Whatever any of us might be today or might become, we owe to family and friends, a whole raft of people. Nobody picks themselves up by their bootstraps (whatever that means), no man is an island and all that, and no turtle ever got to the top of a fence post alone.
Saturday night in the Natchitoches Events Center at the Induction Celebration to conclude the annual Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame weekend, the impressive Class of 2023 tried to thank as many friends as they could for helping them realize the fascinating reality of being inducted into the Hall. All-Americans and MVPs and national champions and multi-time state champs and on an on it went, but not a one was a solo act.
Each of them had a lot of help.
And each of them had several opportunities to express themselves during the weekend, and they did, gracefully. But at the actual Induction Ceremony, each had only a six-minute interview to be entertaining and informative and grateful, which is a lot to ask in such a tight window of time.
Just in case they forgot to mention someone, here’s where I can speak for them and help, at least a little.
One, never shortchange the value of friendship. I read Charlotte’s Web as a boy and again as an adult. If you missed it, it’s never too late. My favorite line is when Charlotte, the spider, says to the pig Wilbur, “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
And two, you can always count on Mr. Fred Rogers — more commonly known as Mr. Rogers” — to sum up how best to recognize and remember such lights to our paths.
In his Acceptance Speech when he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Ceremony in the spring of 1997 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, he said, in part, this:
So many people have helped me to come to this night. Some of you are here. Some are far away. Some are even in heaven.
All of us have special ones who have loved us into being.
Would you just take along with me 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are — those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life?
Ten seconds of silence.
I’ll watch the time.
He looked down at his watch for 10 seconds, looked up, and continued.
Whomever you’ve been thinking about — how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they’ve made.
Since it was a live event, Mr. Rogers had to offer the audience just 10 seconds.
There is no time limit for you and me.
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