Hoxie fan goes the extra mile
By RANDY GONZALES
Sometimes, it's the little things that matter most.
Deb Wade just loves anything to do with Hoxie High School athletics. Anytime a team makes it to state, she puts a personal touch on it, sending each player a small gift.
"I don't do anything big," Wade said. "It's just a balloon and a candy bar or a bag of candy. I have a special little card, and I write something special to them."
One Hoxie mother related how her daughter had gone to state in different sports seven times. Each time, she got a gift from Wade. Shelly Hoyt, the longtime girls' basketball coach at the school who has sent several teams to state, and who also is coaching the volleyball team this season, is appreciative of Wade's efforts.
"I think it's pretty awesome," Hoyt said. "She takes the time to do that for the kids."
Hoyt's volleyball team is the latest to be showered with Wade's kindness. The Indians were 36-2 on the season entering today's pool play at the Class 1A Division I State Championships at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Wade, who works at a bank in Hoxie, can't make it for today's pool play, but she planned to watch it on cable TV at work. If the Indians make it out of pool play, Wade will be in Hays for Saturday's action.
"I have high hopes," she said.
When Wade finds out a team makes it to state, she calls the school to get the postseason roster to make sure she doesn't miss giving a player a balloon.
"Anybody who goes to state -- I don't care if it's the track team, golf team, volleyball girls, basketball," she said. "Cross country (this weekend), I sent five (balloons) to them."
Wade, 62, didn't get the opportunity to play sports herself while in high school. She graduated from Grainfield High School in 1968, and they didn't have high school sports for girls then.
"When we were in high school, we didn't have that; we played volleyball in (physical education class)," said Wade, who did play softball in the summer. "We weren't competitive in anything."
Wheatland-Grinnell High School also made state at Hays, playing in the Division II tournament this weekend. So Wade has another team to root for -- just not when they play each other, as was the case in the regular season, when Hoxie won its matchup.
"I cheer for Hoxie," Wade said.
Wade got married and moved to Hoxie in 1971. Ever since, she's gotten her athletic thrills watching Hoxie teams play, and not just at state. She's always either at a game in person, or watches it on TV.
"I just love the kids, love to watch them play ball," Wade said. "Friday night is Hoxie High School sports for me."