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“Ben”: Webster’s most passionate ‘superfan’

Ben Willson, class of 2002, comes regularly to cheer on and inspire Webster athletes.

Athletes+can+count+on+Ben+Willson%2C+%2702+Webster+High%2C+to+cheer+them+on+with+passion.
Athletes can count on Ben Willson, '02 Webster High, to cheer them on with passion.

Athletes can count on Ben Willson, '02 Webster High, to cheer them on with passion.

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Staff

Athletes can count on Ben Willson, '02 Webster High, to cheer them on with passion.

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Another three-point shot swishes into the net, and the crowd at a boys’ varsity basketball game goes wild. However, one spectator cheers louder than the rest.  Waving his homemade, blue “Spirit Stick” frantically, this super-fan hypes up the crowd, bringing home-team pride to all attendees.

Benjamin Willson is a 2002 graduate of Webster High School (Webster’s only high school in 2002), and he’s known today as a passionate fan who regularly attends home games in both Webster high schools.   Mr. Willson, known to all as “Ben,” cheers on the athletes, shouts advice and encouragement as they play, and raises the Spirit Stick when a team scores or an athlete plays well.

In an e-mail interview, Ben wrote that his passion for Webster sports comes partly from his family history.  His mom graduated with the R.L. Thomas class of 1979, and several aunts and uncles graduated in the eighties and nineties.   His brother Jason graduated with Ben, and his brother Phillip was in the first graduating class of Webster Thomas in 2004, after the building had transitioned from some years of being a middle school.  Ben began attending games when he was still in high school.

He explains that he enjoys the social interaction that his attendance provides him; he enjoys “being the super fan because my friends/peers always admire my cheering, and it is infectious to those who hear it in the stands.”  He adds, “Furthermore, it gives me something to do, so I don’t have to stay cooped up at home during the day.  I was motivated to make new friends, meet people, and cheer the teams to victory!”

In a testament to his enthusiasm for Webster sports, he was able to recall the exact date and score of a Schroeder girls’ basketball win 16 years ago (Feb. 9, 2001, Schroeder 63; Gates-Chili 57).  In his e-mail to reporters for this story, he included the scores and the accomplishments of several athletes and scores of many of the games he has attended since 2001.

He reassures us that he will be Webster’s super fan for a long time.  He loves the friendship and camaraderie he has found in his role, and he enjoys the appreciation expressed by the Webster community.  “I have an excellent relationship with the fans, players, and coaches…they hear me cheering their names, motivating them to perform at their best.”

Ben’s support does not go unnoticed by players, fans, and coaches alike.  Will Johnson, a junior and a member of the varsity basketball team, says he cannot help but admire Ben: “He’s so into it…you can’t help but appreciate it.”

Being a super fan, says Ben, “is the best thing in the whole wide world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My final two words are: Go Webster!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

4 Responses to ““Ben”: Webster’s most passionate ‘superfan’”

  1. Rita on January 30th, 2017 11:32 am

    I always wondered who he was, my girls didn’t know.

    [Reply]

  2. Jeremy McBride on January 30th, 2017 8:14 pm

    It is always inspiring to see Ben at games; his passion for Webster Sports is infectious! It always makes me proud to be near him in the stands!

    [Reply]

  3. Pam Pender on February 3rd, 2017 12:08 pm

    Ben is my son and I am so proud of him.

    He has overcome and adapted to his challenge of Aspbergers Syndrome, and become a lbeloved part of our Webster community.

    Ben if the kindest, gentleman anyone could meet, his enthusiasm is infectious.

    I thank all of you who welcome and love my son, it means so much to me.

    Pam Pender

    [Reply]

    Missy Rosenberry Reply:

    HI Pam,

    I write the east-side Our Towns column for the D&C (and work in the Webster Schools). A soccer-mom friend of mine told me about your son and I thought I might like to go to a game, meet him, and feature him in a column. When I do that, I’d love to speak with you as well. Perhaps you can drop me an email at [email protected] so we can set something up?

    Thanks!

    Missy

    [Reply]

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“Ben”: Webster’s most passionate ‘superfan’