Even though Lakeview High School’s Bobbie Steninger was given the Game Changer Award at the Oregon Sports Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, her humility still shines brighter than the trophy.
“This is a very humbling thing,” she said, stating her apparent reluctance to be in the limelight. “I certainly had not expected anything like this in a million years.”
The award, chosen by the Oregon School Activities Association, is to highlight someone that has given their life to growing high school athletics and athletes. Her fifty years spent as the track and field coach, as well as an instructor in sports medicine and training, would certainly place Steninger in the running for a prize of this sort. However, when she was informed that she would receive it, she did not have a clear understanding of what it meant.
“(Principal) Bob Nash and (Athletic Director) Steve Prock came to talk to me about it and they didn’t know what it was and neither did I.” She did not realize that the Oregon Sports Awards are an enormous celebration of the state’s athletics, hosted and produced largely by Nike in Portland. With a live web stream and a dazzling production, Steninger said, “I didn’t realize the scope of it.”
Throughout her description of the event, she continued to return to her main focus. “Anything about this award, I want it to be a reflection of our individual culture here,” she said, wanting the community to share in the reception. “I’m no different than anybody else in Lakeview and I’m extremely fortunate to live here.”
Taking place at the Tiger Woods Center at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Steninger was elated to return to the fabled track. “Being there is almost like being in a shrine,” she said. “I love the symbolism, the tradition to make people feel better about themselves.”
She said she was lucky enough to have a former student living in Portland and working for Nike in order to guide her to the ceremony. Elise Cronkite née Sabin, Lakeview native and her husband let her stay with them and went along to the two and a half hour show.
As much as she appreciated the weight that the Oregon Sports Awards placed on the athletics, it still was an uncomfortable situation for her.
“The big emphasis was on honoring high school athletes, which I thought was wonderful,” she said. “I don’t like notoriety and I don’t want to feel better than anyone else.”