As you guys know if you have been listening to the show, following Twitter, reading Facebook or care in any way about why I have missed the majority of camp for the first time in 8 years, I was in Canton, OH this last week and weekend at the Pro Football Hall of Fame event. I was there for a pretty unique reason. I was being welcomed into the Pro Football Ultimate Fan’s Association (PFUFA) as an Ultimate Fan. This is an amazing honor for me and one that I humbly accept for the thousand of other, in many cases more qualified fans out there.
For those of you unaware, the PFUFA is the organization that tries to recognize, unify and advance fandom of Professional Football. Fan presence at or near the actual Hall of Fame goes back to the Hall of Fans which was sponsored by Visa. At that time, there was actually a display in the Hall itself but when the sponsorship dried up, the display was removed. (Detailed History is here http://www.pfufa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=76)
The big question many ask is, “What makes you more ultimate than me?” To answer, I would say the following.
If you think you are an ultimate fan, chances are you may be. It is very hard to say who is more ultimate (intentional misspelling). The PFUFA focus for fans is on the following things:
“TO PROMOTE THE FELLOWSHIP OF ALL FANS, ENCOURAGE SPORTSMANSHIP AND SUPPORT CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES”
Three pillars. Now these are not the three most think of first. I am happy to describe my experience at this weekend and will do so on the next show. Major events were:
- NFL “First Play” – A ceremonial HoF football was passed from children’s group to group along a 3+ mile path from the park all the way to the Hall of Fame to kick off the weekend. The 2012 PFUFA Class of Potential Veterans and Veterans walked the path, met with the kids, took pictures and generally had an awesome time with some great kids.
- Trip to the Akron Children’s Hospital – The group then went to the Children’s hospital and in groups of 8 went to rooms in each ward cheering up, spending time with and chatting with the children and families from each group.
- Hall of Fame Kick off Parade – With our very own float in the parade, the entire crew walked the 100 mile long parade route (not really, but us Potential Veterans had to walk while many of the real veterans rode). We waved to the fans and had a great time helping to kick off further events that would lead to the Fan Appreciation tent.
- PFUFA Fan Appreciation Tent – Each member of the group was set up in a huge tent with various giveaways and cards as children came through and collected their cards, got a bunch of cool stuff that we all brought and collected autographs and pictures. This event was amazing as there was a huge line for the duration of the event.
- PFUFA Induction Breakfast – This was held in the special event room at the actual Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. We had a breakfast, handed out awards and welcomed the new class.
What you will see next is my speech from that event. The audio is dicey as I had no voice left. Aside from the events listed, each Potential Veteran had a lot of work to do getting to know the members and there was a fair amount of tailgating that went on.
I want to thank Mark Goodman (ATLBUCS) and Tim “The Captain” Young for sponsoring me. I also need to thank Keith “Big Nasty” Kunzig for his support and my wife for letting me continue to do crazy stuff like this.
More on this as the year progresses.