hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 17, 2013

Resuscitating our Sports Hall of Fame

After three decades of obscurity and neglect, our Haverhill Sports Hall of Fame may see new light.

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, it may once again find itself in a hallowed spot — the first time since 1982 when it was abandoned.

Every high school should house its own Hall-of-Fame, honor its venerable for service well done, and showcase it as part of the community’s historical lore.

If the school wishes not to follow this pursuit, then by golly, it’s up to the city to give credit where it’s due.

I know what you’re thinking — that too much time, space and money are given to athletics and not scholastics. Why not an Academic Hall of Fame honoring our intellectuals? Good point.

But here’s another thing to consider. We already had a Sports Hall of Fame in place from 1980 to 1982 before it drifted aimlessly away. Thirty-three inductees were enshrined, from prominent individuals to athletic teams.

As a Gazette sportswriter for 18 years, I knew half of these elite. And somewhere along the line, I wrote stories on the others, with the exception of maybe the 1904 Haverhill New England League Baseball Team.

But thanks to the Hall of Fame, I caught up with that club and gave it the respect it deserves. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

It is incumbent upon us as a fair-minded city to honor our best and use them as an inspiration for others to follow. History dies only when people forget about it.

In this age of financial constraints and user fees, Haverhill is weathering the storm, thanks to some aggressive efforts by Athletic Director Tom O’Brien. Aside from providing for the welfare of some 50 Hillie teams, the head honcho wants to reactivate the Haverhill Sports Hall of Fame.

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