One of Waxahachie’s more well-known residents, Dale Hansen, was honored this past Wednesday night by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) in Washington, DC. Noted for an array of achievements over the years, not the least of which are his compelling, thought provoking “Unplugged” commentaries, Hansen has served as the face of WFAA sports for a little more than three decades. While there’s a lot to be said about Hansen, much of which has been, that sort of tenure alone says plenty.
For the record, I don’t know Dale Hansen personally. Other than in the press box at Lumpkins and at a few banquets where heartfelt handshakes and hellos were shared, my relationship with Hansen was built and has grown through the television. Having listened to nearly every “Unplugged” piece Hansen has expressed in recent years, I’ve come to both love and hate what I’ve heard. In his acceptance speech Wednesday night, Hansen revealed a lot about who he is and what I’ve come to love about him. On the other hand, I could write a series of columns bloviating about the array of issues upon which Hansen and I disagree, but that’s not important to me today. What I heard Wednesday night is.
Passion is an often overused, misused, overplayed word. Those who have the genuine kind rarely, if ever, tell you about it. They don’t need to, they live it. You feel it, you know it, you’re moved by it. The world is also full of people who feign passion usually either because they don’t have any and don’t want you to know it or because they’re trying to accomplish something they’d rather you not know about. We see it in politics every day. Sometimes referred to as conformists, bullies and the like, these folks want others to believe they stand for something when, in fact, they seek favor … and votes.
Wednesday night, the gregarious sports anchor went unplugged in a way that makes the obvious more obvious. While I tend to disagree with Hansen’s belief that fake news isn’t permeating the country, I do agree that America will cease to matter much if the media industry at large isn’t committed to telling the truth. In a voice rattled with raw emotion, Hansen spoke of the media’s responsibility to the American people and that nothing is as important as being factual, reliable and bold.
Above all, Hansen left little doubt as to how real his convictions are and that his success is due to the unconditional love and support he’s received from those closest to him. In a poignant way, Hansen spoke not only of his deep, humble understanding of the commitment his wife has shown him through the years, he made sure those listening knew that she, Chris, is the reason for his success.
Hansen’s message is one America needs to hear more often … especially men in this country. Humility and love, gratitude and respect, rightful recognition and honor are to be reserved for those in our lives who never waver, never give up and who stand beside us through every scary storm and every dark valley. In Hansen’s life, that person is his wife. By God’s grace, I can say that about mine, too. Whether it’s a wife, husband, parent, sibling, friend, pastor, teammate or co-worker, we should never forget that success comes not by just the work we do but because of those who believe in us along the way.
Dale Hansen went unplugged Wednesday night and I am glad he did. It’s a message I won’t soon forget.