“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”
Day 2 – By Ruben
- Updated: August 9, 2015
This Ohio experience has been more then I have ever imagined. I knew we were going to be doing some remarkable events but these events such as the luncheon with Hall of Fame trustees, Hall of Fame members’ class photo, visit to the Veterans hospital, Aerosmith concert, witnessing the commencement of the new stadium.
The first event was the Hall of Fame class photo where we witnessed mostly all of the Hall of Fame members organize themselves together to welcome the new seven inductees. It was amazing to see them all conversing with each other even though many of them have played against each other & have played for opposing teams. They put all that aside & come together not only as men but as brothers. The only inductee who was not present that I accounted for was Junior Seau, he sadly passed away about three years ago. However, the other Hall of Fame members still made it seem like he was still there by asking Seau’s sister to take his place in the class photo. That was a moment that I will truly not forget.
After the class photo was taken Hall of Fame member Ron Yary took us inside the Hall of Fame into a meeting room where the past, present, and the future of the Hall of Fame were discussed. They discussed how the Hall of Fame remembers & commemorates those who have passed away who were in the Hall of Fame. Speaker David Baker also discussed how the men who were inducted into the Hall of Fame but did not receive a ring, will receive one in front of their very own hometown. I thought that was really great how the Hall of Fame makes these guys feel special. Then Baker spoke about the present & how one important donation was made to the Hall of Fame & how that donation has greatly impacted the Hall of Fame. The owner of the Saints Tom Benson made an $11 million dollar donation to the Hall of Fame so that a new stadium could be built & for a “Legends Landing” program. I was surprised at such a huge donation was made, but then I remember hey this guy is the owner of the Saints he will probably make that money back in a few weeks. Baker also commemorated many people who support & sponsor the program such as Kay Jewelers who make the Hall of Fame rings, Haggar Clothing for making the special golden jackets, many more. My favorite part of the meeting was when Baker introduced a kid who was wearing a golden jacket as well & said “this kid was a golden jacket for Halloween”. Baker described how we are making a impact on young people’s lives in such a way it’s indescribable.
When the meeting finished we followed the Hall of Fame trustees to a luncheon where we would have the chance to speak to as many as we could. When we got there all the trustees where so friendly & approachable. Here I was thinking “Man these guys work for the Hall of Fame, I’m just a kid from a small town in California what interest would they have in talking to me.” However, I was completely wrong these men showed great hospitality & proved me wrong. I got to meet Blair Buswell who creates the busts for the Hall of Fame. It was so intriguing the process it takes to create a bust. When I asked him which busts was his favorite he gave a intriguing answer, “I have no favorite, I have met men too great who have given me irreplaceable memories that one cannot rate them on how great they were. They are all equal to me.” That was so fascinating because my favorite part of the Hall of Fame is the room where they have all the busts inside of all Hall of Fame members. After that I was able to sit down with & talk to Chris Berman who is a sportscaster for the NFL. At first I was really nervous to speak with him because I didn’t really know how to start nor continue the conversation. However, I just manned up & sparked up a conversation with him with the help of Dr. Casey of course. He was a great man & gave me life advice “never let things get outside of you” he gave me this advice because I told him I was a inside linebacker. I would never thought of all my years of watching the NFL & hearing him speak that he would be such an amazing man, he just was spectacular.
As the luncheon finished we headed outside to witness the commencement of the new stadium. Berman was the speaker & commemorated everyone from the superintendent of the high school to commissioner Goodell. Tom Benson & his wife were there to start the commencement of the stadium. They all took a golden shovel & a miners hat (Baker’s did not exactly fit him) & dug up a piece of dirt & threw it forward signifying the commencement & process of the new stadium. I’m so lucky that I was there to witness this historic moment.
Hall of Fame members Ron Yary & Jackie Slater took Jerome & I to the veterans hospital where the Hall of Fame members were asked to speak. Yary & Slater gave their speeches & were very moving, they thanked those who served & signed their memorabilia. Yary & Slater are outstanding men & hilarious in the time I talked to them on the way to the hospital. The veterans were thrilled that Yary & Slater took time out of their day just to speak with them & a few of them actually been to tear up. I will also remember this moment forever because I do not know how many people lay down their lives just so I can sleep comfortably in my bed & how many people sacrifice their freedom for mine & others across the U.S. As we were about to leave a veteran stopped us & thanked us, I couldn’t help but almost cry at the sight of tears in his eyes as well. He said what Yary, Slater, Jerome, & I were doing was outstanding & that we should be proud.
The Aerosmith concert was definitely something different, mostly since I have never been to a concert in my 17 years of life. First we ate dinner where I met Baker’s wife who introduced Jerome & I to two veterans who received the Medal of Honor. Those two men sacrificed so much one man even had a prosthetic arm, I thanked both of them for their service in our country. The food is definitely amazing it’s so much more different from back home but nothing can beat my mom’s home cooked food. After the dinner we headed to the stadium where the concert was taking place & man was that mayhem. So many people rushing to get in & I was trying so hard not to lose my coach nor Dr. Casey in the crowd. Soon we all got to our seats & watched Living Colour as they were the opening act & they were outstanding, they gave a great performance. Then as the clock ticked down to 9:00 Aerosmith arrived backstage where the cameras followed them all the way to the stage where everyone was going insane cheering & shouting at the top of their lungs. Then Aerosmith came on stage & to me personally they were dressed kind of funky but I know that was the bands attire. At first I wasn’t sure how to act at a concert but then I got into the groove of it & just swayed back & forth here & their & clapped & applauded until I got blisters in my hands (not really). They gave an amazing performance & have definitely given me the best concert experience. I especially like their drummer, man he was just tearing up those drums & then when he started drumming with his fists the crowd went wild & so did I. That man had skill. I enjoyed the closing act where Aerosmith brought out a piano from underneath the stage & smoke emerged from the stage giving it that “oooo & ahhh” feeling. Definitely a night to remember for the rest of my life & looking forward to the rest of my stay here in Ohio.