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Hall of Famer: A hall of fame is a list of individuals usually chosen by a group of electors to mark their fame in their field. – Wikipedia

With legs like oversized iron pistons, and a neck and shoulders that resembled a marble bust of an ancient Greek Olympian, Dale Waysman was the best high school fullback I ever saw.

When he hit a defensive line, it either bent or broke. If the tacklers were stout enough to slow him down and allow the linebackers to get involved, it was a major victory for the defense. But if Dale plowed into the open field, heaven help the defensive back that had to attempt a tackle alone.

I read in my hometown newspaper the other day that Dale was to be inducted into the Chamberlain High School Athletic Hall of Fame.  To that I said to myself, “What took so long?”

A 1962 graduate, Dale was ahead of me by three years in high school, so he and many other upper classmen always looked a bit larger than life. Dale probably played at 175 or 180 pounds and all muscle. He and his teammates provided plenty of reason for the folks to turn out for the football games in the fall.

My guess is that Dale was inducted into the HOF this past Friday for reasons in addition to what he did on the football field. Yes, he was an All-State football player.  He also played on two Cubs state tournament basketball teams, was a member of the state 880 relay team, and excelled in baseball, helping his American Legion team compete at two state tournaments.

You could say he was an exceptional athlete, but the measure of a man’s life goes far beyond what he does in athletic competition. A man can be outstanding in sports, but still be a mediocre person. Take a look at some of the professional athletes of today, and you’ll see what I mean.

Not Dale. Set aside the sports accolades and instead examine what he did with his life. He was a lifelong educator in South Dakota, graduating from Northern State College and then picking up advanced degrees that enabled him to become superintendent at Marion, S.D.  He also served his country in the military, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his bravery during the Vietnam War, where he was a platoon leader. And the Air Medal for meritorious achievement.

A great football player? No doubt.  A good and brave man?  You bet.

A person South Dakota can be proud of?  No question.

Aug. 16, 2017