Connections in Cooperstown

By Ana Apostoleris

“Preserving History. Honoring Excellence. Connecting Generations.” This is the Hall of Fame’s mission statement, and, as a Hall of Fame public programming intern for the past two months, I’ve been able to see this succinct string of words as a daily reality.

“Connecting Generations,” especially, rings true as the Hall blends together past and future for the wide variety of visitors who come through our doors, as well as for me personally.

The Hall, of course, is largely commemorative. Baseball has a history in this country that no other sport has; here, I get to live that history every day, through patrons as well as programs. We have people in their 80s and older coming in every day, some of whom have been here more times than they can count, some of whom are making the trip for the first time in their lives. For the most part, they all have stories – I’ve met people who saw Babe Ruth play when they were young, who grew up in Boston rooting for the Braves, who remember the days before integration. They’re here to remember their childhoods and the game they watched growing up.

I also took this internship with an eye on my future. Baseball has been my lifelong passion, and as a 20-year-old college student, my ongoing goal is to get myself into the best position I can to turn my passion into a career. I see the same kind of forward thinking from visitors, usually young. We have the thousands of Little Leaguers who dream of being Major Leaguers, for whom the Hall of Fame represents the ultimate end goal. We have others whose baseball dreams come from different angles – for example, the eloquent 16-year-old who participated in our “Making Airwaves” radio recreation program, calling Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, and who later told me that his dream is to be a broadcaster and that he’d made sure his family woke up early so they wouldn’t miss the program. On a less long-term scale, these young visitors are afforded the same opportunity to explore their love of baseball and to connect with their future goals that I am.

Of course, it’s also about the present, which, as always, is the intersection between past and future. My present is contributing as much as I can to the museum while I’m here, so that visitors can make the most out of what is for some a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

It’s these 10 weeks, where I get to walk through the Plaque Gallery on my way to the office every morning and run my hand over Lou Gehrig’s plaque for luck. It’s been the opportunity to discover the history of the game I love while exploring my own future, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer vacation.

Ana Apostoleris is a public programming intern in the Class of 2011 Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program. For more information on the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program, please click here http://baseballhall.org/education/internship-program/internship-program.

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