Bracing myself for the future


A new "For Pete's Sake" blog appears each Thursday.

Sometimes you have to step out of the forest to see the trees. Or, as I did last week, a quick trip out of the country did the trick.

I was reminded, during a jaunt north to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 19-month-old Resource Center in Toronto, just how important our roles are as institutions that preserve history. Sport has long been an integral part of culture. So, here I was taking a day away from football to go see how our counterparts in hockey preserve their game. As I was driving along, I was listening to the radio and a story came on that offered yet another reminder of sports significant role. There was story about a family devastated by the violence in Libya. A brief line in the piece talked about how, amidst all the strife, a group of young boys started a sandlot soccer game.

It hit me again. Yes, sports are indeed an important part of life!

It validates all we do at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and how Phil Pritchard and his staff in Toronto preserve the game of hockey. (If you’re hockey fan, you probably know Phil as the “Stanley Cup guy.” His fame earned him the starring role in a couple of commercials).

As an avid and lifetime fan of hockey, I was excited to see what was behind the closed doors of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s archives. I was like a kid in a candy story when Phil showed me the knee brace of Buffalo Sabres great, Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault.

I’m guessing I had the same reaction when I saw Joe Namath’s knee brace for the first time after starting my job here many, many years ago. But, I suppose it was my “trip out of the forest” that made me reflect on it in such a manner.

Now, I know what it’s it like for visitors who we give some behind-the-scenes access in Canton. On a few occasions during my visit in Toronto, I had to remind myself that I was there to observe how they do things. This August, we break ground on our new Preservation & Research Center as part of our Future 50 Project. And, 15 months from now, we’ll be moving into the state-of-the-art facility so we can take even better care of professional football’s historic documents. It will also allow us to continue to use those documents to further educate the public on the values and importance of our subject matter.

Here’s what our new Archives will look like a year from this summer.

Well, it’s back to the forest for me.

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