Mary Lou Christman Haines didn’t make it to this year’s Christman Award banquet like she usually does. The 88-year-old said a health issue had her traveling from her home in Washington C.H. to the doctor’s office late on Tuesday, but said she won’t let that setback stop her from wishing the senior students luck or from competing in golf later this year.
Haines is the widow of Clarence A. Christman, a man whose philanthropic efforts in local athleticism continues to be honored each year through the Christman Award. The Christman Award was established by the Record-Herald and is given annually to an outstanding senior student-athlete at either Washington High School or Miami Trace High School.
“Every year it just seems to get bigger and better. And those students—I so much admire them for their incentive. Of course this Christman Award is so very important for them, and they all strive for it, and that’s why I always try to be there,” said Haines. This is the first year Haines said she has been unable to attend the award ceremony.
Her husband Clarence was a student at Washington C.H. High School. Christman’s motivational attitude toward success has become a legacy: Christman started a family, completed his high school degree, went on to college in Columbus, Ohio, and later worked as the auditor and city manager in Washington C.H., according to Haines.
“I think the first thing he would say is be proud of yourself and work hard on anything you strive to do, be that sports, academics, or whatever later in life, but just give 110 percent on everything you do,” said Haines.
Haines said she will certainly miss meeting the senior students at this year’s Christman Award.
“I enjoy meeting all of the young people and it’s amazing to me how much they have really done in their short life,” said Haines. “They have put a lot of hard work in their efforts so far and their endeavors, and I’m sure in the future they’ll put in as much hard work and it will pay off.”
The motivation one finds to succeed in athletic challenges becomes a foundation for the rest of your life, said Haines. “It develops good habits. The habits that they are establishing now in their high school work will continue with them now in their future endeavors.”
Haines graduated from McCarther High School and was a competitive basketball player on the women’s team. She then went on to run.
“I was a runner. Believe it or not I was very fast,” she said. Later, alongside Clarence, she began to play golf. This landed Haines an opportunity to play golf with a men’s league when her son-in-law was stationed in Germany.
“He loves to golf. He was on the golf league, and one of the weeks I was over there [in Germany], one of his mates was ill and couldn’t play. He asked me if I would play. After they found out I was playing, they thought, ‘a mother-in-law playing golf with us air men?’ Then after we were finished playing the rounds they asked me to stay around and take David’s place. I really appreciated that. It let me know that they noticed that I had some capabilities as a golfer,” said Haines.
“I think that for so long women were not allowed to play some of the sports that men were, but they are just as capable and they have that same drive that only men were supposed to have,” said Haines. Haines said she continued to play golf full-time but hasn’t been on the green now as regularly as she was in the past.
“I had fallen on the golf course. Number four is the longest hole out here, and I was in the sand trap beside the green and I thought, I am going to par this or at least get a birdie,” said Haines, but then she said she fell and subsequent injuries have kept her off the green—but not for long.
“I’ll be back out there playing,” said Haines. “And the award, I’m sorry I can’t make it to that this year.”
Those who would like to send a thank you card or a letter to Mary Lou Christman Haines may do so by mail. Envelopes should be addressed to Record-Herald, Mary Lou Christman Haines, c/o Ryan Carter, 757 W. Elm Street, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton.