An Unexpected Visit With Family

On Saturday, my wife and daughter drove to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to attend a family event, which I hoped to make, but I had work that kept me home. At least that’s what I thought. Then I received news that my grandmother passed away.

By Sunday morning I was on the road for an 11-hour trek to Cleveland, Ohio for a Monday funeral. Despite the unexpected and somber circumstances, it was nice to reconnect with several members of family. I hope my wife and I can make our way to Ohio soon for a future visit to include time with those family members I didn’t get to see.

As I reviewed my route online, I realized I would be going through Canton, which got me thinking about the possibility of seeing the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When I saw its unmistakable football-shaped roof whiz by my window on I-77, it occurred to me that if I had time on my way home that this was another family I needed to reconnect with. A family that had not only added many new members, but had also made additions and renovations to its house since I was last there. A family I hadn’t seen in at least 35 years as a six- or seven-year-old who couldn’t remember much or really appreciate the time spent.

I don’t think I’m wrong to say that for most of you there’s a sense of a familial connection to many of the players in Hall of Fame. It might not be a connection by blood, but the legends and heroes of our youth has created a deep and everlasting bond. Realizing that this was a golden opportunity, I made it a priority on the way home.

With the current labor strife I think we all need a reminder why we love football. And within the confines of this building are the players, coaches, owners, and commissioners who made this game great. If I could I’d take the owners and players on a tour to remind them that it was a collective effort that made this game great, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of money and I arrived equipped with only a cellphone camera. However, I think I did the exhibit enough justice to share them with you (105 photos with captions).  If you value the game like me then this is your family, too, and many of you might never get a chance to pay a visit. I hope you get a chance to come, but if not I hope my “photo tour” will give you a better idea of what its like.

As you can imagine, it is well worth the visit. The time flew faster than Darrell Green chasing down Eric Dickerson (which you can also see on video here). In fact, I could have stayed another four hours if not if I didn’t need to return to Athens for work the next day. Hell, I could have stayed another four hours in the post-exhibit area that’s filled with Madden games, a football throwing cage, and guess-the-play, bar games. Hopefully I’ll be back again but if I’m not, this was a visit I’ll actually remember and with players I treasured watching.

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