I had the great honor this past week of presenting broadcaster Dave Stewart with the honor of becoming the newest member of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. The presentation was made during the annual Kansas City Sports Commission’s banquet. Dave has been the face and voice of Kansas City metro sports for the last 35 years.
Throughout those 35 years he has been a promoter of all high school athletics. No matter if it was a girls sport or a boys sport, Dave would be the first to recognize the achievements of student-athletes. Any high school coach, athletic director, parent or student would agree that Dave was with them every step of the way.
The Sports Commission also honored Northwest Missouri State’s Ben McCollum as Coach of the Year. Coach McCollum’s Northwest men’s basketball team finished its season undefeated and with the NCAA Division II national championship in hand.
The Sports Women of the Year were two Stanford volleyball teammates, Audriana Fitzmorris and Jenna Gray. Both are graduates of St. James Academy in Lenexa.
The title of Executive of the Year went to T-Bones Vice President and General Manager Chris Browne. Another very deserving award winner was Truman High School graduate and three-time All-America Oklahoma softball pitcher Paige Parker. All of these are very talented and call Kansas City their home.
The final award of the night was The Sportsman of the Year award, which went to the obvious choice, Chiefs MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has star power only read about in books and seen on television. However, he is humble. He is down to earth and unassuming. He is a class act with confidence but not arrogance. He never talks about himself. With every question that begins about him, he immediately turns it around and shifts the focus to others around him. He is a guy who radiates with the quality of “I get it.” There are those that get it and those who do not.
During the entire banquet, the stage was filled with award winners with an understanding of the important things in life. Everyone who attended knew they were in the presence of greatness. I have spent my adult life sharing my sentiment that sports can mirror life. All who were honored during the ceremonies are successful and will continue to be successful throughout their lifetime as a result of what they learned through sports.
Sports teach teamwork, integrity, accountability, sacrifice, mental toughness, leadership, selflessness and confidence. The legendary football coach from Alabama, the great Bear Bryant once stated, “A great team, whether it be football or an organization, shares the same heartbeat.”
It was evident that all who shared the stage at the banquet have that same heartbeat. Yes, all those award winners had special athletic skills, but more importantly they all possess the qualities mentioned earlier. The term “winner” is thrown around all the time, but it does not just pertain to athletics. Winner is also an attribute of life.
The motto of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association is a very simple one – “Live life like a champion.” One of the most important words in the English language is the word team. All of those honored by the Kansas City Sports Commission are living proof of that fact. Congratulations to all those who were honored.
• The quote of the week is dedicated to my good friend Dave Stewart. The quote is from English essayist William Hazlitt: “Where you cannot drive you can always persuade. A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles. There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.