ANTIGONISH, N.S. - As I look over the thorough coverage my colleague Corey LeBlanc did with the recent St. F.X. Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony (the Oct. 10 Casket), I can’t help but wonder – why isn’t there a sports hall of fame for Antigonish town and county residents who didn’t accomplish their athletic feats at St. F.X.?
If I have learned anything from my almost nine years in this community, it’s that this is an amazing sports town, even outside the exploits of the X-Men and X-Women teams who call Oland Stadium and the Oland and Keating centers home (I actually knew this well before moving here as a guy who played hockey and fastpitch in rival sports town Truro). And it has been a great sports community for decades and decades but there is really no place in town, or county, that thoroughly captures these accomplishments.
Now I know there may be some barriers to setting up something like a sports hall of fame, but I think it could be a great marketing tool on top of recognizing some truly deserving athletes, coaches, teams, officials and builders.
I would suggest you start small, with a few obvious categories and selections, and well aware many of those nominated may be done so posthumously, since a new hall of fame would spend a few years catching up.
The biggest obstacle would be in finding a suitable place to display photos or plaques of those selected for the hall, but I think this is where it could be a marketing opportunity as well, as it would draw people to that location as a must-see destination for sport aficionados and history buffs. There are a lot of places in the town or county where it would behoove the location to donate wall space to increase foot traffic.
PAST PENALTY SHOTS COLUMNS:
St. F.X. is fortunate with all the wall space in the Oland Centre to honour their legends but, in my concept, you wouldn’t need that much space as you could simply display, more prominently in a photo or plaque, the five or six selections for that year, and create a smaller plaque or sign with names listed per year, leaving space to continually add names You would just, annually, replace the larger displays, which could be presented to the family or put in storage in case, at some point, more wall space becomes available to rehang. Maybe, down the road, instead of just one wall, there could be a sports hall of fame room somewhere.
As far as images, I’m hopeful if a person or team is worthy of a hall nomination, there is a photo of him, her or them competing somewhere. It would be a cost but the way photos can be reproduced these days, it could make for a nice display. If not action, a posed photo and if one actually doesn’t exist, perhaps an illustration could be arranged.
And I think that might be the biggest cost.
But then there are sponsorship opportunities; especially through an induction ceremony, which could draw some family and friends into town to see their loved one honoured for his or her athletic accomplishments. And this would also provide, as it does at St. F.X., a great opportunity for former teammates and old friends to reconnect; who wouldn’t appreciate that chance.
And with St. F.X., as well as the Antigonish Highland Games which has their own hall of fame, I would say being part of one wouldn’t exclude an athlete from the other; but I would limit it to people who called Antigonish town or county home for an extended period of their life. That type of logistic could be ironed out and organizers could simply steal a page from other halls, already established across the province.
Further, in this day and age of technology, digital space for the hall of fame might prove as popular as an actual one, and would provide many of the same benefits; such as honouring deserving athletes while providing a further opportunity to market the area. A website to compliment the wall space.
As for who should go in; the selection process could be part of the excitement. Who do you think are obvious choices for a new Antigonish Town and County Sports Hall of Fame?