FINDING MUDVILLE: Hall of Fame 2013
What a week.
While I’m not from around here it’s hard not to break out in goose bumps when I see the collection of former Berkeley Stags’ legends line up along the sidelines at halftime of the Stags – Summerville football game.
It happened last year with the likes of Bobby Dellinger, Ryan Stewart and Francis Wilson. It happened again this year with the class of nine from the second induction class of the Berkeley High School Athletics Hall of Fame.
Rufus Wofford Sr., Albert Snookie Boyt, Ben Fleming Sr., Alan Watson, Mike Brown, Rodney Mack, John Rivers, Marsha Williams and Rusty Williams comprised the second induction class of the Berkeley Hall of Fame.
I enjoyed listening to the stories the “old timers” told, Rufus Wofford Jr. remembering his dad and the things he’d say on the field and in the locker room; Snookie Boyt talking about playing in the old gym; and Ben Fleming sneaking a Pepsi in what is now the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.
Through it all the ghost of Gerald Moody permeates the field bearing his name in stories about life under him and the games played here over the last 50 years. He truly is a Berkeley Stags legend.
I stood in the Pig parking lot on Sunday and looked across the street at the apartment duplex where Coach Moody lived, and where he sat on Sunday morning when Fleming and teammate John Dangerfield snuck a Pepsi when carbonated drinks were forbidden.
I could almost hear Coach Moody shout out, “You’re going to pay for that tomorrow!”
I love hearing stories like that.
The sense of Berkeley history represented in these two Hall of Fame classes is amazing and I’m a disciple of sports history.
The other amazing thing about Hall of Fame week is to listen to the stories of Coach Moody and then hear the name John McKissick tossed into the ring by guys who graduated back in the 1950s … and then look across the field and see the same man standing on the sidelines today.
McKissick is a living piece of history.
There go the goose bumps again.
The induction of this year’s Hall of Fame class also means the end of this edition of the Berkeley Hall of Fame Committee. While I didn’t do much I did serve on the committee for the past two years and felt privileged to be a part of something that’s going to be a part of Berkeley Stags tradition long after I’m gone.
Present company excluded, Coach Cruce couldn’t have picked a better committee to get this project off the ground.
Lane Wofford, Cathy Jones, John Gooden, Denny Hill, Bobby Mitchell and Brent Stone helped get the hall off the ground and running on its own.
I was inducted into my high school’s Hall of Fame in 2006 and I see a lot of similarities between my school and Berkeley. Both have been around for more than a century. I had Scott and Paul Armstrong as the legendary coaches while Berkeley had Gerald Moody and Jim Bradley.
Watching the Hall of Fame festivities this weekend I’m reminded of when I was in high school a long, long time ago. The only thing missing was the bonfire. You can’t do those anymore.
People these days aren’t as understanding about students sneaking into their backyard and stealing their picnic tables for kindling. Not when picnic tables run $200 a pop.
I wouldn’t be happy about that, either.