On Saturday, November 18 the Carl Johnson Gym at the Rialto Community Center was packed with people honoring this year’s Rialto Sports Hall of Fame inductees. Established by the City in 2007, the Rialto Sports Hall of Fame has honored fifty prior athletic coaches, teachers, volunteers and sportsmen and women.
In a ceremony that could only be described as a “warm and fuzzy” homecoming for all of the athletes, it was clear that Rialto sets its values on a lot more than pomp and circumstance. In a brief statement at the beginning of the event, Perry Brents, Director of Community Services for Rialto, introduced Councilman Joe Baca, Jr. as the host for the induction ceremony.
The Frisbee Middle School Advanced Band played The Star-Spangled Banner and provided some musical interludes throughout the morning.
As Baca introduced each inductee with a short biography of their stellar accomplishments and accolades, honorees were presented with a plaque and various certificates. He then invited each of the sportsmen to say a few words at the podium, and during that time, true magic of inspiration happened for the crowd.
As the personal inductees’ stories were shared, it was as though you were sitting with long time friends who welcomed you into their lives and wanted to use their success for your betterment. As their stories concluded, Baca would weave all of their lives together, sharing that “We have a lot in common,” and then explained how even little connections had brought the inductees closer together, proving the strong emotional strings that bind them all to hometown Rialto.
The inductees for the 2017 Rialto Sports Hall of Fame included: Bryanne “Bree” Evans-Moruzzi, a 2008 Graduate of Rialto High School (Softball, Volleyball and Academics), David E. Joiner Jr., a 2000 Graduate of Rialto High School (Basketball), Daryl McChristian, 1988 Graduate of Eisenhower High School (Football and Baseball), Michael Smalls, 1988 Graduate of Eisenhower High School (Football), Ronnie Harris, 1983 Graduate of Eisenhower High School (Track and Field), John Bombek, 1971 Graduate of Eisenhower High School (Professional Jockey), David Reeves, 1961 Graduate of Eisenhower High School (Track and Field)
Bringing the ceremony to a close, Baca turned to the crowd packing the gymnasium and proudly said, “This, my friends, is what is coming out of Rialto.”
In the closing statement, Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson shared similar sentiments as Baca, noting how close-knit and interwoven the inductees’ stories were to her as individuals and to all of the community members present.
“In Rialto,” she said, “we talk to each other all day long. We reach out to each other, talking in the lines at the grocery store, at our children’s sports games, at school, at work. We are not pretentious people, we are just hard working, blue collar people, trying to make life better for Rialto, the Inland Empire and the world.”
After Robertson’s statement there was a short presentation by the Rialto Panthers Jr. All American cheerleading squad, and a final musical performance by the Frisbee Middle School Advanced Band.
Baca concluded the ceremony with a passionate note towards the city of Rialto and its people, “This group of inductees today show how our support systems in Rialto teach us to excel, to do well, and then come back to give back, right here in the City of Rialto.”
If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see honored in the Rialto Sports Hall of Fame, please contact the City of Rialto Community Services offices at 909-820-8039.