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Going down the Hall of Fame list

A lot of memories come to mind

Looking over the list of athletes, coaches, and supporters inducted into the St. Helens Sports Boosters Hall of Fame is a trip down memory lane for me. It's not always athletics that come to mind either.

The Hall of Fame memorializes athletic feats, hard work, spirit and a sense of community. The Boosters do a wonderful job of putting it on. Tom Halligan, Jack Carter, Neil Johnson, Chuck Whittick, Rich Bailey, spouses, athletic directors, former athletic directors all contribute towards that bonding, that sense of belonging and a commitment to the community.

I'm pretty sure I was at the first banquet. I certainly recall the earliest inductees, but have a sense that maybe it was a year or two before the current formula for the event existed.

I had a chat with old friend (and rafting buddy) Gene Strehlou before this year's banquet. He seemed to think there was about 30 years of history for the event, but couldn't be sure. He's getting a little older these day. He was one of the organizers of the event. Gene was kidded a bit over his driving to events during the dinner. I can vouch that it was well deserved. We used to travel to events all over. Gene drove a few times, but I didn't like getting passed by the team bus on the way home. I decided from then on I would drive. He always insisted on driving on rafting trips, so I took my own truck just to get home before the seasons changed.

I kid Gene, only because I can, but it's one of the things that makes the event special. It's usually a bit of a roast of the organizers. The same quipping and sarcasm makes it fun-at least for me. Even the inductees are not without being teased a bit. Who'd go if it wasn't fun? I know I wouldn't go just for Carter's cooking.

The list in the program is alphabetical, and includes the year athletes graduated and the year inducted. There are a lot of memories there. Take Vietta Anderson and Carol Domenighini. They were some of the first people I met when I moved here. They were selling 4x8-foot plywood signs for the outfield at Babe Ruth games. Their sons Brad Domenighini and Glen Anderson were playing. Glen is the father of Derek Anderson, the NFL quarterback. Good Lord, I'm getting old.

There's Joe McKnight, a 1957 grad. Strehlou introduced me. He was living in Maupin and shuttled our trucks on trips down the Deschutes River.

There's Shay Marchant, she roped me into a one-on-one pick-up game in the gym. I think she schooled me. Eddie McCarter, great pitcher, along with Shorty Ames. April May, good pitcher, and daughter of my friend Randy. Ken Parshall, good wrestler, and he kept score for me during league and tournament softball games. I think he's a principal at McNary. His mom was tough, though. Sister Tina is there, too-good thrower in track. Joe Perry, great volleyball coach, golfer, and he putting mountings on my skis. Bill Rawlings, another great coach, good softball player, and my wife won't allow me to go anywhere with him, anymore. Cheryl Riggs had the hit that scored Mindy Austin to win a state championship in softball.

Megan Ritenour, good third baseman, with a great trick play that got a runner out breaking for home. Duane Simonds-subject of one of my favorite pix: him crossing the finish line in the 1,500 with a big clock reading 3:59 right over his head. Bob Webster, jumping in the air, clicking his heels, for a school's out photo around 1975. I'm not sure he can still do that.

I always feel a little worn out after my little stroll through the recesses of my memory. It's a lot of kids, and friends, and even memories away from sports. I like Hall of Fame banquets.