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Grandpa and the Sports Hall of Fame


By Paul J. Pickett

Can your grandpa slam dunk?

Yeah, mine can’t either. He never did make it to the NBA, NFL or MLB. As a matter of fact, he’s never even thrown for a touchdown, hit a homerun or coached a championship team either. But he still made it to a sports hall of fame. Do you know why?

Well, after being a student journalist and basketball statistician during his time at Margaretta High School in Castalia, Ohio, “Pops” (as I call him) has come to be known as the unofficial photographer for Margaretta Athletics.

For over 65 years he’s been going to the games and snapping photos of players and giving them his best shots, capturing thousands of memories and giving them freely to the ones who made them.

Whenever I go back home to attend a game with him, it’s not unusual to have an athlete and their parents thank Pops for the photos he’s given to their family; whenever they look at the fridge or the photo album, they think of him.

Couple that with the fact his Pickett Cherry Farm has provided summer employment to local teenagers–many of them student athletes–for almost as long as he’s been taking photos and it’s no wonder that many people in the community feel like they know him.

So when our family heard that he was being inducted into the Margaretta Sports Hall of Fame, we came from as far west as San Francisco and as far east as Washington, D.C. and we squeezed into that packed gymnasium in Castalia. We joined in with the polite applause of the crowd, in acknowledgment of the impressive accolades of the other three inductees. Lots of points scored, and many coaching victories were recalled. Then my grandpa’s name was called, “Charles Pickett,” and the crowd stood to their feet with a rapturous applause. The community of fans and families didn’t stop for a good 60 seconds! Imagine that! The man who never suited up for a game, but here he is bringing the crowd to their feet. Why? Because the more you give, the more you get. It’s as simple as that. And for my Pops, his work in that community has made the difference for a mighty long time.

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  1. Paul, aka the Rick Ruben of Quicken Loans,
    Great article about a great man.
    Being one of the three grandsons of Pops, I was touched by your posting.
    Chuck indeed is a man who gives because goodness dwells within him. Paul, you know as well as I know that it’s a hard thing to do to live up to an example such as Chuck; an enormously influential man in our family. But we are lucky to have such an influence. Role models from an era that survived the depression and multiple wars are valuable,as is a piece like yours–that preserves these individuals and inspires us with their work. Congrats Chuck, and thank you for paving the road for us to follow.

    Posted by: Joe Hafera | March 28, 2007
  2. Amen, Joe.
    Yeah, I don’t have the space necesary to elaborate how he took over a failing farm during the first few years of the depression and turned it into a success…and on a personal level, all the other stories of how he would shoot baskets with us (after a long work day) until it was so dark we couldn’t see the hoop!
    If I can earn even half the level of respect that our grandfather has in his community, I’ll be happy.

    Posted by: Paul | March 29, 2007
  3. Didn’t his wife teach English at the high school?

    Posted by: Leo Schleicher | May 19, 2007
  4. Yes – She did teach English at the high school…are you from there?

    Posted by: Paul | May 22, 2007

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018