parcel of Brown Deer and theirs and Shaun's memory will live on in the $23,000 scoreboard for which they helped fundraise.
There will be a short on-field program before the Falcons scheduled football game with Cudahy on Friday and then the board will be switched on. It is located just a smidgen east of where the old, decrepit one was located. The old one was only half working last year and probably wouldn't have made it through the the current season if it hadn't been replaced.
But it was, and the new one fits in nicely, along with the newly renovated track that surrounds the field and the newly remodeled school that is going through its full year of having students tramp up and down through its halls.
"Last summer we celebrated the new track and all the other building that went on here," Falcons Activities director Mike Novak said. "The School District got quite a beautiful structure out of all this and now we have this new scoreboard to add onto it. We're happy that the Wilds do as much as they do to support the district, and we're very happy to put Shaun's name on it. To help celebrate his life."
A life cut short
Shaun Wild was a recent graduate of Brown Deer where he was a renown athlete and a friendly, infectious figure in the school. He was happily teaching elementary school in Naperville, Ill., when he was stupidly cut down in the prime of life in a bar fight he was trying to break up.
As noted in an article earlier this summer on the fundraising, his mother, Jami Wild, said the court proceedings against the perpetrator have gone by agonizingly slowly.
The Wilds are trying to use events like this to put some kind of positive spin on the tragedy and inspire more people to adopt Shaun's positive, upbeat and inclusive manner of living.
There will be a post-game reception at Libby Montana's after the event. Jami Wild is working with Bolder Graphics to create a photo game ticket as a keepsake. She asks that people wear the popular "Team Wild" or Brown Deer apparel to the game.
"Living on the Wild Side" shirts and wrist bands will be on sale with proceeds to benefit the Wild Memorial Fund.
Others will be honored this night, too, as Novak is very pleased that Klucharich is still alive and kicking and coming to check out the new scoreboard in person.
"He was the first principal here, back when it was known as Granville in 1957," Novak said. "He's been so instrumental in everything that has gone on around here. His is a personality that goes on and on. He's just been part of so many positives around here."
Over due for a new one
And he, like Shaun Wild no doubt would have, will appreciate the shiny new scoreboard. Novak said the board is taller (about 36 feet) and will have much more pronounced profile than the old, low-slung one.
It was way beyond time for something new, Novak said.
"The old one was an early 1990s model," he said, "so the need was there. It was worn and torn and only half-working and it was held together with paper clips and bubble gum. We were getting to the point where we would have to keep time on the field (with the game officials). That's not normal. We can do better."
And the Brown Deer community has. Novak noted that along with the Wilds, the Brown Deer Booster Club, the Brown Deer Youth Football program, the high school football team, the Varsity Club and others contributed to the project.
It is all but set. An electrician will come formally run power to it on Friday and then Joe Klucharich's and Shaun Wild's names will light up the night sky encouraging current and future athletes to strive hard, do well and play fair.
In short, it'll be like how Jami Wild signs most of her e-mails: "Go Falcons."
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