EVERETT — There was a common theme at the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Wednesday night:
How athletic success is a product of failure.
The 2019 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame class was inducted during a ceremony at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Angel of the Winds Arena, and several of the inductees spoke candidly about how they had to experience failure first before they achieved their greatest success.
Jarred Rome, a Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate who represented the United States at the Olympics in 2004 and 2012 in the discus, summed it up when he related the story of how he was ready to give the sport up after finishing 14th at nationals in 2003, but was talked into sticking with it by his mother.
“The two things I learned in my life you need to have to have success are failure — that’s No. 1 — and support,” Rome said. “I had lots of failure. I was never the top thrower in high school, I was never the top thrower in college. I considered myself to be the hardest worker. I never had the talent, I frankly never believed I could make the national team, that was never a goal of mine. The support I had shows tonight from the family and friends who are here, without your support I would never be here.”
Rome was one of nine inductees, including six athletes, one coach, one contributor and one team.
Dave Lyon, a Snohomish High School graduate who was an All-American skier at the University of Wyoming and also competed internationally, received a standing ovation from his large contingent of attendees before delivering a similar message during his induction speech.
“In order to be a peak performer, you have to risk falling,” Lyon said. “And in order to be a peak performer, you are constantly pushing that envelope. You are constantly walking the tightrope between failing and not failing, or being able to control something that’s not controllable all the time. In that process, I kind of realized that skiing is a great metaphor for life. Skiing is a great place to practice and learn the things that are important in life, so you don’t make those mistakes in life, you make them while you’re competing in your sport.”
Eleanor McElvaine, a Cascade High School graduate who was a national champion rower at the University of Washington, spoke about how she wasn’t a great athlete, and she implored coaches to recognize their players even if they aren’t great athletes, and to allow their athletes to fail.
“Just help the kids be active, help them feel safe outside, let them get out there and experiment and fall down,” McElvaine said. “Let them fall down, please! Because then they learn how to get up. We have to challenge our kids when they’re younger, so when they come to the big stuff they have some tools.”
The other athletes indicted Wednesday were Edmonds High School gradaute Brenda Dobbelaar-Morris, who won a gold medal at the Pan American Games with the U.S. softball team; Lynnwood High School graduate Orlando Steinhauer, a five-time Canadian Football League All-Star; and Arlington High School graduate Carl Zaretzke, one of the greatest auto racing drivers in Evergreen Speedway history.
The coach inducted was longtime Everett Firefighters Boxing Team coach Troy Summers. The contributor inducted was innovative Stanwood High School athletic director Jim Piccolo. The team inducted was the 1984 Woodway High School state champion girls basketball team.
Steinhauer was the only member of the class who was not in attendance Wednesday, as he’s engaged in being the head coach of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. However, he sent a video message where he conveyed the other message of the night: the value of support.
“It seems like when you get an accolade like this, there’s always someone at every stage of your life who’s there to support you and give you that extra little nudge that you need,” Steinhauer said.
The keynote speaker was Snohomish High School graduate and basketball star Jon Brockman, who’s one of the most prominent Snohomish County athletes yet to be inducted into the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame. Brockman chronicled his playing career, from Snohomish to starring at the University of Washington to playing professionally in the NBA and Europe. But then he spoke about how he was called back home.
“When I decided to retire I didn’t really have a plan,” said Brockman, who now teaches middle school physical education and coaches basketball in Granite Falls. “But I knew something that I really needed to do and wanted to do was work with kids in some way, shape or form. I wanted to give back in the way the people who helped me become the player I became gave to me.”
Among the other awards given out Wednesday, record-setting University of Washington running back Myles Gaskin from Lynnwood and mixed martial arts world champion Miranda Granger from Snohomish received The Herald’s Man and Woman of the Year in Sports awards for 2018-19; Arlington High School football and basketball player Anthony Whitis and Jackson High School softball player Iyanla de Jesus were named the KRKO Radio 2018-19 High School Boy and Girl Student Athlete of the Year; and Edmonds Community College men’s soccer player Julio Abad and Everett Community College women’s cross country and track and field runner Elle London were named the Snohomish County Collegiate Male and Female Athlete of the Year.