Golden Boot 2015
Golden Boot 2015 - John O'Grady and Leo Champagne
presentation at Swing Me in St. Louis by Phil Davis
May 24, 2015
My name is Phil Davis and tonight is my opportunity to talk about this very heavy plaque and how much it means to be part of this organization. When my birthday-twin sister JW Paulson bestowed the boot honor to me last year... well... I wasn’t quite paying full attention. You see, the other new responsibility of newly elected IAGSDC Chair was still wet to the touch and outgoing chair Bob Hazen had been downloading (as fast as he could, it seemed) each kernel of knowledge that I was going to need. So I was listening to JW’s words but distracted with thoughts of new responsibilities. This left me not really trying to play the game and make a guess, like I had in years past, as to whom it would be. And just like in grade school when the squirrel in the play yard was more interesting than the math problem on the black board that you had already solved , someone called my name. JW called my name.
The potential embarrassment aside (did anybody see me apparently not paying attention??). Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting to hear my name. I square dance because I enjoy it, I help out where needed to keep the activity going, I support the IAGSDC so that others can get the same sense of enjoyment, camaraderie and satisfaction from our activity as I do. I don’t really do it for an accolade. I’m not very good at receiving a compliment and I never expect to be singled out. But - none the less – I’m now proudly part of a select and giving group of individuals who have been recognized for their contribution – and - I couldn’t be in grander company. May I ask that each of the Golden Boot recipients – individuals and groups - in attendance please stand and be recognized by the rest of the family.
Thank you all. Two years ago, with the addition of JW, the original plaque was full. I went ahead a crafted a new board so, as the tradition continues, there are spots for many more – in a convenient travel size version. Karl Jaeckel, the original needs a home. And that brings us to the newest recipient to be named tonight and place after my name.
First, a little history. This Golden Boot award was created in 1983 by Puddletown Squares to recognize Art Smith who founded not only Puddletown but the clubs in Portland and Vancouver, as well. After the first convention proved to be a success, Art felt it would be a good way to recognize people who, or organizations which, have made on-going contributions to the continuation and success of the activity. This is, however, not an Association award; it is presented by one year’s recipient to his or her choice to be the next honoree. The choice is strictly personal; no polls or hanging chads involved. Previous recipients include callers and dancers, men and women, straight, gay or Q(star)*.
This awarding of the boot is for a dancer: a dancer who also motivates; a dancer who organizes; a dancer who misses very few tips, if any; a dancer who takes instruction when available, but is driven enough to self-teach when instruction is scarce. This person started in the Midwest and has moved a couple of times but is always an enthusiastic club supporter no matter the geography. Eventually starting up a new club, this dancer now has the good fortune to travel around the country (and maybe beyond) to visit square dance friends met over the years.
Sounds like more energy than any one person can possibly possess. And you’re right. Because it’s 2 people – a devoted, long-term couple – one always lead, one always follow. Precise, positive, passionate and – well – tan.
John and Leo were not present at the 2015 convention so, in a Golden Boot first, Phil presented the award to them via phone.