Wellington Daily News
You see him at every sporting event involving any Wellington team. No matter the distance away from home, playing whatever team, you will find him there in the bleachers. You see him with his red letter jacket and can sense the passion and dedication he has. You know right away from being around him that there aren’t many fans more dedicated than him.
His name is Keith Finley. He’s 46 years old and he’s one of the biggest, most enthusiastic fans you’ll ever meet. The story of how he came to be in Wellington is a surprising one.
He moved from Illinois to Wellington in 1995, when his father, a pastor for the First Christian Church, took an assignment here. It was a life of moving around from town to town because of his father’s job that led Keith to look forward to finally finding a place to settle down and make connections.
It did not take him long to realize that he loved to go to the sporting events where he began making connections both with his fellow patrons as well as the athletes out on the field or court.
Over the years, he has built friendships with both the players as well as the coaches. When Keith interacts with people he knows out on the court, one is struck by the friendships Keith has built over the years. They enjoy seeing him there just as much as he does them.
If he had to choose his favorite sport, he would pick football. He loves “the hitting and tackling of people,” as well as “the way they score touchdowns.”
He stays busy going to games all throughout the year: basketball in the winter, Wellington Heat baseball in the summer, and football in the fall.
When asked for his thoughts a few days before Friday night’s homecoming game with Augusta, Keith said he was “looking forward to it” and was “excited.”
In the long-term, he hopes “we’re going to do better this year and go all the way to state and win there.”
He was there in the front row Friday afternoon for the pep rally at the high school. Sitting next to him, I knew right away he was in his element.
He loves the people of Wellington so much he says he “wants to stay here for the rest of his life.” He has a couple of families in town who have “adopted” him. “They look out for me,” he says with great satisfaction.
Meeting Keith, one is struck by his sincerity and friendliness. He is who he is and Wellington could not ask for a better supporter to have at their sporting events. The Crusaders know he will always have their back, no matter how formidable the team.
Wellington is truly lucky to have him on their side.
Keith Finley is always there for the Crusaders