For Pete's Sake

By:

Pete Fierle, Manager - Digital Media/Communications
Pete's familiarity with the game's history is a result of spending two decades surrounded by the world's largest collection of pro football information. His many duties include overseeing the Hall's website as well as the day-to-day operation of the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center.

Throw the flag on this grammatical mistake


Mar 08, 2012

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

Today’s blog is about preserving the game’s great moments with a sprinkle of a grammar lesson. Throughout the year on a fairly regular basis we receive new mementos, not momentos, to add to our collection, the world’s largest such assortment of pro football memorabilia.

Last week we were pleased to receive the complete uniform worn by Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens during the 2011 season. Suggs won the AP’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award after a spectacular season.

We posted a story on our website (here it is) and also pushed it out through our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and forwarded to the Ravens to use. The story was picked up by various media outlets, one in particular caught my eye.

In honor of my late mother I carry on her tradition of paying astute attention to grammar. So, much to the dismay of my teenagers, their friends, and even a few co-workers, I’m never hesitant to correct one’s misuse of our language.

I call it a bit of a “sickness” but generally I find myself proofreading rather than just reading when I am scanning any item with the written word. That stated a story that reported on the Suggs donation popped out at me right away. In the article, the reporter used a quote from our curator Jason Aikens. First of all, I always thought a quote is a quote and must be used as is without changing it. But, this particular writer took it upon himself (or maybe it was his editor) to correct what he thought was a typo. The word, “mementos” was changed to “momentos.”

Well, the quick grammar lesson is that the correct and preferred spelling is how we had it, “mementos.” The purpose of this blog is to emphasize why the word is spelled that way. After all, we have a spectacular gallery that utilizes the word. Our Moments, Memories, & Mementos Gallery features artifacts from our Hall of Fame members.

Well, now to the point of this week’s blog. If you love football, then you definitely need to plan a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here’s a quick link to help you plan that trip. It is our mission to help preserve the history of this great game. We do so by freezing moments in time with mementos. Obviously, the spelling of the word suggests that these physical objects are more about the memory one has of the moment than the moment itself.

me·men·to

  [muh-men-toh]  
noun, plural -tos, -toes.
1. an object or item that serves to remind one of a person,past event, etc.; keepsake; souvenir.

It is misused as “momento” frequently enough that it’s almost become accepted as an alternative spelling. But, not by me; I’m throwing the penalty flag on this one!

One of the great thrills for us here in Canton is when we see visitors have an emotional experience when they tour our museum. There’s little doubt that an item on display is intricately connected to a great player, game, and/or play in NFL history that becomes most meaningful only after it sparks a fan’s memory of that moment.

So, if you haven’t been to the Hall of Fame lately, then now is a great time to plan your visit. Keep in mind, even if you’ve been to the Hall of Fame before, we’re always adding to our exhibits like when we place Terrell Suggs mementos to a display in the next few days.