Cool front

A cool front hit today. It’s almost a blessing to have a rainy, cool afternoon to lay around and watch golf and baseball. I need some nap time. I’ve been going too hard.

This is my first real weekend of retirement. I worked on the June magazine (probably in some mail boxes today) for the last three or four weeks as a contract labor man. I really didn’t want to do it. I was completely out of gas from doing all of the things that needed to be done for the previous magazine (after I thought I had retired). I was getting pulled in different directions in meetings (of which I won’t detail) for over a month as I explained I was quitting. No one acted like I was quitting, just wanted to know why and then tried to fix it. It was a stressful time. I wish that on no one.

I’ve spent a good deal of time the last month on another project dear to my heart. I’ve been setting up the details for the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sports Writers Hall of Fame luncheon. It will be held Wednesday at Mermaids in Fayetteville. This year’s inductees are Mike Irwin, Bob Holt, Chris Mortensen and Mike Nail.

This is the organization that was first run by Conway radio man Mike Harrison as part of his own sports club, called the Conway Sports Club. He was one of our state’s first covid victims and died very quickly almost three years ago. So that club and the hall of fame went with him.

I asked last fall of his widow, Eileen Harrison, if our Hawgs Illustrated Sports Club could pick it up and do it the same way Mike did, two inductees a year. It had not happened the last two years and I thought it was important.

I was involved a lot because it seemed like every year someone close to me was inducted and I was asked to be there either to introduce them or accept on their behalf. I accepted on behalf of my dad the first year. I introduced the late Bud Campbell the next. I introduced Frank Broyles the next year. Then, soon after that, I was actually inducted. So that was four of the first five years I spoke.

Mike’s events lasted three hours. It would take me too long to explain how that is even possible with only two inductees, but he did it. He honored club members, city organizers and presented awards that I had never heard about (special merit awards he called them). And, he seemed to introduce everyone in the crowd. One year at the end, he asked a visiting management type for the company that ran the Log Cabin Democrat (a senior VP at Community Newspapers from somewhere in Tennessee) to come speak on a whim. She did for 10 minutes. Everyone (including her) was stunned.

We will not do that Wednesday. I will introduce each of the four inductees and they will get to speak a little while. But mainly they are going to be handed a plaque. I know they are all excited. It’s wonderful to be honored by your peers.

The selection committee (if that is the right word) is Harry King, Steve Sullivan, Nate Allen, Larry Foley, Donna Lamkin Stephens, Matt Jones and me. I thank Matt for setting up zoom calls as we organized and picked the winners for the resumption of the hall of fame. That part was actually fun. Everyone I asked to help has jumped in.

My original thought was that we would induct two just like in other years, one sportswriter and one sportscasters. But since we missed two years and there seemed to be unanimous support for all four of these men, we just changed courses and made it four. I think everyone feels it was the right thing to do.

The other thing we decided was that it would not be a Fayetteville-based meeting schedule. Next year we are going to have a luncheon in Jonesboro. I have long felt that the Conway club did a nice job of knowing who to induct from Little Rock and Fayetteville, but other parts of the state had been ignored. I know of five or six men from the Jonesboro-Batesville-West Memphis area that are deserving. I won’t go into those kind of details now. But my thought is to do a lunch in Jonesboro next year, then maybe one in El Dorado the following year and induct some folks from that area of the state. It will involve travel for me, but I don’t mind. It would be much better for me to travel than to ask two or three men (and their families) to travel to Fayetteville.

I’m not going to reveal the details but I’ve gotten something special for each men on Wednesday. I think it’s going to make everyone smile. The point of these things is to make it fun.

In going through my father’s stuff over the last month I found a folder titled Hall of Fame. He set up the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. And, subsequently, men from other state’s wrote him on how to set up similar halls in their state. There were letters from men in both Tennessee and Georgia on how to do it. My dad wrote them and saved carbons. He had one challenge, "Make it short and fun. You want everyone to be telling each other on the way to the parking lot, ‘That sure was fun.’ " And, he wrote that in every letter to each state when asked for advice. So that was my mission in this resumption of this hall.

I didn’t think that I’d have a speaking role, but our company president who graciously asked that we include this as part of our Hawgs Illustrated Sports Club was that I would be the emcee. There were several others who would have done it.

By the way, here’s a list (off the top of my head - and I know I’m leaving off someone) of past inductees, not in order:

Sportswriters

Orville Henry
Jim Bailey
Harry King
Wadie Moore
Jerry McConnell
Clay Henry
Wally Hall
Joe McGee
Joe Mozby
Donna Lampkin Stephens
David McCollum
Jerry McConnell
Nate Allen
Bob Wiesner

Sportscasters

Paul Eells
Bud Campbell
Pat Summerall
Frank Broyles
Jim Elder
Charlie Jones
Dizzy Dean
Dave Woodman
Rex Nelson
Steve Sullivan
Mike Harrison
Terry Wallace

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I don’t know where you get all your energy but sure
appreciate your contributions to all things Razorback!!

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I’m thinking you forgot to switch the autopilot off Clay.

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Sounds like a true labor of love. Enjoy yourself.

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Thanks, Clay. It is a worthwhile endeavor and all four inductees are special. GHG!

Wonderful Clay. Thanks for all you do.

I work at fly shop tomorrow. Hope it’s a slow day so I can write notes for introductions for our winners.

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