Induction as Reunion

(May 9, 2012) This past weekend I had the good fortune to have an impromptu reunion with four high school classmates. We had shared almost all our classes during our high school careers and, because we were from a relatively small suburban town, had known each other for many years. The two hours of our morning brunch flew by quickly and we all departed with the feeling that we will meet again whenever our far-flung travels bring us together. Thank you to my friend Tony for making the arrangements for this fun morning.

It brought back to me one of the key ingredients that, in the past, was a planned part of the National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction Weekend: the Liars’ Retreat. This event was a Hall of Famers and family-only reception hosted at the home of a local Board member, who, coincidentally, was also a Hall of Fame player. For many of our returning Hall of Famers it was a highlight – a chance to relax and remember the past with friends and contemporaries and to tell stories to the newer generation, who would then return the favor. The event served to bond the Hall of Famers in a way no other part of our schedule could do. It was Induction-as-Reunion and certainly helped the National Soccer Hall of Fame encourage its previous inductees to return for the event. It also served to cement relationships among Hall of Famers and between the Hall of Fame and its honorees.

I remember the story of one of the new inductees who, coming off a busy travel week, had spent most of the day getting to Oneonta from home in the Southeast. The plan was to make a quick stop at the Liars’ Retreat on the way to the hotel and a well-deserved rest. Three hours later the departure for the hotel finally occurred, accompanied with big smiles and many fond memories.

I encourage you to explore such a party if you do not already do so. It certainly was a highlight for us.

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 jack@jrhuckel.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.

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