Halls ideal in leading fans to past sports glory

Posted April 08, 2010, at 10:27 p.m.

Halls ideal in leading fans to past sports glory

From season to season and year to year, the sports world — like the world in general — seems to spin so fast that there is insufficient time to appreciate today’s accomplishments before it’s time to move on to the next big thing.

And as those events are pushed aside by the need to move forward, they are relegated to an historical context that is easily ignored and often forgotten.

Yet there are always valuable lessons to be learned in the winning formulas of the great players and teams of the past, lessons that undoubtedly could help the great players and teams of the future.

That’s where the concept of the Hall of Fame can serve multiple purposes. It honors those who have helped shape their sports, and through that recognition it honors how the sports have been shaped.

Such recognition also serves an educational purpose, linking present-day competitors seeking championship status with those who already have experienced such success.

The Maine Sports Hall of Fame has been a prominent fixture in this state for more than three decades, and many colleges have their own halls of fame that not only honor their best student-athletes, but also serve an alumni relations purpose.

Halls of fame now are being introduced into the high school ranks, with programs already established at schools such as Orono and Mount Desert Island and another in the works in Presque Isle.

As far as I’m concerned the more the merrier. Every high school in Maine should have an athletic hall of fame, because every high school has its stories to share and its competitors worthy of recognition long after they have graduated.

It may be especially needed during these times, when economic realities and school consolidation efforts threaten to shutter some of the state’s smaller yet tradition-rich schools.

Add in the fact that Maine’s population is the oldest in the nation, and the institutional memory of the previous generations is becoming an endangered species.

Consider that only those of a certain age can recall the great small-school teams that existed before the last round of school consolidation during the late 1960s. Having an athletic hall of fame can give new life to those memories, as well as preserve similar achievements of schools that may fall victim to the inevitable consolida-tion to come.

More high schools should embrace the hall of fame concept as a means of celebrating their history, and it’s a concept that doesn’t have to be limited to schools.

In fact, efforts now are just getting under way to establish a new hall of fame to honor the state’s basketball community.

The State Legislature last week issued a joint resolution that endorses the creation of a Maine Basketball Hall of Fame that would follow in the footsteps of other sport-specific organizations in the state, such as the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.

The joint resolution recognized the influence the sport has had on both the evolution and identity of numerous communities throughout the state, and the pride those communities have derived from successes related to the sport.

Supporters of the effort see the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame as widely inclusive so as to capture the rich history of the sport in the state through its recognition of all who have played a part in its growth.

Much work remains to be done before it becomes a reality, but such efforts to preserve sports history in Maine are to be commended and supported.

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