(June 6, 2012) Jim Valvano once told us what makes a perfect day; in summary, think a little, laugh a little, and cry a little and one has had “a heckava day!” Wednesday, May 30th was a heckava day. I attended the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Induction 2012 Ceremony, held in conjunction with the U.S. Men’s National Team international friendly match against Brazil, at FedEx Field in Landover, MD.
Inductees speaking that day were veteran player Desmond Armstrong, builder Tony DiCicco, and player Tony Meola. Also honored was Grahame L. Jones, retired sports writer from the Los Angeles Times, the recipient of the Colin Jose Media Award for a career of excellence in soccer communications. Also speaking were presenters for each honoree, in order, John Kerr, Jr., Anthony DiCicco, Sal Rosamilia, and 2010 Colin Jose Media Award recipient Paul Gardner of SoccerAmerica.
Valvano’s key points: Laugh, Cry, and Think.
Laugh: Paul Gardner had us laughing about the adventures of he shared with Colin Jose Media Award recipient Grahame Jones and their travels through Spain while reporting the 1982 FIFA World Cup. Grahame drove the highways, but he required Paul to drive the cities. Why? Paul still doesn’t know!
Cry: Tony Meola was emotional in his tribute to former Kansas City owner Lamar Hunt, describing through tears and a choking voice how he was an important influence on his life and a humble and soft-spoken billionaire!
Think: Tony DiCicco described the value of good assistant coaches and the need for open communications. The inspired substitution of Shannon McMillan into the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal match against Germany, which son Anthony described as the key to the eventual triumph of the team, came about because assistant coaches Lauren Gregg and Jay Hoffman literally demanded it be done NOW so Shannon could take the corner kick. The result: a goal off the head of Joy Fawcett and a U.S. comeback win.
Every induction should meet Valvano’s definition. I am pleased this one did.
Desmond and Grahame added another important criterion to Induction: Remembering.
Desmond Armstrong reminded us of an earlier time for soccer and for society. His move as a youngster from urban Washington, D.C. to suburban Wheaton, MD, where his family was the only black one in the neighborhood, opened the world of soccer to him. In this he talked about the importance of family and the seven children that joined him that day.
And Grahame Jones talked about his garage of memorabilia and research materials. These are things the National Soccer Hall of Fame should be interested in obtaining. They document the career of an award-winning journalist and may provide unique and extensive historical materials for future research. Do you keep your ears open for these opportunities at your events?
Jack Huckel, Founder & Principal of J.R. Huckel & Associates, offers election and induction consulting services to Halls of Fame. Jack served the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum as Director of Museum and Archives for 9-1/2 years after more than 10 years as a volunteer and longer still as a soccer historian. More information is available at the firm’s web site. He can be reached at email@example.com or 518/852-3033.
Jack is a member of the International Sports Heritage Association, who’s 2012 Annual Conference will take place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, RI from October 24 to 26. He is also a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Board of Directors’ Executive Committee. He will become president of the NSCAA in January of 2013.