For any football buff, the National Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is a definite check to have on the bucket list. An avid fan of the NFL might just be like a kid in a candy store while visiting the HOF. But that is not me. I don’t know the history of the teams. I can’t remember stats of who had more rushing yards in 2014. I can barely watch a football game without taking a nap before half time. So, I was along for the ride during our visit to the HOF.
My family goes like this: my husband is an avid fan who seems to know to a lot about all sports, my older son, D, is getting to be an avid fan who loves analyzing stats of teams and players, and my younger son, P, is a casual fan who roots for the likes of Peyton Manning because back in 4th grade he was Peyton Manning at the annual wax museum at his school. Then there is me. Touchdown? First down? Yea!
We were greeted with a group of very eager HOF workers. It was overwhelming, to start, because we had four people all trying to tell us about tickets, pictures, and where to start on the self-guided tour. Once we got past the initial onslaught, it was easier to move through the galleries. However, I could see that P was anxious to get moving at a faster pace. So we split up to explore the galleries within the hall of fame with the promise that we would text throughout our stay. I will say I was impressed with the hands-on exhibits in the galleries. We measured our hands against some of the great quarterbacks and receivers. We tried on shoulder pads and helmets with coaches talking in our ear.
P was very anxious to keep looking and searching as he saw on the map there was an X-box center which is right up his alley. However, we entered the hall of fame gallery which houses the 300+ bronze busts of the individuals who have been inducted into the HOF. I noticed right away it was very quiet in this gallery …almost reverently quiet. People were following their favorite teams or looking for a favorite player. More HOF workers were stationed around the gallery to answer questions or to let visitors interact with the talking John Madden or Michael Strahan talking bust. Thanks to the latest technology these Q & A sessions can happen. P stopped to ask Michael Strahan a question and when he saw the bust come to life on the iPad he freaked out! It was our cue to exit the hall of fame gallery.
We went on the search for anything Broncos or Peyton Manning. We enjoyed watching the montage video clips of players who would wear a microphone during the game. It was funny to hear what the players would say to each other on the field or on the sidelines. The HOF has the “A Game for Life” theater. It is a hologram inspired movie. It was very loud! P did not like that at all. We had to make an exit before it got to be too much. We decided that we would be on the hunt for something orange and blue and what did we find–Peyton Manning’s jersey. Boy, did that make me happy to see P overjoyed to see his favorite player’s jersey.
After a quick text to the other half of our family, we decided that we’d finally meet in the X-Box center. The boys were able to play the latest Madden’s Football game. Around the X-Box center were conference rooms, displays on the athletic training and even some space dedicated to the refs who are out there alongside players week in and week out. I did not know that the refs held regular 9-5 type jobs. They come from all walks of life–school administration, sales, insurance, builders, construction, etc. Who knew? But, most importantly we finally found the gaming for P who was not overly impressed with the HOF. But this was one thing he knows and loves, so it was nice for him to find something positive in our visit.
After our visit, we learned that the HOF has sensory bags available to check out at the front desk. It has headphones, fidgets, lap pads, etc. to help visitors to be able to comfortably experience everything that the HOF has to offer. Overall, we had a positive experience at the HOF. We all walked away happy that we saw something really cool or learned something new. That is a win on any day!
All my best to you,