20 years strong; Bobby Hill and Bartlett football
Some refer to him as an icon. He is definitely an inspiration. Bobby Hill has been the manager of the Bartlett High School football team for 20 years. Bobby lives with Down Syndrome, but that never stopped him from being an active member of his community.
According to Bobby's father Bob, it started with a chance meeting 2,300 miles away.
“In 1997, we were at a football game in Seattle, I think they were playing the Eagles," Bob said. "And coach J, (the) Bartlett coach came up and said, 'oh I see you played for East High School last year. You played football'. Bobby said, 'yeah I had a good time'. He said, 'you want to play for me next year'? Bobby said, 'yeah, I’ll play for Bartlett'"!
Bartlett co-head coach John Jessen didn't know that Bobby's playing days were over. He was three months too old to play. Jessen offered Hill a position as the manager, as long as he was a coach at Bartlett.
“It’s going to sound cliche when Bob finally shows up for the season all the kids are really excited," Jessen continued, "They love it when he comes to practice, they love it when he’s at the games. He’s an icon for us… he’s an inspiration.”
An inspiration to the Golden-Bears and an inspiration to the Anchorage community. Bobby is a member of the Alaska Aces Hall of Fame. You might know him as "The Horseman", hyping up the Sullivan Arena crowd to Rossini's "William Tell Overture".
Along with competing in Special Olympics powerlifting and floor hockey, Bobby inspires the Bartlett football team and the Anchorage community. Having never missed a game in his 20 years as manager, Bobby Hill knows dedication, sacrifice and love of the sport.