Beyond the game, June 9, 2020.

June 9, 2020

Beyond the game, June 9, 2020.

By Vic Burwell, president

Mason County Sports Hall of Fame

It is June, and what does that month mean to Mason County’s heritage and legacy?  The last weekend in June has traditionally become the time when the sports heritage of Mason County is highlighted for all of us to reflect on those that have contributed so much to our sports legacy, and brought so much pride to their school, their family, and their community.

Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year, the Class of 2020 that includes Bob Ayers (Ludington High School);  Adam Johnson (LHS); David Killips (LHS); Dr. Annie (Tewel) Sadosty (LHS); Kelly Smith (Mason County Central); and the 2007 Mason County Central Girls’ Volleyball team, has been postponed until June 26, 2021.   However, the mission and vision of the MCSHF will continue to be highlighted in two areas of activity and importance.

The MCSHF announced that its annual recognition of two area high school athletes were selected and honored as the male and female athlete of the year for 2020.  These individuals are Evan McKinley, of Ludington High School; and, Adrianna Malburg, of Mason County Eastern.   The members of the MCSHF are proud to recognize and honor each year, high school athletes that epitomize the true meaning of sports and the character it helps develop in individuals that last beyond the game.  These two student athletes not only excelled in their respective athletic areas, but also shined in their academic programs, as well as, their contribution to their school and their communities.  While tradition has limited this award to only two students, there were many other male and female HS athletes from each of the area high schools that were nominated for consideration.

Participation in athletic competition provides a platform and environment for young athletes to learn the importance of dedication, hard work, teamwork, creative thinking, problem solving, and never giving up.  As revealed by these two amazing student athletes, other life lessons learned from sports are also evident in their leadership, respect, and character that sets them apart from others.  Equally important, is learning about winning and losing.  As the famed Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant stated, “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that.  It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”  Sports provides the environment were preparing to be the very best you can be is all part of the daily effort.

The second area of activity that will take place this year, that is sponsored by the MCSHF, is the renovation of the hall of fame at Historic White Pine Village.  The board of directors of the MCSHF, with museum consultant Valerie VanHeest, and in cooperation with the Mason County Historical Society, will unveil its new look entitled “Beyond the game:  The value of sports!”  This will take place in July of 2020. Specific date to be determined.

In addition to honoring and recognizing our area’s outstanding athletes, contributors, and teams, the hall will focus on, and feature exhibits that reflect the six significant life lessons that athletics can teach.  Leadership, respect, embracing teamwork, overcoming adversity, understanding perseverance, and developing character.  In addition, there will be five areas of emphasis that have contributed greatly to the legacy of Mason County Sports.  These legacy exhibits will focus on the MacPhail family; the five consecutive MHSAA state girls gymnastics championships;  the Mason County Eastern girls softball dominance of 32 consecutive years of winning at least the state MHSAA District softball championship, among many other championships; the Jensens family sports legacy; and, the legacy of Mason County Fast-Pitch softball.  Five decades of 50 plus male and female teams that won countless district, regional, state, and national championships. Also featured in the renovated MCSHF exhibits will be nine local hall of fame athletes and their respective stories on the values learned from sports that have contributed to their life success after sports.

Also, the renovated hall of fame will have interactive touch screens for viewing the achievements and stories of the 86 inductees into the MCSHF, and the high school male and female athletes of the year.  There will be opportunities to engage with other interactive exhibits, and photo ops with some of the world’s most famous athletes next to life size images.  It is the goal of the MCSHF to continue to recognize outstanding athletes & contributors.  Share memories, preserve legacies, instill life lessons, and add value to our community in unique ways.  Watch for this sports venue unveiling in July of 2020.