On Saturday, Feb. 2, Curley Culp and his wife Collette nervously sat in their car at the airport awaiting a phone call that would come if Curley was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
At that same moment, a nationally televised NFL Network special focused on Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry as he opened the envelope containing the names of the Class of 2013.
“Larry Allen … Cris Carter ….,” announced Perry in a slow cadence to add to the drama. He continued reading off the names of the seven men elected to the Hall. And in a moment that seemed to last minutes the words “…Curley Culp” rolled off Perry’s tongue.
Curley’s phone would soon ring and he and Collette were off to New Orleans. The newly-elected class participated in the pre-game coin toss at Super Bowl XLVII the next day.
Meanwhile, a six-year-old boy by the name of Evan York sat in his Waterloo, Ontario, Canada home glued to the broadcast, surrounded by his father and mother, B.J. and Kristi, and two-year-old brother Jordan. Evan is obsessed with the NFL and football history and had studied Culp’s bio. So, when Perry announced Curley’s name, Evan literally started jumping and yelling for joy.
“Don’t you wish the real Curley Culp could know that there is a six-year-old who is this excited about him getting in?” asked B.J.
A month later, in a bizarre twist of fate, B.J.’s wish became a reality.
The York family, convinced by Evan, returned to the Hall of Fame on March 12 for a visit just a year after having first toured the museum. It just so happened that the Culps were at the Hall of Fame that day for a meeting to prepare for Curley’s enshrinement.
It was a fairly quiet day and Evan spent nearly two hours of his spring break in the Hall of Fame Gallery soaking up all of the history represented through the bronze busts and interactive kiosks.
Then, Tammy Owens, the Hall of Fame’s executive assistant led Curley and Collette into the gallery. She approached Evan to let the young boy know that an actual Hall of Famer was visiting.
Much to the amazement of Curley, Collette, and Tammy, the kindergarten student from Waterloo’s Northlake Woods Public School seemed stunned and then excitedly exclaimed, “Curley Culp!!”
Flabbergasted that the youngster recognized Culp, Collette and Tammy stood and watched as Curley and Evan engaged in a conversation. When Curley flashed his ring at Evan, the youngster promptly told the football legend that it was from Super Bowl IV and that the Chiefs had beat the Vikings 23-7.
Evan continued to name some of Curley’s teammates in Kansas City and shared that he knew Curley played for the Houston Oilers before finishing his career with the Detroit Lions.
The two chatted like long-lost friends.
Evan will never forget this chance meeting that took place at the Hall of Fame on that March day.
Neither will Curley.
More unforgettable moments are certain to happen in a couple weeks when the York family attends the 2013 Enshrinement Festival as part of the Curley Culp invited family and friends contingent.
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