The Home of Arena Football Fans since 1998

Does AFL need a real HoF? Hall, yeah…

Dan Ryan
Wednesday April 23, 2014

The commissioner of a professional sports league said something the other day that really annoyed me.

“Oh, crap,” says the grizzled reader of this fine site. “What is it now?”

Listen, I’m really trying to take the high road this time. So even though I will include the now obligatory reference to the owners of the Los Angeles team later in this diatribe, I will refrain from using the “awesome yet grossly mismanaged niche sports of ours” line or the comparison of Joe Kauffman to Leonard Hofstadter that you’ve come to expect when/if I ever opine. I’ll barely mention what sport I’m talking about.

Adam Markowitz’ bugaboo is clock management. Mine has become history, especially sports history, and keeping both accurate and interesting records for future generations.

The other night, a professional sports league held its “Hall of Fame” ceremony. Several deserving players who have made significant contributions to the sport were honored and recognized. Then the commissioner of the professional sports league made a comment. It went like this.

“To honor our great contributors, players coaches; we don't need a brick and mortar building because it’s in our heart.”

Okay. Keep In together. It’s not that asinine a statement. Surely, the commissioner also appreciates the legacy of the inductee. Of course, he does, and don’t call me Shirley. I mean ………………

[Insert embedded video of Bikini Atoll Nuclear Bomb Test here]


It’s a curse, that’s all. You can not come off that pretentious when you’re actually trying to be sincere. I kind of feel bad.

Hearts are too small to exhibit the Denver Dynamite’s zubas. Hearts can’t show videos of Barry Wagner’s "Miracle Minute" against the Detroit Drive. Hearts can’t expand to include gift shops. {If they tried to expand some owners’ heart in this business, I’d be concerned because those hearts had ALREADY been expanded two sizes one December morning outside of Whoville.}

One of my non-sports gigs was cemetery and funeral sales. It actually wasn’t that bad —people were dying for the product [BADA-BING]. The owner was a football fan – he almost bought a team, and even though I wish he would have, I’m kinda glad he didn’t.

One day, we were talking and he goes, “Listen, this is not just a corpse depository. How we honor our dead and more importantly, how they lived and what they did with their lives reflects on our generation. Many people need to have a literal place to go pay respect.”

Profound stuff that you probably didn’t expect on a football site, eh?

My college just opened its Hall of Fame when our Athletic Training Center was completed last year. When we expand, I get to break out more artifacts. My baseball team plays at the ballpark Jackie Robinson played his first spring training game. There’s a nice outdoor museum honoring him. The picnic area down right field used to be the Jim Crow section. There’s an informative plaque there as well.

Many of the colleges my basketball team has played set aside space in the basketball arena or football office for a Hall of Fame. I enjoyed spending time in each one. My conference has a “travelling” exhibit that’s currently residing in at the arena where the annual basketball tournament is held. Many Civic Centers and public arenas, even those who are home to “ankle biter” teams, have a city or county Hall of Fame in one of the lobbies.

It’s not just sports.

Onboard the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, there’s a small room in the heart of the ship near the hangar deck. It’s the size of a dorm room, but it’s a nice area that honors the former President and the namesake of the ship. All the Nimitz class carriers have a similar room, which is even as impressive to me as the fact that a floating airfield that can make 35 knots has a Starbucks as well.

Ten miles away from Cape Kennedy, there’s an Astronaut Hall of Fame, which has partnered with a National Police Hall of Fame. That Astronaut Hall of Fame also partnered with the Kennedy Space Center on many projects, and I’m mentioning that because I went to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit recently Sunday, and IT… WAS… AWESOME… and it pays tribute to the astronauts and support people who made getting that ship into space possible.

In Cleveland, there is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Two of its recent inductees are football team owners. First of all: Congratulations Gene and Paul, and Second: I see your point on all the politics. Building-wise, there’s something about seeing Pete Townsend’s guitar or watching Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne collaborating on “Hungry Heart” in the induction concert replay room you can’t get on YouTube. Noticed I’ve used three references to hearts? Pulling out all the stops here.

Listen, I'm not expecting a version of Canton, Cooperstown, Springfield, Mass., or Toronto [Hockey Hall of Fame] overnight. Loved the Hockey HoF by the way. When I was there, they had this interactive opportunity where you were goalie and you had to stop Gretzky AND Lemieux on a breakaway. Took 15 Canadian dollars ($4.20 US) worth of tokens, but damn it, I denied the Great One twice with glove saves. That one's for you, Capper.

But a dinner and fond remembrances aren’t enough. You could start with a nice online Hall of Fame. The current one sucks to high heaven -- err -- could use some work. Tim Marcum deserves much more than one paragraph in a barely readable font.

The accomplishments of those who excelled in this game, or any endeavor worthy of remembrance, deserve a physical place of honor. I know this ramble has been longer than the usual Markowitz opine, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the upcoming VooDoo-Predator matchup, but I feel strongly about it.

You can say this came from the heart.

Dan Ryan has been involved with all forms of arena football since 1988, including writing for ArenaFan when Joe Kauffman and Tim Capper aren’t killing his columns because they don’t get his jokes or perspective. His day job is at Bethune-Cookman University, which has produced both an NFL Hall of Famer (Larry Little) and an Arena Football Hall of Famer (Stevie Thomas) and his hobby is tracking how many f-bombs Adam Markowitz drops in the chat room on game nights.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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