New Central High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota - 1913

Central High School

New Central High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota - 1913


Arnie Johnson

Arnie, being the oldest of four boys helped his widowed mother to support the family but was also always involved in sports. Living only a block from Powderhorn Park, which was a second home to all the boys in the area back in the thirties, sports were the big thing. While at Central baseball and football were his main sports and after graduation played football at the University of Minnesota for Bernie Bierman. While in service he also played football while stationed in Hawaii.

After service he continued playing football in a Sunday league that had teams that included former high school and college players and also played baseball and hockey in various leagues.

Eventually, after marriage and living in Bloomington and remembering how everyone played sports at Powderhorn he was instrumental in forming the Bloomington Athletic Association (BAA) in 1953. After noting that some kids were being "cut" from a team he wanted a way in which ALL kids could be on a team. In the 1960s girls' sports were also added by the BAA. Now over 5000 kids are active in the program that now includes ten different sports.

BAA's philosophy has remained the same for over four decades: Offer youth organized sports programs to participate in without tryouts, without regard to ability and at a cost that is affordable to all. Scholarships are available to those that may need one.

As time marched on into the 1970s and 1980s and many, many guys still playing their favorite sports Arnie organized what became the BAJ (Born Again Jocks) in 1984 for guys 55 and older. Again many sports were and still are involved along with social activities and no dues are ever necessary.

At Valley View Park on 90th Street and Portland Avenue the warming house is named Arnie G. Johnson.

Contributed by John Leak, CHS 1943