Posts Tagged ‘Springfield’

The Hall of Fame Conundrum: Represent the Sport or Only Its Professional Manifestation

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

(February 22, 2010) That’s the conundrum facing the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Or, at least that’s what a blizzard of columnists and commentators think they should be evaluating. They believe that the failure to include Indiana Pacer guard Reggie Miller among the finalists on the 2011 Hall of Fame Ballot indicate there is a need for the NBA to form its own Hall of Fame.

Here’s a sampling of stories:

Reggie Miller: Not a Hall of Fame Finalist
Dear Hall of Fame Voters: Here’s What You Can Do With Your First Ballot Exclusion
The Basketball Hall of Fame turns its back on Reggie Miller

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recognizes teams, players, coaches, administrators, and owners from all strata of the game; international, women’s, college, and more in addition to the NBA. Does that distract from honoring the greats of the professional game? Last year’s induction class included four NBA stars, a high school coach, an NBA owner, a women’s pro player, and others. Is the effort for inclusivity bad? Or good?

That’s something each Hall of Fame must decide. Think about the mission you have set forth for the organization. Does it invite a smaller or larger pool from the population? Is that a plus or a minus? For the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the inclusion of NBA stars is, perhaps, critical to the business proposition. Should an NBA Hall of Fame be formed, it would undoubtedly take away income and memorabilia resources from the Springfield shrine.  For the Halls of Fame that maintain a museum and associated facilities, such as research libraries and photo archives, business is an important element of survival. Maintaining the historical museum requires significant staffing and resources, both contributed and business income, including the gift shop operation. An NBA Hall of Fame, with its own museum, would cut into virtually every form of resources available.

So the follow-on questions arise: Should the Naismith change how it elects? Should your organization make changes when faced with similar issues? Worth a discussion at the least!

Happy Holidays! And Hall of Fame Interviews

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

(December 23, 2010) A short column as we lead into the holiday season! May yours be filled with family and joy!

I am returning home from two Hall of Fame interviews for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. What a tremendous privilege it is to participate in documenting the evolving history of this organization. For the first time the organization budgeted for video interviews in conjunction with the production company Williams Gerard, and we hope the new Hall of Fame presentations will be more engaging than any that have been given in the past. Only time will tell if that is to be true, but the opportunity is there.

How do you document the Hall of Famers you select? And how do you incorporate the documentation and the acceptance? These are ways to provide more engaging presentations if done well. What’s your plan?

The Big Day

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

(December 1, 2010) Whatever the organization’s goals, the big day at Halls of Fame for everyone is Induction Day. Everything done with elections, with committees, with the press, and the general public all points toward the moment when those chosen to be honored are put on the public stage and given their moment in Hall of Fame history. Whether the Hall of Fame is a local and relatively unknown or national and universally recognized, Induction Day is the day when everything comes together and the Hall of Fame goes on display.

Preparing for Induction Day is a time-consuming and detailed-orientated series of tasks that is critical to creating a program that celebrates the honorees and the history they represent. Here’s a short list of some of the tasks that I suggest must be completed to be assured that, at the end of Induction Day, one goes home with a smile:

  1. Do as much as possible in advance. Leaving arrangements to the last minute is sure to create tension, headaches, and, undoubtedly, a slip-up or two.
  2. Complete multiple walk-throughs and rehearsals with as many of the principals as possible. One of my nightmare days was a sudden program change in the middle of a big dinner that came about because we could never get our leadership to do a walk-through. In the middle of the event the order changed at his insistence and the program became a scramble for the next two hours with several staffers adjusting on the fly and two planned elements getting short-shift to accommodate the change.
  3. Equipment checks are incredibly important and do not do just one. Audio and video equipment need to be run, the music and speeches recreated as best as possible. One can’t do this enough!
  4. Check back with your vendors and caterers, from having the correct date and time down to the finest detail.
  5. As one reviews and plans, changes may occur. While few will be major, it is important that your contacts with vendors, caterers, volunteers, and staff have been updated to reflect these changes?
  6. Lastly, review the anticipated attendance. Are the arrangements appropriate to the number of attendees?
  7. And remember to anticipate living the duck analogy – the surface may be calm to the outsider, but you are furiously paddling under the surface!

Make Induction Day a signature day for your honorees by planning in advance and constantly reviewing and checking your plans. Finish the day with a smile on your face and on the faces of all who attended.

More Controversy at Halls of Fame

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

(November 23, 2010) Often those who are honored at Halls of Fame are revered by many, but considered undeserving by some. Is unanimity needed for Hall of Fame honor? Would a Hall of Fame be better served by honoring those whose support is universal? Or is the controversy associated with the honor of value to a Hall of Fame?

No national Hall of Fame that uses a large voter pool as part of its election process has ever, at least as far as I can find, elected someone with a 100% vote. Often the individuals in the “no brainer” category receive huge support, as much as 95+%. Why not universal? In many cases a few voters have chosen not to vote the obvious choice in the belief that 100% support should be reserved for the truly transcendent individual. I am not sure those voters will ever find the appropriate candidate! Achieving universal support is, in my view, an unattainable goal.

Often the more controversial honoree is the one who barely meets the election criteria and/or the one who has been a candidate for a number of election cycles before finally meeting the election criteria for the honor.  These new Hall of Famers will have a significant percentage of voters and the general public who will believe the honor has not been earned. How should a Hall of Fame respond to this challenge?

I believe the controversy can be beneficial and the discussion it engenders is helpful for elucidating the virtues of any controversial inductee alongside some negative aspects. Hopefully these discussions take place in the public sphere where the opinions flow openly and each side of the argument gives validity to the respective point of view.

However, the Hall of Fame itself must stay above the fray and stand tall in support of the result. Its response must simply be that the individual met the s/election criteria and is, therefore, worthy of the honor. The Hall of Fame must go about building the case through the biography and associated elements it produces for the induction ceremony. The Hall of Fame’s most important task in these cases is to not waver in its commitment to the process or its outcome.

Halls of Fame Everywhere

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I have a Google Alert set with the key word “Hall of Fame.” It’s a pretty simple search, but my inbox is filled each day with multiple announcements for Halls of Fame – announcements of a ceremony, the names of those inducted, the honors a Hall of Fame is distributing, and, in short, a snippet of the history of America, because that’s what Halls of Fame represent.

As I have noticed the wide variety of Halls of Fame and the fact that every entity, from town or chamber of commerce to national organization, have a Hall of Fame – at least it seems that way – I search for the point of it all. Why is there a Hall of Fame virtually everywhere one looks? My interpretation is that we all have a reverence for those who have gone before – those who have provided us with a leap forward, with a hand up the ladder of development, or those who have provided us with an example of the best of humanity – those who have found a way to maximize their talents to the benefit of a game, a business, a community, or a nation.

I suggest that a study of the growth of Halls of Fame is a study of American culture and our belief in the legacy of our forebear. May we always be so awed by their achievements that we continue to honor the people who have provided us with a route to the future.