Those of us who have made sports our life know very well the values it teaches and the kind of people it turns out.
That was never more evident than Thursday night at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie as the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame grew to 13 members.
Louis Carter, Doris Jenkins and Roger "Pip" Moyer formed the third induction class at a banquet that drew more than 400 people, including University of Maryland football coach Mark Duffner and Baltimore Colts Hall of Famer Artie Donovan, who served as the guest speaker.
Each inductee offered a perspective on sports and how they relate to life. Each provided moving moments that made it an unforgettable evening.
Carter, the former Arundel High and University of Maryland athlete who went on to play in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was introduced by Arundel athletic director Bernie Walter.
Walter reeled off a litany of accomplishments, calling Carter "the greatest athlete in Arundel history and the finest natural athlete to ever step on an Anne Arundel County high school athletic field."
Carter, 40, said he knew at age 6 he would become a
professional, because he had people "that I could never let down," and choking up, he added, "the best football player in the world was my mom.
"She is my Hall of Famer," said Carter, who called himself "a rich person, not because of material things," but because of God, his fam
ily of seven brothers and sisters, his wife and two children and "the greatest in-laws."
Carter said that one of his brothers has been in a coma for three months after a serious auto accident, but had communicated with the family for the first time Wednesday night.
"My brother wrote on a piece of paper, 'I love you all,' and from the bottom of my heart, I love everyone of you for taking the time out to share this special moment with me, I love you guys," Carter concluded his emotional speech.
I presented Jenkins, a 40-year county resident who spent 35 years as a player and manager in women's fast-pitch softball. Jenkins was entering her third Hall of Fame, having been inducted in both the Maryland Softball Hall of Fame and National Softball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Rita Delaney, who started playing for Jenkins at age 13, said "Doris was like a mother to me," and those words were echoed by many in attendance who filled eight tables to pay tribute to the grand lady of softball.
Jenkins paid for many of the tickets herself to be sure all of her "family" could share the moment.
After congratulating Carter and Moyer for their honors, Jenkins, 66, said she "felt very privileged to be the third woman to be inducted into this Hall of Fame."
Betty Hallmark, longtime Anne Arundel Community College coach and former standout athlete, was the first inducted in 1991 and was present Thursday along with the second woman inductee in Elizabeth "Toots" Barger, the first lady of duckpin bowling.
Jenkins asked, "How can you make 45 years short?" and recalled many of her fondest moments in basketball, bowling and softball, calling the last "my main sport."
Attributing her storied softball success that spanned four decades and included a lifetime batting average of .300 and a host of championships to her "dedicated and loyal players," Jenkins said, "I call them my kids because it was like I raised them. I love everyone of them."
By the outpouring of affection for her during and after the banquet, the feelings were obviously mutual.
After emcee and WMAR-TV sportscaster Keith Mills elevated him to state senator, Del. Michael Busch presented Moyer, the former Annapolis High and University of Baltimore basketball star.
"Pip is the man who changed basketball in the city of Annapolis," Busch said of Moyer, who was the first county player to crack 30 points in a game during the days when teams seldom totaled 40 or 50 and he went on to score 1,517 points in his collegiate career with the Bees.
Moyer also coached hoops at St. Mary's High and in recreation leagues.
"Pip has converted his athletic achievements into achievements in life, serving two terms as mayor of Annapolis [1960-68] and is still to this day affectionately referred around town as the Mayor," Busch said.
In his humble and gracious acceptance speech, Moyer eloquently summed up the lessons he and this Hall of Fame Class learned and taught so well.
"What I treasure most from sports is that when you step on that field, it doesn't matter what your race, creed or color was. It didn't matter what your father did for a living, whether he was the banker or dug ditches, or what family you came from," said Moyer who acknowledged many of his former teammates and foes in attendance.
"It's what you carried on the ball there and what you had down inside. That's what makes sports so worthwhile that we carry this the rest of our life with us, those lessons we learned that we are all God's children.
"We're all part of a big plan. And for all the problems we have in this country, the social problems that still linger with us, it would be a hundred times worse if it wasn't for that great institution of American sports where we all learn to carry with us those true values of what human beings really are."