Looking ahead and behind

The almost month-ago Butte Sports Hall of Fame banquet provided a nice wrap up to the 2012-2013 school sports season. This weekend’s Shrine Game festivities, also in Butte, gives kind of a look ahead as so many of these young men will be continuing their football careers on the college fields.

Hope and accomplishment are always themes for the Shrine Game as the football stars play for the promise of improving lives for children battling to overcome serious medical issues.

The Civic Center plays host this year to both of the banquets held in conjunction with those two sports weekends. It’s a fitting venue and, personally, my favorite room outside of the family house.

For reminder, the individuals inducted as this year’s Hall of Fame class were Todd Ericson, Jim Janhunen, Tami Mathewson, Dave McDougall, Jim Michelotti, Tim Mueller, Josh Paffhausen, Wayne Paffhausen, Dick Roche, Dan Ueland and Dick Wilson.

The teams inducted were the 1984 Butte High wrestling team, 1984 Butte Central boys’ basketball team, 1984 Butte High boys’ basketball team, 1984 Butte High girls’ golf team, 1985 Butte High girls’ track team, 1985 Butte High wrestling team, 1985 Butte High girls’ golf team and the 1913-41 Butte champions in the Independent Football League.

The Hall of Fame weekend is a reunion time where the former greats and those associated with them can kid, reminisce and relax. It is an emotional time, too, with heartfelt speeches and classy ceremonies.

Generations interact at these events as some of the more recent super jocks mingle with their own heroes from childhood.

I’ve heard the snickers, too, especially from a few residents of other Montana towns, over Butte having a sports hall of fame. I personally think it to be a great idea (thank you Don Peoples and Pat Kearney) and, having spent my entire life around the sports scene, think it would be nice if every town had such an exhibit and celebration.

Each community seems to have its own summer festival and theater group, so why not a sports Hall of Fame, too? Just like we all have outdoor swimming pools — well, almost all.

Everybody gets to sit at the cool table at the Butte Sports Hall of Fame banquet, because, oh my gosh, every table is the cool one. Mine included (fellow writer) Pat Ryan and Randy Walund from some Butte High wrestling and football days of glory, former Montana Tech football player, assistant coach and broadcaster Ron Hasquet, former Butte football star and Anaconda coach Ed Derzay and, probably the most honored Hall-of-Famer of all, Butte High staffer Steve Stosich.

Stosich, who has coached at least six different sports in town, collected his 14th plaque, this time for assisting with wrestling championships, and it’ll be awhile yet before we get around to so honoring his girls’ softball coaching success.

Stosich’s most recent trip to state AA sotball was in May where the Bulldogs lost a 1-0 first-round game and then suffered some uncharacteristic yips in an elimination-round loss to Helena Capital. Great Falls was the host city for the event and proved to be a prepared and hospitable manager. A personal highlight was visiting with another former sports editor, George Geise, who guided the always-informative Great Falls Tribune sports pages for many years. Geise is recovering from multiple heart bypass surgery he underwent last fall after collapsing on the field in a senior division men’s slowpitch softball national tournament in St. George, Utah.

He looked good and strong.

The very capable and talented Scott Mansch succeeded the retired Geise two years ago.

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