Walking past the Athletic Hall of Fame, you can see that there are numerous athletes that have been honored here at Shaler Area for their accomplishments.
The Athletic Hall of Fame has been inducting athletes and outstanding community members since 2001. Entering the 15th year the 2016 class had six individuals inducted.
These athletes are selected by an 18-person committee, made up of former athletes, teachers, and coaches. Athletes are nominated by individuals who fill out a nomination form and send it in for the committee to review
Mr. Dave Fortun, one of the first members of the Hall of Fame committee, gave me some information on the induction process and athlete qualifications.
“There are no qualifications that are set, like you have to be an all WPIAL player or state champion, but whoever the nominator, and anyone can nominate anyone, has to on the nomination form submit statistics or facts about the persons accomplishments to justify them being put on the ballot for consideration.” Fortun said.
This sort of puzzled me, it made me ask myself, can anyone be in here? I mean take a look at the individuals who are in our HOF right now. Should there really be that many? Yes there are individuals who made it not only to college but to the professional stage, and those people should be in there. But our Hall of Fame has so many members that are less accomplished and just played in college.
One man in our HOF is partially remembered for being a “Spectator at virtually every Shaler Area sporting competition.”
There should be higher standards to be in our Hall of Fame. Yes the athletes in there did well at Shaler Area and yes they might have played in college, but it is more than that. Someone like Art Howe who not only played professionally but also coached at that level, now that is someone who is worthy of being in a Hall of Fame. Someone like Mr. Howe should be set as sort of a standard for the Hall of Fame.
I know Art Howe might be pretty hard to set as a standard because not a lot of people can do what he did, but something like that criterion, a professional, would that be so bad? There are a few others that have made it to that level and those people should be in.
I get that it looks good when everyone walks in and sees a sea of people showcased as the best. But look at it from a standpoint of those professionals who to the left and right of them could be a plaque of someone who just played high school sports.
I think what we do here for our Athletic Hall of Fame is great, but maybe we should take a step back and start really looking at what the individuals have accomplished.
What if we did come up with some sort of criteria? Maybe professional is a bit of a stretch for everyone to live up to, but I think there should be something. Going to college for sports is a great accomplishment but I feel like there is more to it when you get inducted into something like a Hall of Fame.