Honoring three of our own

Even those who work behind the scenes and don’t seek the spotlight like to be recognized for their efforts.

Several prominent local sports figures recently were honored for their life’s work.

At Friday night’s Parkersburg High School football game -the final home game of the 2013 season -former Parkersburg News sports editor Jim Snyder was posthumously inducted into the Parkersburg High School Football Hall of Fame. What’s unusual about that is that not only did Snyder never play the game, but he also didn’t attend PHS.

But he was as much a part of Big Reds football as any other individual. Snyder was the link between the football program and its fan base. He would take the time to get to know the coaches and the players who made up the team and chronicle their stories. Snyder was at his best when he was writing his column, appropriately entitled Sidelines, for that’s where he spent a great deal of his time.

Even though he was a workaholic who carried a heavy work burden, Snyder always managed to make the time for those who needed him. He fostered unique relationships with coaches and players, making all feel like they had a friend at the local newspaper.

Snyder was a beloved figured at the newspaper. He gave many of us our first job. He wasn’t just our boss, he was our mentor. A man who led by example. Who left his ego at the door. Who made all those around him better than they ever thought they could be.

Snyder deserves every honor he ever received. He was the first writer to cover the sport of wrestling, which not only has named its annual media award in his honor, but also has inducted him into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Speaking of the Wrestling Hall of Fame, Belpre resident Burton Rodgers will be inducted into the prestigious organization today. Growing up in Parkersburg, it seemed like every time I went to a wrestling match, Rodgers would serve as the referee. He called most of the big matches. Called them fairly and impartially. He had an eye for the sport, seemingly anticipating the next move and being in position to see it as clearly as possible.

Then there’s the National Sporting Goods Association Hall of Fame, which recently honored the late Bob Zide. While Zide was best known in the Mid-Ohio Valley, he was a national figure in the world of sporting goods, always coming up with an innovative way to improve a product and make sports safer for those who played them.

No one was more customer oriented. Zide would drive hundreds of miles to fix one football helmet. No one was more understanding of struggling youth organizations, allowing them to pay when they could.

Zide had a great sense of community. It was his idea to start the Mid Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame, now a local fixture.

What all three of these men had in common was their “whatever it takes” attitude. They would go the extra mile to make sure a task was down right. It’s no wonder we refer to their kind as “the greatest generation.”

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com