Write Again … The Walk of Fame

Published 7:13 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

A good tradition is a very good thing.

A simplistic seeming sentiment, perhaps, but one that has a more meaningful import than one might initially think.

Tradition. It honors and keeps the past alive, gives renewed meaning to the present and provides an aspirational goal for those yet to come.

One such tradition has been the Washington Athletic Walk of Fame. Begun in the 1980s, and sponsored by the Washington Daily News, it was conceived and promoted by Brownie Futrell, and supported by others and became a yearly looked-forward-to event.

A Walk of Fame committee put in place the criteria for selection and induction into the Walk. The Daily News sports staff was on board and provided both pre-event publicity, regarding each year’s inductees, and then coverage of the actual event.

Over the next three decades Pam Pack luminaries — as well as those from P.S. Jones Yellow Jackets years — were honored. Athletes, individuals, coaches and teams, and those whose contributions to WHS athletics were special, became a part of the Walk of Fame.

Stones with inductees’ names and just a few words about their accomplishments or contributions were etched under their names.

Those stones were laid on either side of the walkway leading into the main gate of Wagner Stadium. There all who entered the stadium could walk along a bit of Pam Pack sports history. A Walk of Fame.

A new tradition immediately became a permanent part of the WHS athletic ethos.

One game night each football season became Walk of Fame Night. A hospitality tent was set up behind one end zone, refreshments provided for inductees and their families, and special new memories were made. The actual induction ceremony took place at halftime. A well-done event.

Then several years ago, the stones were removed from the walkway and made into a low wall in proximity of one end of the actual playing field. The Walk of Fame committee was not a part of that decision. While it may have seemed a good idea by those who made this happen, it turned out not to be. During games, many spectators line the wall in order to see the action up close, but they block the view of others coming into and out of the stadium.

The committee usually would meet in the spring prior to the next football season, and review nominations — very carefully — and make their decisions. This meeting would be convened by someone in an athletic position at the school.

The Daily News would provide financial support each year for one or more stones, as would the school. On more than one occasion, individuals on the committee would personally pay for a stone. Known only to the committee.

If you were to go out to the stadium today, you will see six stones, representing inductees from several years, just lying on the ground at one end of the wall. They have never been put in place.

There was no called meeting of the committee last year. There has been no called meeting of the committee this year.

Different people, some on the committee, some not, have contacted school officials — athletic directors, principal, superintendent. To no avail.

There is no Walk of Fame night slated for the upcoming football season.

A three-decades tradition seems ended, though there is hope this is not the case.

While the football team keeps the “Long Blue Line” belief alive, keeping alive the Walk of Fame — which is a part of all WHS athletics in the broader sense — seems to be in limbo.


It honors and keeps the past alive, gives renewed meaning to the present, and provides an aspirational goal for those yet to come.