Beyond the scorebook: Al Ask devotes more than 60 years to Sparta sports

Say the name Al Ask around Sparta and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know him. There’s a good reason why: Ask has dedicated over 60 years to his community, and it all started with a scorebook.

“I was not an athlete. I was a spectator,” Ask said.

But it didn’t take him long to get involved in Sparta athletics anyway.

“1959 I came to Sparta, and that year the basketball coach asked me to drive cars to the game,” he said. “So I drove one of the cars with the players, and then he said, as long as you’re here, you might as well do the scoring.”

The rest is history: 61 years of doing boys basketball scorekeeping, and 60 years of football scoring.

“I just enjoy it. It’s something to be involved in. I have nothing else to do,” Ask joked.

But it’s more than that. For Ask, a retired school counselor, helping others in his community is a core of his everyday life.

“He’s involved in his church. He’s involved in school. He offers scholarships to our students here,” friend and retired Sparta teacher Julie Jandt said.

“You can’t find very many people who can say 61 years of my life have been giving to children, and none of them are mine,” fellow retired teacher and friend Carol Olson added. “It goes without saying his whole–the whole state of Wisconsin knew who Al Ask was, just because of 61 years of giving to do this.”

That’s why the community agreed to name the high school gym after Ask back in 2009, his 50th year of service to Sparta sports.

“It’s something that I am amazed at still, because I never expected anything like that,” Ask said.

Ask’s work has now extended even beyond his 61 years. He’s made booklets of Sparta athletic history that document every year of Sparta football and basketball, with football dating all the way back to 1894.

“He wants to be accurate. He takes a lot of pride in what he does, and to do it for that many years, he has a lot of reasons to be proud,” head football coach Adam Dow said.

And Ask isn’t done yet.

Said Ask, “As long as I feel able to do it, I would like to do it.”