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Scoreboard dedicated in memory of judge

Padway, who died last year, remembered at ceremony

May 30, 2007

A new baseball scoreboard for Nicolet High School was officially dedicated last week in the memory of a Fox Point civil servant - a man who loved to help children learn life lessons through sports.

The Nicolet Home Run Club, a grassroots organization of Nicolet baseball parents, raised the $12,300 for the scoreboard and then dedicated it to Will Padway.

Padway, an attorney in private practice and the Fox Point municipal judge, died of a heart attack Nov. 24, 2006, at the age of 49.

Among other things, Padway was AAA division president of the Glendale Little League from 1997-99, and was commissioner of an age group in the league. He coached youth soccer and was extremely involved in basketball, coaching a grade school summer league and being a preseason coach for the Nicolet basketball team.

"He thought so much that kids learned about life by participating in sports," said Nick Padway, his brother and law partner.

For example, one young man came to one of the basketball programs thinking he did not have much of a chance, Nick remembered his brother telling him.

His brother told the young man if he went in thinking that way, he absolutely would not have a chance.

"If you go in with the attitude 'I can do it,' you have a chance," Nick said his brother told the boy.

"It was like a light bulb went off, and I think eventually he ended up making the team." Nick said.

The scoreboard bears the advice that was Will Padway's credo, "Play for the love of the game."

"That was his philosophy," said Teri Knight, Home Run Club president. "You should go out there for the love of the game."

Nick agreed.

"That was his whole perspective," he said. "He was competitive and wanted the team to do well, but he wanted to see the kids do their best, go in with a positive attitude and achieve to the utmost of their ability. But they should take pleasure in participating."

Will Padway seemed to love working with kids and they apparently loved him.

"His house was the post-game pizza party," Nick said. "The kids all liked him."

Even players from opposing teams dropped by for the fun. And his home was filled with plaques given to him by teams he coached.

Will and his wife, Vicky, have three children. Their oldest son graduated from Nicolet High and just finished his freshman year of college, their second son will graduate this year from Nicolet and their daughter will be a sophomore at Nicolet.

Nick was thankful to the Home Run Club for dedicating the scoreboard to his brother.

"It is a wonderful tribute to a terrific person," he said. "I'm his brother, but he did a great deal for the youth of our community. He was a real dedicated person."

But Will also was one with a sense of humor.

"He was very positive, he loved a good practical joke and he always had that sparkle in his eye," his brother remembered.

About 100 people came out on the gentle sunny evening to the Nicolet baseball season opener where the scoreboard was to be dedicated. That is about twice as many as usual for an opener. Knight officially turned the scoreboard over to the district as represented by Nicolet School Board President Laurel Bear and the rest of the board.

The 5:30 p.m. game with Shorewood High was halted about halfway through for the dedication ceremony. Then Nicolet went on to a 13-3 victory.

The new scoreboard is larger than the one it replaces with brighter, more-visible lights, Knight said.

The problem with the old scoreboard was with so many bulbs out, it was sometimes impossible to read the score, she said. And the lights could not be replaced.

"If one light went out, you couldn't tell if it was a six or a zero or an eight," Knight said. "What's the point of a scoreboard if you can't read it?"

The Home Run Club raised money by solicitations, selling memberships, selling advertising in athletic programs and from receiving a portion of the profits at Potbelly's Sandwich Works for a day. The new scoreboard is portable.

Jane Ford can be reached at (262) 446-6607 or jford@cninow.com.

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