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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A CHAMPAGNE TOAST: Come celebrate Timmy's retirement from Ferndale High

What: Celebrate Timmy Champagne, a Ferndale High legend
When: Thursday, May 19, from 7-8:30 p.m.
Where: In the Ferndale High gym
How Come: To Say thanks for 40-plus years
What Else: An Open House, with light refreshments
For More Info: Call AD Shaun Butler at (248) 586-8632

Athletes get the headlines.
You know how it works. So and So Scores 25 Points in Big Win. What’s His Name Smacks Walk-Off Homer In The Seventh. Such And Such Gets Winning Goal In Pivotal Game.
It is probably the way it should be. High school sports are all about the kids. That much is certain.
But there are plenty of folks behind the scenes that make sure those teams function properly.
Tim Champagne is retiring after more than 40 years at Ferndale High School, his alma mater.
His job description has been varied. What never varied was his enormous dedication and unwavering devotion to Ferndale High.
“Timmy has been with the program for as long as I can remember,” said Gary Sophiea, an administrator in the district. “He was doing what he does now back when I was in school.”
Sophiea graduated from Ferndale High School in 1970. Timmy Champagne was already a fixture around school when Sophiea was a ninth grader in 1966.
“He was an unofficial trainer. Back then we did not have trainers. Coaches did the taping and all of that stuff, but Timmy put the medicine kits together. He put the uniforms together. He was like a team manager. He assisted the players in many ways. He got the ice when we needed it. He was just always there for us.”
Sophiea was later a teacher and varsity basketball coach in the district before he became an administrator.
“People like Timmy are very, very important. They are an example of dedication. While I don’t think kids today are as thankful as they used to be, everybody appreciated Timmy. I remember when my players wanted to have gum on the bench, Timmy would bring packs of gum. Anything you could think of, he would somehow get,” said Sophiea. “Ferndale High has been Timmy’s life. He has been a very, very dedicated person.”
Soon, one of the real fixtures at Ferndale High School will be stepping down. Timmy Champagne is retiring.
There is a distinct possibility that you never even known Timmy was there.
He won’t be behind the bench passing out towels. He won’t be the sidelines making sure people have water. He won’t be taking uniforms to be laundered or making sure the team benches are set up just so.
He will not be doing jobs most of us did not even know existed or adhering to a job description so varied it seemed longer than Tolstoy’s rough draft of War and Peace.
Timmy Champagne never complained. He never said a cross word. His glass truly has been half full.
“I’ve known Timmy since 1966 and I have never seen him mad at anybody. I have never seen him lose his temper. I have never heard him say anything negative about anybody. That is just not something he would do. He does things for players and coaches and he happily does them. His entire being is about helping out the programs and the kids,” said Sophiea. “Timmy Champagne is about the nicest, most dedicated person you have ever met.”
People like Timmy Champagne are good for high school sports. Finally here is a headline for you, Timmy, and I am proud to have provided it.


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