Teamwork key to earning sports fame

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Let's hope the youngsters at the Cannon Courier's Sports Hall of Fame event caught the key point made by their elders.

"Teamwork" was the message shared by Hall of Famers Randy Gannon, Tara (Solomon) James, Mitch Wilson and Harold "Toot" Jennings.

Randy, Tara and "Toot" each played on some of Cannon County's best teams.

"Toot," still standing tall since his playing days in the mid-1950s, spoke of how things were 60-plus years ago at Woodbury High School. A smaller school then, every student knew each other and were close friends. That friendship still exists today, a fact that was evidenced by the many classmates who attended Mr. Jennings' induction into the Hall of Fame.

Randy played on Woodbury's best-ever gridiron team ... the UNDEFEATED 1974 Lions football squad. He was a tackle and placekicker. A fearsome player, he earned the nickname of "Red Bull" for his red hair and the deadly stare he would give opponents and sometimes other Lions who forgot they were members of a team.

Teamwork was what made 1974 Lions successful. It wasn't a group of individuals, but instead was one unit linked in common purpose guided by Coach Mike Mayfield and Assistant Coach Bob Melton.

A similar story was shared by Tara, who played on the 1989 state champion Cannon County girls basketball team coached by Robert A. Harris. The greatest achievement in Cannon County sports history, the title was the only state championship in school history in any sport.

That victory came almost 28 years ago, but is still strong in the community's memory.

Family, teammates and fans were on hand as Tara took her place in the Courier's sports Hall of Fame.

"It was a total team effort," Tara said, citing the selflessness of all her teammates.

That brings to mind a saying, uh cheer, from bygone days: "Teamwork, Teamwork ... that's what counts."

Hard work was another key to success.

These past sports stars just didn't give up. Sure, they did have their moments of insecurity and considered quitting. Each of the Hall of Famers shared a similar tale about almost giving up, but in each case a friend, family member or a coach gave them the encouragement they needed to succeed.

These stories of success provided a valuable lesson for those who heard it. There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory...

Unfortunately, only two or three Cannon County coaches were there. So it goes.

Let us remember a few quotes about teamwork from some all-time greats.

"Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." --Vince Lombardi

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." --Michael Jordan

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." - Phil Jackson

"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." - Babe Ruth

One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team. -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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