Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Glove, A Jacket and A Police Escort

The Hall of Fame festivities got off to a bang of the drum today when we joined some friends for a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, about an hour North of Akron. This Louvre-like glass structure houses an amazing collection of rock memoribilia including jeans worn by Bruce Springsteen, handwritten lyrics to tunes like, 'Hey Jude,' and a collection of vinyl that would make any record collector drool. There were sections dedicated to Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and rockers from the Buck-eye State. Oh, yeah...and Michael Jackson famous glove was there, under glass. And despite all the memoribilia, the part I enjoyed the most was the music. Listening to the tunes from the different parts of my life transported me back to grammar school, high school or college so instantly, it made the experience of visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame richer than I ever expected. I don't know that I would make a special trip to see it, but if you're in the's worth a visit.

But somehow, I'm guessing there are a few Raider fans reading this who could really give a crap that I saw Michael Jackson's glove. Tonight kicked off the other Hall of Fame festivities with the Enshrinee Dinner or the night when the Inductees got their jackets. The event was held at the Canton Civic Center, a big complex with an indoor stadium and several anterooms. We were seated in the garden area and Merlin Olsen was our resident Hall of Famer. Of course, I recognized him immediately as Mr. Garvey from the Little House on the Prairie television show. Remember that? I do. I always forget he actually played football too.

Anyhow, after dinner, they moved all of us into this indoor stadium for the awards ceremony where the inductees were to be introduced. By the time I visited the ladies room, the only seats left were nosebleeds, so we acted like we knew where we were going and kept walking until we were standing in the press section. Not a bad place from which to observe the ceremony--trust me on this.

First, the 6 inductees were introduced: Troy Aikman, Harry Carson, John Madden, Warren Moon, the late Reggie White and Rayfield Wright. After each was introduced they were led to the spot we were standing and I literally ended up standing next to Mr. Madden. The one thing that makes John Madden so appealing is he is such an ordinary guy, and just looking at him, I could see how much this honor meant to him. He looked thrilled, humbled and just beside himself with excitement and emotion. I wanted to just hold his hand--but that seemed some how inappropriate, so I just touched his arm and gave a thumbs up. He smiled back and nodded. It was an honor to stand so close to him at such an important moment in his career.

After all the inductees were introduced, they went back onto stage where the 70 or so Hall of Famers in attendence greeted them. Old Raiders like Dave Casper and Jim Otto, old Cowboys like Tony Dorsett and Roger Staubach, old Steelers like Lynn Swann and icons like Gale Sayers, Dan Dierdorf and many others went onto stage to greet the new inductees with a hug. I wondered what they were saying to each other as they leaned close. From where I was standing it looked like a lot of respect and congratulations were being doled out.

Finally, after a couple of press awards were given out, it was jacket time. The inductees recieved the famous gold jacket...but it was really more yellow than a Century 21 Gold--if you've seen those jackets on the real estate agents. When it was Madden's turn to get his jacket, his dinner coat was off and thrown down as he took the last steps onto the stage. He couldn't get that gold jacket on fast enough. Flanked by his sons, Joe and Mike, he proudly put on the ultimate symbol of success for the first time. Then he turned to the family table and posed for a long, victorious picture, an arm around each of his sons. You could just feel him wanting to hold onto that moment. I think all the inductees appreciated the honor, but I think John Madden relished that jacket more than any other inductee all night.

However, it was Reggie White's son, Jeremy White, that stole the show. Because his family is accepting the induction to the Hall of Fame in his honor, Reggie White's wife, Sarah, was presented a plaque...not a honor her husband's NFL Career. She promptly handed her son the plaque and he held that plaque over his head so proudly. He walked slowly around the stage, beaming with pride. It was a beautiful loving tribute to his dad. Better than the NFL film they showed of Reggie White tackling people, better than seeing his wife accept the congratulations of other Hall of Famers. The moment wasn't scripted, it was pure. Genuine. A boy honoring his father who should have been there to accept the award himself. It was a loving respectful gesture.

The festivities ended a few minutes after that and the guests set off to find their hotel bus among a fleet of identical vessels. Once we were all shuffled into the correct seats, the Canton police shutdown the local streets and escorted our buses all the way back to Akron. I'm sure the citizens of Canton loved the traffic we created just trying to get out of town.

All in all, it was an amazing day with more fun to come tomorrow when we go to the actual induction ceremony and the Madden party after. It should be lots of fun.

A couple of side notes:

Tony Gonzalez, KC Chief Tight End and former Cal Bear is definitely the hottest football player.
If rock stars really are the size of the clothes I saw in Cleveland, they must not eat.

For some reason, our hotel seems to be here for either Madden or Aikman. Now why would they put the Texans and the Californians together?

Marino wasn't introduced tonight, I think he's not here. Did I mention that Tony Gonzalez?


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