It goes with the territory that nominations for induction into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame can be controversial.
Obviously, someone who goes to the effort of filling out a nomination, seeking letters of support and conceivably being interviewed by Hall of Fame selection committee members is doing so with passion and a purpose, so it’s little wonder that disappointment hits hard if the nomination isn’t successful.
It’s even understandable that somebody would be vocal if the selection committee didn’t approve someone a nominator believes is a worthy candidate, which is exactly what Jim Deeks did in Fairways Golf recently, which is his right.
To put it bluntly, however, he went over the top in a column entitled The Committee of Shame, with a line explaining that he was about to launch “a scathing indictment of the Selection Committee of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.”
I’m not about to argue why or why not former Royal Canadian Golf Association executive director Geordie Hilton is a worthy candidate for the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame because Hilton did a lot for Canadian golf and I wouldn’t throw a shadow on his contributions, or those of anyone dedicated to the game,
For that reason alone, I don’t blame the selection committee for remaining silent on the subject, despite the rant that Deeks went on. The fact is that they could be replying to disappointed nominators every year, even those who don’t have public forums in which to blow a gasket.
I have no clue why the selection committee didn’t approve Hilton, but to get involved in the public feud that Deeks craves would only be a disservice to Hilton and the legacy he did leave.
To write a column on why he believes Hilton should be in the hall is one thing, but to call into question the character and dedication of the committee is going way over the line, especially suggesting that Hilton didn’t get the nod because he died of AIDS in 1990.
Deeks goes on to say that the selection committee shrouds itself in a “cloak of secrecy.”
I’ve made several nominations to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and gone through several interviews with members of the committee and none of them were wearing ninja masks.
I’ve known exactly who I was speaking with and know that many of them are still on the committee, a group of volunteers which works independently of Golf Canada, which funds the Hall of Fame.
I can’t imagine any of them allowing a man’s personal life or what caused him to die at such a young age to get in the way of such an important decision. If you have a specific reason for saying such a thing, then let’s hear it, other than the fact that you’re ticked off.
In italics are Deeks’ questions from his column to the committee followed immediately by a thought.
Did at least three of you vote against Geordie Hilton because you’re too young to have known who he was, and too lazy to do your homework?
Too young? There are people on that committee who have been around as long as you have and either knew Hilton personally or knew of him. Between their knowledge and the nomination form you supplied, does laziness even enter into it?
Did at least three of you vote against Geordie because you knew who he was, but perhaps didn’t like him personally, or perhaps, were even jealous of his success?
So, now it’s personal? What would make you jump to that conclusion that Hilton was disliked or people were jealous of him? Most remember Hilton as a class act. Besides, didn’t you suggest in the previous question that some were too young to have known him, so how could they have disliked him or been jealous of him?
Did at least three of you vote against him because he died of AIDS?
As you said in your own column, using a Justin Trudeau line, “It’s 2015.”
What possible reason motivated you to keep Geordie Hilton out of the Hall of Fame, and to prevent him from being appreciated for what he achieved?
Why is Hilton any different than other nominations that are turned down?
Who benefits by your refusal to award Geordie the honour of being inducted?
It’s your column. We need an answer, not a question.
Do you believe you have enhanced the honour and integrity of the Hall of Fame by denying induction to someone who died of AIDS?
This question makes it obvious that you’ve concluded that his cause of death was the reason for not getting into the hall with no indication of that ever being the case. Or are you saying he should go in because he had AIDS?
If you voted against Geordie’s induction, are you willing to publicly identify yourself, and state your reason for doing so or will you continue to hide behind the cloak of secrecy that protects you from the possibility of public humiliation?
As stated above, I can’t imagine that anybody on the committee would respond to this, for no other reason than there is no humiliation, just a disagreement.
Is there not one among the rest of you who may have voted positively in this matter, who feels sufficiently embarrassed or outraged by your colleagues’ refusal to grant induction to Geordie, that you would have the courage to resign your membership on the Selection Committee?
If so, that would not only apply to this nomination, but many others that they may vote for, with the majority voting against. Geordie Hilton is not the only person who has not gotten into the hall of fame. As of this moment, I’ve heard of no resignations.
Is there any reason why the public should have any respect for your Committee, in view of this egregious oversight and insult?
You said yourself that anybody who has been inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame deserves to be there. These people you’re attacking on a volunteer committee played roles in getting them into the hall, so because you didn’t get your way, they should lose respect?
The reason that I don’t expect them to answer these charges is that they do believe Hilton’s efforts amount to a hill of beans to use your words and they don’t want to spit on his grave, another of your phrases.
What I do know is that I’ve been through the entire process of nominating people to the Hall of Fame and I’ve been interviewed several times, so I know the belief that committee members have in what they’re doing and that something such as AIDS in this day and age isn’t going to get in their way.
That’s just a cheap shot coming out of a tantrum.
Deeks says himself that Hilton felt his personal life was his business, but now it’s been dragged out in a public forum. His contributions to golf are what matters and good form on Deeks for nominating him.
His arguments for Hilton’s induction are admirable, but I’ve noticed a couple of things. From past experience with hall of fame nominations, anybody who goes into the national hall has usually been inducted into a provincial hall.
The other question I have is why Deeks waited over 20 years to submit a nomination?
I was willing to listen to his argument in favour of Hilton’s induction, but when he started beating his chest about a “scathing indictment,” he started to lose me as it got personal before his concluding sentence of shame, shame, shame on you.
You may want to apply that line to yourself, Mr. Deeks.