Ball of Flame?

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walt-pickut Contributing Editor
Contributing Editor

It kind of rhymes with Hall of Fame, doesn’t it? Maybe, but that’s where the similarity ends.

A Ball of Flame almost never makes it into a Hall of Fame. A ball of flame is a flash-in-the-pan, a storm-in-a-teacup, and maybe only a fluke.

Musical one-hit wonders have their own wall in the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame, but that’s the whole point. They are remarkable for their lack of staying power.

Best-selling author, Laurell K. Hamilton, hits the nail on the head. “If I'd been easily discouraged, I could have been a one-hit wonder.” In fighting for success, discouragement is the enemy. The journey from a ball of flame to hall of fame requires a refusal to be discouraged.

It does take a good record, lots of wins, and skill, but it also takes persistence, day after day, year after year—because sometimes champions lose, too. They simply refuse to be discouraged and they do not quit.

The entry ticket to a hall of fame, therefor, is excellence combined with persistence. Basketball great, Michael Jordan, put a finer point on it. “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

But it takes one more thing. That’s why the Jamestown Gazette invites our readers to meet this year’s inductees into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. The made the cut because they all have that one more, indispensable ingredient.
Hall of Famers elevate the people around them and respect the people who helped them get there. Earl Weaver, a baseball player, author, television broadcaster, and Hall of Fame Major League manager said it like this: “A manager gets in the Hall of Fame by what his players have done for him.”

The key word is “integrity.” Ryne Sandberg was a second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs for sixteen years, then became a coach, and manager in Major League Baseball. Ryne said, “They use the word “integrity” in describing a Hall of Famer in the logo of the Hall of Fame, and I think there are going to be quite a few players that are not going to get in.”

Show boaters, boasters, and the self-important just don’t make the cut. Swelled heads never fit through the door of anybody’s Sports Hall of Fame, especially the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

So please accept our invitation that this week’s cover story contributor, Matt Hummel, extends to our readers to get to know the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame’s extraordinary 2020 inductees.

They are more than athletes and champions. They are role models of excellence, persistence, and integrity for us all.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.