Yes. In the above picture, they are all wearing a picture of me. Me, me, me, me, me!!!
Guess what my little chickadees?
September 28th is Barbara Baker Day in the City of Steubenville.
Yes. I said Barbara Baker Day.
Yes. MY day.
Why would I joke with you?
No. I’m not lying.
Why would I lie to you?
Ok. Look at this. Proof.
Now…If you stop asking me inane questions, I’ll tell you the deeds.
Let’s start from the beginning…the very beginning.
I was a terrible runner growing up but a pretty good all-around athlete. I played baseball, softball, basketball and I was a true tomboy. But for some reason, when I ran, I stunk. I ALWAYS came in last place or close to it at EVERY race. But there was something in me that told me I needed to run. So, when I asked my Mom if I could join the HS track team freshman year. She, tired of watching a loser lose, said I could join the team if I brought my grades up to a certain level. The funny thing is grades came out AFTER track season had started. Sneaky. So what did I do? I secretly went to practice for a few months and never told her until my grades came up and by that time the meets had started.
So you are interrupting me and asking, “You sucked at running, so what changed?” Answer: Track coach, Tom Mazzeferro.
At practice one day, early in my first season, Coach M. asked me to run the hurdles. I was hesitant, but I did it AND finished all ten. Then Coach said, “You are now a hurdler.” Period.
I went on to win almost every 100 hurdle and 400 hurdle race I ever ran all four years of high school…from the League meets to the State Championships. I became the first person, women or man, to hold a State Championship in the history of Catholic Central High School in Steubenville, Ohio.
From here, I received a scholarship to Ohio University and won a MAC Championship.
Through one of my coaches, I was afforded the opportunity to go to the 1996 Olympics. I didn’t run, but I was an integral part of that major event and had a life-altering time.
Fast forward to September 28, 2013, in Lanman Hall, I was inducted into the Steubenville Catholic Central Hall Of Fame.
Eight men and I were inducted. (Full Induction Speech Below)
There are very few times in your life, or at least mine, where you burst at the seems with pride for yourself and your accomplishments. And to FINALLY be acknowledged for said accomplishments felt totally unbelievable.
This was one of those times.
Now you’re asking, “What about this day of yours? How did you get that?” Wow…You sure are pushy with the questions…
Because I’m such a stud…my sister, Alice, worked very hard with the City of Steubenville to get my proclamation. She also wanted the town and the school to let me to walk and wave in the Homecoming Parade AND have my name announced on the football field during the homecoming football game as the first person in the history of the school to win a State Championship AND have the Mayor of Steubenville hand me my proclamation at the Hall Of Fame Induction AND have them give me a full body massage. None of those demands…I mean…requests manifested but that’s because the people in charge of the events were not my sister. (smile) There is no one that will root harder for you than a sibling. So because of her diligent work, calling, following up and shaking her fists at people, I have a day that can and will be celebrated forever more. I also had a sweet homecoming. Thanks Mom and Alice!
My Welcome Home Sign.
A Framed High School Track and Field Jersey in My Mom’s Backyard.
Celebration Cakes My Mom Had Made. Aren’t They Awesome!
A Few Plaques From Over The Years.
One Of My Favorite Posters From College That My Mom Hung Up At The Party.
Feel free to take the day off from work September 28th. I will.
My Induction Speech
“I will never forget the very beginning of my track and field journey. It all started with the Steubenville Striders. When I was 8, I ran the 100m, 200m and did the softball throw and you could tell even then I had a future in running. I always came in 8th place, 10th place or sometimes even dead last.”
“Fast forward a few years, my track future still seemed pretty grim, but since I had a love for running, I still tried out for the HS track team my freshman year.”
“The first week, Coach Tom Mazzaferro pulled me aside and said, “I want you to try something out. I set up ten hurdles. Run just like you do in the 100m but jump over them with your left foot leading and only take three steps in between each hurdle ’till you finish. Got that?” I looked at him like “WHAT?” and he said. “Don’t worry. Its easy”
“So I did it. After I went through all ten. I walked back to him and asked what he thought. And he said…”
“Yea, that is your event. You will win state with that.”
“It’s very funny what you can do when someone tells you you CAN do it.”
“I was very lucky to have the guidance and insight of Coach Mazzaferro and later Coach Ed Martin. They created a defining moment, in me. That is, Their investment in me helped me develop a new found confidence and winning attitude that I never had before.”
“My exposure to these two great coaches and the opportunities Catholic Central provided me are the major influences in my early years that helped change not only the trajectory of my athletic career but also my professional and personal life.”
“These influences opened the doors of opportunity. Without these, I would have never been able to win!”
“Win and become Catholic Centrals first state champion.”
“Win and become a college MAC champion.”
“Win and become a television host, spokesperson and actress.”
“Win and become a companion to the greatest man in the world.”
“With that said, where you come from, your environment and foundation also have a lot to do with it too.”
“I was fortunate enough to learn solid habits, character, morals and class from my mother. In addition, the longer I live, the more I realize the lasting values my mother instilled in me (and that she is indeed, always right) and everything Catholic Central provided me and what Central continues to provide those that walk its hallways today. It is priceless and something I will always appreciate and be thankful for.”
“Above all, I want to recognize and say thank you to those that have been my backbone and support my entire life. People that have been there, are here for me today and will be there for me tomorrow and always…..my Facebook friends. Kidding. My family/fan club.”
“I’d also like to thank the City of Steubenville for not only the proclamation but declaring September 28th, today, Barbara Baker Day.”
“I’d like to thank everyone involved for my being here tonight and all of you that have come out to support me at this event.”
“It is truly an honor to be here and I am tremendously proud to be a part of the Catholic Central High School Hall of Fame.”