Recently, I attended the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame induction at WesBanco Arena. Most of the local news teams were there, but I have a feeling there is a story from the evening that no one will hear.
Sixteen men and women were inducted into the OVAC Hall of Fame this year. Each one had a wonderful success story. Some had moved on to professional sports, others had made tremendous contributions in the lives of area youth. In every case the local athlete has reached achievements in their lives worth noting and honoring.
The thing that probably won't get reported about these Hall of Famers is the secret to their success, the one or two common factors that were instrumental in helping each of these men or women reach their goals. The first thing that 100 percent of the inductees mentioned as they expressed appreciation for their award was the people who had supported and taught them through the years. Some mentioned parents or grandparents. Others credited coaches and teammates. Regardless of who was on this list, the recurring theme in every speech was that it was a list. Every single one had supportive families, from traditional families and extended families to single parent families, and each appreciated the support of these loved ones. However, many thanked coaches and other involved adults for pushing and encouraging them. The old saying that it takes a community to raise a child was proven over and over again that evening.
A second factor that surprised, yet impressed me, was the number of speakers who praised Christ as they expressed gratitude to those who had influenced their life. Almost half of the recipients mentioned God, Christ or the significance of their church in making their induction into the OVAC Hall of Fame possible. In fact, one of the inductees, as well as the former Chicago Bears player who gave the invocation and benediction, openly shared their faith and reliance on their heavenly Father.
I believe these two factors, which probably won't get mentioned in the majority of the reports about the event, are the most important and are vital for parents attempting to help their children reach their full potential. These local athletes are evidence that each child needs as many positive adults in their life as possible. A great parent isn't one who does it all right, it's the mom or dad who gives his or her child an opportunity to be mentored by an adult with integrity.
Finally, these ladies and gentlemen demonstrate that a relationship with Christ is an important part in the development of a successful adult. Parents who want to help their children to become all they can be would do well to imitate the stories shared by the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees and help them have relationships with responsible adults with integrity and Jesus Christ.