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After 7,441 games, Kaylor calls it quits; he worked as scorer and timekeeper for Middletown since 1969

Posted 11/6/19

Editor’s note: The following uses content that appeared on raiderweb.org as well as recent interviews with the Press & Journal.

After 50 years, 7,441 games and countless memories, Robert …

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After 7,441 games, Kaylor calls it quits; he worked as scorer and timekeeper for Middletown since 1969

Posted

Editor’s note: The following uses content that appeared on raiderweb.org as well as recent interviews with the Press & Journal.

After 50 years, 7,441 games and countless memories, Robert A. “Bobby” Kaylor Jr. walked away from the Blue Raiders scorer’s table for the final time Oct. 17.

“I think 50 years is enough,” he said.

In a retirement email to MASD administrators, Kaylor wrote: “I truly enjoyed the games and wanted my students to see me in a different venue other than the classroom. I truly had a blast these last 50 years. I had the best seat at every event. I witnessed great games as well as great athletes. I owe my deep gratitude to the MASD administrators I served under over the years.”

Kaylor graduated from Middletown Area High School in 1967 and returned to MASD as a middle school math teacher. Shortly after, he took a seat at the scorer’s table and remained there for 50 years.

“My journey began with a phone call from Principal Mr. Edward Brunner. He needed someone to keep score at Feaser Junior High Basketball. The rest is history,” he said

From December 1969 through October 2019, Kaylor ran the scoreboard and the clock for football, field hockey, volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, wrestling, track, and baseball. He worked under the leadership of eight superintendents, six high school principals, seven athletic directors and countless coaches.

He retired from teaching in 2008. The most games he did in a year, he said, was 229. When girls sports started to grow, that’s when his numbers increased.

“My last couple years, I was only doing 50 events instead of 225,” he said, to give others a chance to learn the ropes.

“I don’t want to leave this cold turkey and have the athletic director running around trying to find people,” he said.

What will he do with his free time?

“I’m going to go to the games,” he said quickly, adding that the administration told him no matter how crowded it is, he will be guaranteed a seat.

While he said he always strived to be the “very best,” he said he never had stress.

“I just had a blast. I saw great athletes for Middletown, great athletes for other schools. I always tried to think positive,” he said.

That positivity extended to supportive comments before the game. Some players would stop by the scoring table to seek out advice, and Kaylor always had something to impart to them.

He saw generations of players at Middletown, and sometimes he gave advice to the parents who used to play sports, too.

“Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean your son or grandson is going to do the same thing,” he remembers saying. “Don’t expect too much because you were pretty good. … Let them play the game and you just sit there and be supportive.”

Coaching support

“There was always one constant, and that was Mr. Kaylor working the clock at all the basketball games,” said Bob Pelletier, head girls basketball coach. “He would always talk to everyone involved. Middletown is built around people that have that commitment to our school and our community. Mr. Kaylor is an extreme example of that commitment.”

Head boys basketball coach Chris Bradford added: “I have known Mr. Kaylor for decades now. He was an educator first, but I later got to know and speak with Mr. Kaylor over the years at the table. He was a Middletown staple, and he was always the first with a kind word, supportive email, or to inject a little bit of Middletown history and liven up the day. When I turn to the table this season, I can tell you, he’ll be missed.”

His final game was a volleyball match Oct. 17. Volleyball head coach Lisa Huber said: “Our home games aren’t going to be the same without Bob behind the scorer’s table. He has always been our biggest fan.”

Emotional outpouring

“I bawled the whole time at the last game,” Kaylor said.

After the senior volleyball players were introduced during Senior Night festivities, they started talking about him — to his surprise.

Coaches in the stands came down to congratulate him.

“That meant more to me than any of those 7,000 games,” he said.

The players all hugged him.

“I totally lost it,” he said. “I never dreamed that this would happen.”

Many more people have reached out with phone calls, emails and on Facebook.

One of Kaylor’s longest running coaches and biggest fan is Chris Sattele, former boys basketball coach.

“It was my honor to work side by side with Bob at George W. Feaser and MAMS. As a non-Middletown guy, I always wanted to ensure we did things to pay homage to the past Middletown greats. His connection with the past helped me understand the ‘Middletown Way’. I hope my time on the sidelines has a quarter of the impact his has had. He is a true Middletown icon,” he said.

Despite his huge support for Middletown athletics, he was all business at the scoring table.

“I never showed my emotions sitting there. I never clapped, I never yelled, I never showed discourse to the officials,” he said.

Kaylor will be recognized Nov. 19 at a school board meeting.

“When you’re dealing with people, you don’t go so much by the book as by the heart. That’s what I tried to do as a teacher and at that table,” he said.