Written by Newspaper Advisor: Chip Carter
One might think that the most powerful impression created by attending the Godwin Athletic Hall of Fame induction would be a great appreciation for the physical talent of each new member.
And, make no mistake, there is certainly enviable talent represented in each of the three classes inducted since the hall’s formation in 2012. Sometimes great athletes run faster, jump higher, score more, and, of course, win more. But, there is more.
This year’s induction took place Sept. 27. Inducted were 10 new members who were Eagles from as early as 1982 to as recent as 2007. (see list)
Their accomplishments are impressive—all-district, region and state honors, and district, region and state championships. Almost all competed at the Division I collegiate level. One played on a U.S. National team. One was our first Most Valuable Eagle. One now coaches collegiately.
But I came away convinced of other things.
I am convinced that not a single member of the GHS hall of fame is there solely, and maybe not even mainly, due to physical gifts. What sets apart Godwin’s best is work ethic or passion or determination or commitment, or combinations of all of these. There are thousands of hours spent serving the community, or perfecting a backhand, a jump shot, a volleyball serve, a soccer dribble, or a high jump technique. The idea that some “are born with it” is a fantasy.
I am convinced as well that no Eagle accomplishes greatness alone. Every inductee thanked family who sacrificed their time so that the athlete could put in those aforementioned hours. This sacrifice is what Godwin parents do and have done since 1980, not only in athletics, but also in band or drama for instance. Look anywhere and parental support in all forms has been the starting point for great achievement. It should not be taken for granted.
I am convinced that while we rightly honor individuals in our hall of fame, it is their bond with teammates, often forged over years, that they most cherish. Inductee Bobby Foley, rather than speak about individual honors, simply looked at a front row filled with teammates and cited what was most important—friends for life. The best realize where we can go together, and they help lead us there.
And lastly I am convinced of the potential power of sport. So much of today’s sports world is ugly, marred by money or ego or disregard for ethics. But so much more is possible when people choose to do right.
Consider the story of inductee Aljosa Piric, a 1996 Godwin grad and now the head tennis coach at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Piric arrived in the West End as a teenage refugee from Bosnia, torn by civil war and genocide. Piric spoke not of tennis, but about the Godwin community. Local families provided for him. Recently retired teacher Mary Bruner spent extra hours helping him improve his English. Tennis coach Tom Hoy provided Piric with his first job grounds keeping at a local swimming pool.
A college education and coaching career followed after graduation. Piric pointed to his wife and young son in the audience. “Without Godwin, I would not have the life I have,” he said.