El Molino alum Skip Cassady remains a dedicated Lion

Skip Cassady doesn't let cerebral palsy define him, serving as El Molino's junior varsity football public-announcer, scorekeeper for the basketball team and announcer for the baseball team.|

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Skip Cassady could only play a few downs per game of flag football as a kid. Even at that, the play had to be modified.

Cassady, who was born three months premature and has cerebral palsy, would play center, snapping the football from a position on all fours instead of a three-point stance. But he was always part of the team.

'I have always been a big sports fan,' he said. 'I wanted to be part of a team.'

Cassady, 51, has done better than be part of a team: He's part of a handful of prep sports teams. More than that, he's an integral part of El Molino High School's sports family.

Cassady, a 1983 El Molino alum, is the junior varsity football public- address announcer and the varsity squad's sideline spotter. He keeps the scorebook for El Molino's boys basketball teams and is the announcer for the Lions' varsity baseball team. When the Lions play away from their Forestville campus, Cassady either drives from his Guerneville home or rides the bus with the players.

'I don't drive on the freeway,' he said. 'Freeways scare the crap out of me.'

But his dedication to all things El Molino is fierce.

'Knowing you have Skip in your corner as a constant — that is one less thing the coach has to worry about,' El Molino athletic director Mike Roan said.

'He selflessly gives his time to the school and comes to all of our events,' Roan said.

The sports fanatic has been at it for years. 'I started doing basketball stats in fifth grade at Guerneville Elementary,' Cassady said. 'I started doing the shot chart.'

As a freshman at El Molino, Cassady again offered his services and expertise. He has been a mainstay on the sidelines and at courtside ever since.

'It's rewarding to me to see the kids grow up from small, tiny freshmen, and then some of them have this growth spurt, and then they are still growing into their bodies, and they finally become fully coordinated. And to see what they do once they graduate and go into college? It's very rewarding for me to see how and what the young men and women are doing now,' he said.

Cassady, who also volunteers his time with Food for Thought and the Russian River Senior Resource Center, said pitching in for the Lions is a way to give back to his community and support his alma mater — even on the bumpy bus rides.

'It's my way of giving back, not being able to play sports the regular way.'

You can reach Staff Columnist Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield.

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