Antioch, Illinois — We came to Antioch Community High School near Chicago to meet the record holder — the undisputed champion — of showing up.
Ninety-one-year-old superfan Steve Young hasn’t missed a single Antioch football game since 1946 — not even the summer he got in a traffic accident in a thunderstorm.
“I had 11 broken bones, punctured left lung and while I was laying on the stretcher, I got hit by lightning. Knocked me off the stretcher,” he said. “They got me in the hospital and one doctor says, ‘He’s not going to make it.’ And I said, ‘You guys don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve got a game to go to!'”
And sure enough, a few weeks later he was at the season opener.
But it’s not just football. Young has also been to virtually every basketball game, softball game and volleyball match. He goes to tennis matches, golf matches and even bowling tournaments. He is omnipresent at more than 20 sports, plus plays and concerts.
We talked to students and former students across three generations. They said Young was at their home and away games “no matter what.”
“Every single one, he’s always there,” one said.
“For some athletes, it’s maybe the only person they have at the game,” another said.
Young says that’s true because the kids have told him so.
“I’ve had kids come up and say, ‘My parents never show up for anything,'” he said. “It kind of hits home.”
And it’s a big reason why he does it.
As a thank you for his 76 years of love and support, the school recently made Young grand marshal of the homecoming parade and honored him at a game, where all that cheering he’d done for others finally echoed back.
The resounding message was that sometimes the most important thing you can do for a child is just be there, no matter what.