National Sports Hall of Fame affair needs renewed focus of elegance

LANISHA ROLLE, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture

At the present moment, the Ministry of Sports is gearing up for the next edition of the Bahamas National Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It is to take place sometime in November.

One of the many challenges facing the new Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Lanisha Rolle, is finding a way to renew the focus on excellence and elegance for an event that pays homage to the prime contributors to nation building through their sporting endeavors over time.

I viewed the National Football League (NFL) Honors extravaganza staged in Canton, Ohio, where the latest stalwarts of the game were enshrined. With so many events having been observed while either physically present, or via television, I no longer get excited often.

The NFL’s extravaganza on Saturday was a huge thrill. The new inductees, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Brian Dawkins, Brian Urlacher, Bobby Beathard, the seniors, Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile were part of an incredible setting that verified the high status of sports in the world today.

*(Terrell Owens did not show up, in preference of having his own ceremony at the University of Chattanooga where he first drew attention, as a collegiate player. He was eligible two years ago).
The NFL has made its Hall of Fame induction ceremony one of the signature events on its calendar each year. To a great degree, the NFL Hall of Fame affair upstages the Pro Bowl and is second really, only to Super Bowl Week, in my estimation. I venture to point out, indeed, that the luminaries and others in the sport look forward to the Hall of Fame induction night with great anticipation and excitement.

More so for some, Hall of Fame night is special, because while on such occasions they receive invitations to interact with past colleagues of greatness, there are always limited amounts of prime seats for the Super Bowl. Even for the greats of the game, at times if they don’t have the right hook-up, you never see them showcased at Super Bowl, because they are not there.

So, for the past field heroes of American Football, the Hall of Fame Honors occasion is highly anticipated.

It would be good if Minister Rolle could take our classic Sports Hall of Fame event to a similar level of significance and appreciation.

Two sports ministers ago, Dr. Daniel Johnson, re-arranged the Bahamas National Sports Hall of Fame into a product of pizazz. He turned what was a drab, non-excitable affair into virtually a week of activities. I remember quite well the 2014 version.

I was fortunate to be in that class for ‘sports administration and sports writing.’ It was really a whirlwind experience that ranks right up there with the best of what I have been afforded in over 50 years of close association to the national and international sport stages. It was particularly a pleasure to give the Hall of Fame address on behalf of the inductees.

The inductees were treated to a series of daily events that enabled us to bond. There were re-introductions, renewal of friendships, networking with different era sports personnel, tours, a meet and greet session and of course, the grand finale at Government House in the presence of the esteemed first daughter of The Bahamian soil, Dame Marguerite Matilda, Lady Pindling CCMG, Governor General.

Putting on the Hall of Fame blazer for the first time, is a unique experience and it ought to be the high point of a period of pure fanfare.

The template is there, left in place by Dr. Johnson. Minister Rolle also has available to her, sports officers who assisted Dr. Johnson in elevating the Bahamas National Sports Hall of Fame to one of the highlight sports/social events on the national calendar. Under Dr. Johnson, the ministry also crafted a platform for other sports awards to coincide with Hall of Fame Week.

He was on to something good, something big and quite befitting the national sports fraternity.
Surely, along the way to proving that she really belongs in the position of sports minister, this is one of the challenges, the Hon. Lanisha Rolle should tackle.
Best wishes to her!

(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).

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