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Tuesday

March 21, 2000

Times Daily

www.timesdaily.com

 

GREGG DEWALT

This hall is perfect for our history

Big deal. Another sports hall of fame. That's just what we need around here, right?

Darn straight we need the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame. We need the about-to-be-formed Colbert County Sports Hall of Fame, too.

It’s easy to be flippant when it comes time to get spiffed up for another banquet, to hear anoth­er round of speeches thanking whomever for making it all possible.

If you take those things for granted, you're missing the big picture.1f you didn’t attend Sat­urday night’s inaugura1 induc­tion ceremony, you missed a living history of athletics in Lauderdale County. That’s what makes these types of halls of fame not just important, but nec­essary. We need them so that our athletic past does not die with each passing generation

If you missed the ceremony, you missed listening to Dick Gray, a skinny kid from the Billy Goat Hill portion of east Flo­rence, tell a packed audience at the Florence Convention Center about bow be found out track would be his best sport.

Hint: It had to do with seeing the movie 'Dracula,' and then having to walk past the grave ­yard on Tennessee Street after dark.

As Gray recalled, on his way home he crossed the street to avoid the graveyard at about the same time his mother came looking for him. Suddenly, Gray heard his name being called from the darkness of the graveyard.

Imagine what goes through a 10-year-old’s mind when, moments after seeing a vampire movie, he hears his name com­ing from a graveyard. No won­der Gray became a track star.

If you weren’t there, you missed out on former Brooks star William Bowens thanking his former teammates and coaches for his athletic success.

"Without them, I don’t think I'd be standing here today,” Bowens said.

Almost everybody who has participated in athletics has a favorite coach who made a difference in his or her life. In Lauderdale County, some of those coaches were inducted into the hall Saturday night.

Sam Daniel, who starred in basketball at Waterloo High School, openly questioned his selection.

"When Mr. (Steve) Harrisoncalled me and told me that I had been nominated for the Laud­erdale County Sports Hall of Fame. I thought it was a joke after 39 years," Daniel said. "I called my coach, Tom Glasgow, and he told me it was no joke. I don't know whether I’m worthy of all this."

Half of Greenhill must have been in attendance to see the induction of former Rogers High School basketball and baseball coach Johnny Johnston.

Noona Kennard, the former Bradshaw coach, delivered an impassioned acceptance speech, talking about her dreams while growing up.

"You have got to follow that dream," she said. "And you've got to get the people around you to have the same dream. You can't listen to what the world says because the world says you can't.”

The first 12 inductees into the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame followed their dreams and made a difference in their communities.

Why do we need local sports hall of fames? You tell me.

Gregg Dewalt, assistance sports editor, can be reached at gregg.dewalt@timesdaily.com  or 740-5748.