A Season of Champions

There is only one number 1. Only one first place. Everybody else is an “Also ran.”

So after this year’s Cinderella Super Bowl win by the Eagles, could the Patriots at least walk away saying – as any underdog can be heard to say in any good New York deli – “So what are we, chopped liver?” After all, the Pats were better than every one of the other 30 teams in the NFL. But that’s not how it works. Winner takes all and loser walks away.

So how about the Olympics? At least there is a silver and a bronze medal which are pretty well respected… not that the NFL will hand the Pats a silver medal. After all, a winner is a winner, and GOLD tops all.

But there is more than one kind of First Place. The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame celebrates remarkable athletes who’s award is not based on a single win or even a single season. A place of honor on the wall at the Hall of Fame is only earned by an entire lifetime, a whole career of character, excellence, values and wins. At CSHOF the word “Champion” takes on a new meaning.

This year’s class of CSHOF inductees to be celebrated at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club at its 37th annual Induction Dinner on Monday, February 19th, will honor men and women who represent those outstanding lifetime values. They exceeded even the success of a “winning formula.”

A winning formula is the list of techniques, skills and expert performance that, when executed perfectly, can almost always guarantee a win. Very few but the most dedicated and skilled athletes ever perfect a true winning formula. But those who do are the ones who win gold, stand on the top of the podium and take first place honors over and over.

Yet the Hall of Fame honors winners who achieve the only higher mark of skill than a winning formula. Their lifetime of success and the honors awarded to them are not only based on the excellence of what they do, but on who they are.

Those who ask, “What must I do to win?” will do well. Those who ask, “Who do I have to be to win?” will do better.

Hall of Fame honors are a matter of character as well as ability. And it applies to everything else in life off the field as well as on the field.

Bertie “B.C.” Forbes, Scottish-born American financial journalist and Forbes Magazine founder, once said, “History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”

A true winner’s character includes losses as well as wins… and that makes for some of the best stories ever told. This week’s Jamestown Gazette is here to bring you a few of those stories and to inspire you to be the best kind of winner every day, no matter what you do.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut