It was one of those moments that will define an event, certainly for this year but maybe a lifetime.
Bruce McKee’s induction into the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame on June 14 at the Expo Center on the Clinton County Fairgrounds was a bit more than the normal induction.
McKee has been in a nursing home the past 18 months. He hadn’t left the grounds of the Bellbrook facility since he arrived following a stroke.
So as Butch Peelle addressed the crowd of nearly 200, most of them had no idea McKee was waiting in the wings. Peelle gave the signal and McKee came through the Expo Center doors.
But his entrance was enhanced by two former teammates – Gary Williams and Gary Losey. McKee, Losey and Williams were three-year letterwinners for the Hurricane football team in 1976. They were captains of the team. All three were first-team All-South Central Ohio League in 1976.
On this night, though, McKee had the spotlight. Williams and Losey, with smiles on their faces, pushed McKee, who was in a wheelchair, into the room in front of more than a few teary-eyed on-lookers.
It used to be the defining Hall of Fame moment was the very first Hall of Fame moment.
In 1997 at Samuel Walker’s restaurant, where the South Street Wine Cellar is now located, the first induction ceremony for the HOF was held.
The first inductee was – based solely on alphabetical order – Bill Anders, a guy you’ll read more on in a bit. This burly, still athletic looking former Ohio State football player broke down in tears shortly after receiving his plaque.
I knew right then this Hall of Fame thing was gonna be a great ride, a ride that continued in Bruce McKee’s wheelchair.
RIP, BIG JACK: Jack Rittenhouse, a member of the 2007 class of the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame, died last week. He was 81. He was a 1954 graduate of Sabina High School. Rittenhouse scored 50 points in a single game his senior year.
ARTFUL ARCHER: Fawn Girard of Martinsville has qualified for Team USA and is scheduled to compete in the 2018 World Archery Field Championships in Cortina, Italy Sept. 4-9.
Girard, a member of the Clinton County Farmers & Sportsman’s Club, will compete in the barebow women’s class.
She also qualified and competed in the World Archery 3-D Championships in France last year.
1 WARRIOR, MAYBE 2?: Anders, a standout athlete in Sabina High School’s storied class of 1964, was honored by the 11 Warriors website (www.elevenwarriors.com) that covers Ohio State football.
The 11 Warriors staff voted on the greatest Ohio State Buckeyes football players by jersey number as part of its 99 Warriors series.
Anders, a 1964 graduate of Sabina High School, was honored as the top No. 81 in OSU football history. Anders never played football in high school.
One has to wonder if another Clinton countian is going to be honored. Gary Williams should be among the finalists for the top honor at No. 44 in the Buckeyes great history.
COACHES NEEDED: Wilmington High School is openings for assistant football coaches this season. Anyone interested should contact athletic director Troy Diels by email at troy.diels(at)wilmington.k12.oh.us.
FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: I’m a little late to the party on this one, but figured it was worth a mention.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association came out recently with its regional assignments for the state football playoffs.
Wilmington has moved from Region 12 (Southwest District) to Region 11 (Southeast District).
Also, fellow Southern Buckeye Athletic & Academic Conference rivals Goshen and New Richmond made the same move as did, somewhat curiously, Bellbrook.
Ah … the possibilities of playoff matchups with former SCOL foes Miami Trace and Hillsboro.
Clinton-Massie remained in Region 16 while Blanchester and East Clinton are still assigned to Region 20.
With the Region 20 assignments, Wheelersburg joins the Southwest District grouping from Region 19. Blanchester folks will recall – not fondly however – a matchup 30-plus years ago down on the river with Wheelersburg.
NON-SPORTS MOMENT: As grilling season continues, I am reminded of a tasty barbecue sauce by Rufus Teague. The Blazin Hot sauce isn’t extremely hot, to me. Now, don’t get me wrong; it’ll put a hitch in your get-along and has a great taste but it won’t bring you … make that me … to tears with its heat. It’s a taste, though, that should make its way to your picnic table some time this summer. It’s available here in Wilmington at Kroger.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports