I'll bet you've heard of baseball fans who take summer road trips to try and catch a game in as many different ballparks as they can. Some set a long-term goal of visiting every park during their lifetime. This can be a bit of a challenge, especially when old parks are torn down and new ones are built. Other sports fans may follow the same plan for taking in a game at professional basketball arenas and football stadiums.
The just-completed voting for inductees into football's Hall of Fame got me thinking that visiting some of these halls and museums might not be a bad idea for another sort of road trip.
Being voted into a sport's Hall of Fame has long been the ultimate and often final acknowledgement of a player's (coach's, owner's, or contributor's) achievements in their sport. There are Halls of Fame at all levels, from high school to college, to professional sports.
Almost every sport has some kind of Hall of Fame and/or museum to honor their sport's history, traditions, and participants. If you are planning a trip this year, perhaps visiting one of these Halls might make it on your itinerary. Here are just some of the national Halls of Fame. Be sure to check out their websites for all the details you'll need about directions, admission costs, and all the interactive and extra programs they offer. There is so much more to see than just the pictures of the inductees.
Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Opened in September, 1963, it is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Just head down I-77 and follow the signs.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. Being a huge baseball fan, I've been twice and enjoyed every minute of it. Cooperstown itself is a great place to visit, too.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Named in honor of James Naismith, a physical education instructor who introduced the game of basketball to his class at Springfield College in 1891.
International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI. Housed in the historic Newport Casino, the grounds include classic grass courts.
Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Their current promotion is "Bring the Cup to Your Community", giving some lucky people/groups the chance to bring the coveted Stanley Cup to their hometown or special event.
World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL. Besides the exhibits, there is an 18-hole putting course and a Challenge Hole.
International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington, TX (formerly in St. Louis). Did you know that ten-pin bowling is one of the largest participatory sports in the world, with over 95 million active players?
NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. This hall is home to over 50 interactive experiences, including tire-changing (pit row style), a broadcast booth, and race simulators.
National Soccer Hall of Fame currently resides online. The facility itself closed in 2010 and the displays and memorabilia are in storage. But they continue to hold yearly induction ceremonies in various locations in the U.S.
Closer to home, but again without a "physical" home is the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. Since its establishment in 1976, the hall has inducted over 475 Greater Clevelanders who were honored for bringing recognition to this area through their notable sports and accomplishments. Each honoree receives a plaque, with duplicates currently hanging in the Lakeside entrance lobby of the Cleveland Public Auditorium. Efforts continue to find a new home for the Hall of Fame. The class of 2012 included Tim Mack, Jim Tressel, and Vonda Ward. Their website includes a list of all inductees.
Check out all the websites for these Halls of Fame, chart your course, and enjoy a great trip!
Featured Book: Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book: Where Greatness Lives. edited by Joe Horrigan and John Thorn. (2012 - 796.33264 P962) This 50th Anniversary edition features essays by football writers, broadcasters, and celebrated players. Every living Hall of Famer contributes a commentary on some aspect of the game and its history: each deceased member is represented in a sidebar.
Daytona 500 - February 24
PGA Tour - weekly tournaments, finishing up the west coast swing and then heading to Florida.