One of my faults, I suppose, is that I hold on to things. I don't let go. When I think I'm right about an issue, it's difficult for me to relent.
It's something I'm going to work on after today's column, the last one I'll write about Robert Elmore's strange absence from the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame.
Former women's basketball player Angela Buckner, who averaged 12.9 points and 12.1 rebounds during her career from 2000-04, will be the only inductee tonight during ceremonies at halftime of the Shockers' game with Indiana State at Koch Arena.
Congratulations to Buckner, a worthy Hall of Famer.
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But my obsession with Elmore's exclusion outweighs the joy I feel for any inductee. It's probably not healthy, but the longer the committee that chooses Hall of Famers snubs Elmore, the more damage is done to the Hall of Fame itself.
How can a basketball player who averaged 14.1 points and 12.4 rebounds during his career, who led a team to the NCAA Tournament, who was an All-Missouri Valley Conference performer three times — how can that individual not be in the Shocker Hall of Fame?
It's about a perceived lack of character. It's because Elmore died from a heroin overdose in Italy in 1977, shortly after his WSU playing career ended.
Elmore, we have come to learn, had his demons. And he's still paying for them, nearly 33 years after his death.
Elmore grew up poor in Queens, N.Y. He was around drugs. But he made it out of the slums and made himself into an outstanding college basketball player after not even playing the sport in high school.
Interpreted differently, Elmore's story is one of hope and accomplishment, not despair. Of course, it's a tragedy that he died in such a manner. But is it for the committee that selects Shocker Sports Hall of Famers to judge?
Does Elmore's inclusion into the HOF cheapen the institution? No. To the contrary, it gives it a credibility it lacks because he is not one of those chosen.
I have gone through a grieving process because of Elmore's plight. He was an extremely popular Shocker player during his career. Teammates I have spoken to through the years describe him as a gentle giant, a huge man with a soft demeanor.
Elmore made mistakes. He was arrested for burglary in 1976 after he and a WSU football player, Rocky Garza, smashed out a window in a liquor store and stole a case of beer.
But isn't it time for Wichita State to free Elmore from his mistakes?
"Nothing he did should be a factor because it didn't have anything to do with his performance,'' said a former Shocker basketball player.
Dave Stallworth, that's who. The greatest Shocker of them all, in my books. I was curious to know what Stallworth thought about Elmore's exclusion from the Shocker Hall of Fame and he said just what I expected him to say.
Stallworth, who turned 68 last month, was a young college athlete once, too.
"And I did some things I'm not proud of,'' he said. "No question about it. But it's a part of life. None of these guys can sit there and tell you that they haven't done some things they're ashamed of. Nobody. I mean nobody.''
Elmore is the only career Top 10 WSU rebounder not in the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame. He is second on WSU's career blocks shots list with 132. He's a top 25 career scorer.
His accomplishments are impeccable.
"I saw him play here,'' Stallworth said. "Lookie here, I thought he was probably the best center the Shockers ever had.''
Stallworth played with former WSU centers Gene Wiley and Nate Bowman, both of whom reached the NBA. When he calls Elmore the best center in Shocker history, his words have clout.
With everyone, apparently, except those who pick the Shocker Sports Hall of Famers but refuse to pick Elmore.
I have written three columns now expressing my views on this matter. It is obviously something I feel strongly about.
But now is the time to let it go. I have written and said all I can say.
Just one more thing: Robert Elmore belongs in the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame. There's no doubt about it.