Tommy Schoolfield named among the Friends of NEA 2016
Tommy Schoolfield of Caraway felt honored to be named among the Friends of the NEA. The high school tournament is held each December at Arkansas State University and Mr. Schoolfield is a longtime fan of the NEA. Awards were presented on the final night of the NEA Tournament held at the ASU Convocation Center.
The night was a double celebration for Mr. Schoolfield. In addition to being recognized as one of the Friends of the NEA, he was among the fans cheering on the Riverside Lady Rebels, 2016 NEA Champions. Among the team is Mr. Schoolfield's great-granddaughter, Haven Robertson, a junior at Riverside High School. Haven was also named one of four Riverside girls to make the All NEA Team.
Mr. Schoolfield has been a NEA fan for many years and remembers attending the games in the old Indian Field House.
At 83, he still enjoys attending the Riverside basketball games. He said one of the joys of his life is being able to attend his great-granddaughter's games. He also enjoyed watching his granddaughter (Haven's mother) Sonia Robertson play basketball for the Riverside Lady Rebels as well as when she played with the All American Red Head team during some of their last exhibition games.
Mr. Schoolfield attended school in Manila before his family moved to Caraway. He said he came from a large family.
"I had the talent to play basketball in high school but I did not have the opportunity," he said. "My dad had a truck patch and like most in those days we worked more than we went to school."
He remembers his dad Frank as a hard working man, but it wasn't all work. They also had a lot of fun.
"We worked hard and we played hard," he recalls. "When we weren't working, we were with our friends playing games. My dad bought some boxing gloves and on Sunday afternoons we would all get together and have boxing matches.
His dad would join them if he was challenged by the younger guys and he would win, Mr. Schoolfield said.
"I would not take anything for my past," he said.
Mr. Schoolfield did enjoy playing with a semi-pro basketball team and baseball team.
"Most every little town had a basketball team and a baseball team," he said. "I did play some American Legion baseball."
He and his wife, Mary, married in 1952. Other than a few years in Michigan, they have made their home in Caraway. They have two grown children, Doug Schoolfield and Susie Meurer, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Mr. Schoolfield has always been a loyal fan and enjoys attending basketball games. He said he and Calvin Jackson traveled a lot of miles together attending games.
At one time he would attend all of the NEA games, but during the last few years he has to pick and choose the games he attends with all of the Riverside games at the top of the list.
"The NEA tournament is important to the players," he said. "It gives them the opportunity to show their skills."
Mr. Schoolfield commended the organizers of the NEA tournaments through the years for giving the area young people the opportunity to be a part of it.
"A child is amazing," he said. "They all have potential and they need the opportunities."
He said he was surprised and honored to get the award from the NEA.
"I want to thank Coach Buster Campbell and the others for the award," he said.