Teachers and/or coaches: Ever have a bad day or think you aren’t doing important work?
It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of a mundane weekday, but your actions, speech and demeanor never go unnoticed.
The effect you have on shaping a young person’s life can be immeasurable, just as it was for someone who is painfully missed by so many today.
As an educator and assistant basketball coach for Boyd County, the late Bobby Sparks impacted countless people with his kindness, humbleness, gentleness and loyalty, among other endearing qualities.
Sparks spent nearly five decades as a teacher and coach in the Boyd County system.
On the court, the Lions have collected 11 16th Region titles. Sparks played a part behind every banner. And he did so precisely how he intended: in a complementary role.
Sparks never wanted the spotlight, although he had opportunities. He was perfectly content with helping Randy Anderson, Eugene “Jeep” Clark, Brice Thornbury, Phil Pratt and Roger Zornes.
With a defensive-minded approach, Sparks effectively helped draw up plays and provide valuable insight.
But Sparks was much more than a coach. He was a devoted husband to Karen for 44 years and a model father to Casey, Amanda and Travis.
Travis, his and Karen’s youngest, was often by his side.
Sparks leaned on faith, family and friends, in that order, to keep him optimistic and a joy to be around.
Sparks greeted everyone with a warm smile.
During an interview with The Daily Independent in 2018, Anderson referred to Sparks as “a blessing.”
Anderson is far from alone. Several people close to Sparks reacted to the 71-year-old’s death on Twitter on Saturday.
“Wonderful teacher to me as a coach and on the golf course,” wrote Terry Thompson, a former Fairview baseball coach. “Very loving person who I will miss very much.”
Tweeted Dane Damron, Boyd County’s football coach from 2002-05: “Great man. Always supportive of me when I had the pleasure of working at The County. Always had a kind word and a smile on his face. He will be missed.”
Said former East Carter basketball coach Charlie Baker: “He loved his God, his family, his Lions and his friends. A class act. Never let competition get in the way of being a friend.”
Pete Fraley, Boyd County’s athletic director, said the following on Saturday: “To call it a tough day would be an understatement. Can’t thank him enough for all he has done for me. ... Heaven gained a great man today.”
Visitation is scheduled for today at 6 p.m. at Boyd County Middle School’s gym. The funeral is set for Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the gym.