The Agonis Club was formed in 1923 by a group of thirteen men who regularly spent their lunch time in the rear of the Sporting Goods Department of the Frank P. Hall Hardware Store. The store was located on the east side of High Street, near Long Street.
Ben Ratner was manager of the department. He regularly invited his acquaintances to the
store not only for commercial purposes but to form friendships and discuss a common interest, sports.
2018 Agonis Board
President - Tom Sappington
Vice President - Duane Felger
Treasurer - Mike Hamrick
Secretary - Jeff Norris
Communications - Jim Beck
Fred Abbot - Immediate Past President
John Buchenroth - Past President
Marilyn Moor - Past President
Don Miller - Past President
Those who attended were merely a bunch of “guys” participating in or having a profound interest in sports. The discussions, which were numerous, were usually peaceful and friendly, but at times led to furious difference of opinions and a
variety of judgments as to what actually took place during a given contest or sports activity.
In 1925, during one of these sessions, it was suggested that, rather than having sporadic lunch gatherings, a luncheon club should be formed along the lines of Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary,etc., and would hold regular luncheons similar to those clubs. The idea was appealing to those present and it was decided that the club objective would be the active promotion of athletic activities and interests, and the only membership requirements would include interest and participation in sports, either in the past or present.
A committee was formed to proceed along these five basic principles:
1. The writing and approval of a Constitution and By-Laws.
2. A name for the club.
3. The selection of Charter Members.
4. The election of officers.
5. A club emblem.
The responsibility of writing the Constitution was assigned to Nick Barack. It was decided that the person suggesting the eventual name for the club would be granted one year’s free dues. With that incentive, Nick Barack began extensive research that resulted in the name “Agonis”, a derivative of the Greek word “Agon”, which means contest: “Agonis” means “an association of people for a contest” or “a gathering of athletes”.
The name “Olympic” was also considered, but “Agonis” prevailed. Nick got his first year’s dues paid and the name was copyrighted. In electing Charter members, consideration was given to those who attended the noon sessions regularly and participated in the various discussions. With some of the men, attendance had become a ritual.
The following thirteen were selected as Charter Members:
Clayt Bailey Art Mashund
N.J. “Nick” Barack Edward L. “Eddie” Metzger
Emerson Davis Robert E. “Bob Osborn
Robert E. “Bob” Hooey Jack R. Smith
Mendel A. Keith J. Lee Snoots
E.J. “Pep” McNulty Guy A. Snyder
It was originally planned that the President would serve a single one year term, but Jack Smith was reelected in 1926. Coincidently, the only other person to serve two terms as President was Carl Smith, no relation, in 1933 &1934.
The emblem for the Agonis Club was designed by the D. L. Auld Company of Columbus. In 1927, a tradition of vigorous promotion and campaigning for the office of President and Director began and has continued throughout the years and remains unique in the election of club officers. Campaigns and promotions have included mock newspaper headlines and stories, the utilization of the Ohio State Marching Band, dancing girls, circus acts, the Ohio State Cheerleading Squad, extravagant pre-election parties, offsite promotions, etc.
These antics are not to be misinterpreted with the ideals of the Agonis Club which have been well received by the sports loving people of the community. At one time there were affiliated Agonis Clubs in Dayton and Newark, Ohio, in Patterson, New Jersey, and in New Haven, Connecticut. Although no longer affiliated, the Dayton, Ohio organization continues in operation. The Agonis Club of Columbus, Inc. itself has continued to grow through the acceptance by the public and through outstanding leadership by the elected officers and the equally exceptional efforts by the membership at large.
The membership includes men and women , and the area of service has spread to include all of Greater Central Ohio. Over the years, the Agonis Club has promoted many worthwhile programs and projects, too numerous to mention, but all for the benefit of the athletic and sports loving community, with a special emphasis directed toward the youth.
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