Editor:

My sincere appreciation and thanks to the Payson High School Athletics Hall of Fame members for recognizing me Saturday evening as a member of the 2019 HOF class.

I am truly honored to be included in the hall along with the finest coaches, teachers and athletes in the history of Payson High School athletics including my fellow classmates Mark Hochstetler, Darren Reid, Maddie Nossek, Ty Chilson and the 1982 state champion women’s track team.

I am extremely fortunate in that for more than two decades I was privileged to teach, coach and write about, as the Roundup’s sports reporter, the young student-athletes.

As a football and basketball coach, I was allowed to work alongside some of the most honorable, hardworking, dedicated coaches in the profession. My thanks and respect goes out to them.

Being the journalist who chronicled the athletes, I know firsthand they dreamed big, set goals and worked incredibly hard to represent well their family, school and community.

I am also extremely grateful to those Payson Roundup editors who gave me the freedom to cover sports and athletics as I deemed proper without interference. I would also like to thank my former student-athletes and fellow coaches from my years in the Show Low School District who showed up in support.

In introducing me at the HOF ceremony, legendary coach Dennis Pirch spoke on the importance of athletics in small towns, like Payson, that received a hearty round of applause from the audience.

It was a message of encouragement asking Payson teachers, administrators, parents and townspeople to continue to stress the cultural importance of sports in order to help students reach their highest potential, not just on the playing field and in the classroom, but as confident, compassionate, honorable citizens.

It was a great message, all should heed.

Max Foster

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