The banquet and induction ceremony for the second class of the Clarendon County Athletic Hall of Fame was more like a reunion than a Hall of Fame banquet for most of the recipients.
Laughter and hugs were bountiful as former players and coaches joked and reminisced about old times with their former coaches and teammates.
More than a few recipients showed emotion as they thanked their families, teammates, coaches and loved ones, who had died, for their love and support as they worked to perfect their chosen sport or coaching endeavors.
All the recipients were humble in their acceptance of the honor bestowed on them as each of them chose to share the honor with their families, former players, former coaches and mentors who pushed them to succeed and reach for higher goals.
At least two, Ned Darley and Brian Beatson, talked to the youngsters in the audience.
Darley talked to his children about the importance of setting goals and working toward them.
“It won’t be handed to you,” he said. “You have to work to get somewhere.”
Beatson recognized a few members of his Little League team from Irmo who came to support him at the banquet.
“I love to play this game,” he said. “I’m always playing with the children. Their parents have to come and get them to go home.”
The biggest laughter of the night was in response to Clarendon County Coroner Hayes F. Samuels who was the presenter for inductee Gunter Sweat.
“I’m not used to all of these happy faces and smiles when I talk to a group,” Samuels said when he stepped to the podium.
Brian Beatson, an alumni of the University of South Carolina where he played stellar baseball throughout his collegiate career, told the audience he felt a little out of place on the stage with all those “Tiger” fans and players.
Joey Taylor, the last of the inductees to accept the honor, stepped to the podium holding a prop, a wooden baseball bat. It wasn’t just any old baseball bat. It was the baseball bat that he used to set a record that still stands at Clemson. Taylor owns the Tiger record for most extra base hits in a nine-inning game: two home runs and three doubles. Taylor’s opponent that day was the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. Taylor said a friend and assistant with the baseball team presented him with the bat a few days after he set the record.
“He told me then that it probably didn’t mean much now, but it would one day,” Taylor said. “He told me to take it home and put in on the wall. I know what he meant now. It does mean more today than back then.”
Who will comprise the third class of the Clarendon County Athletic Hall of Fame?
The 2013 inductees will be announced in January 2013.
If you’d like to nominate someone for induction into the CCAHoF, nomination applications will be available at Weldon Auditorium beginning Aug. 1, 2012, and must be turned in by Nov. 1, 2012.