Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

July 21, 2013

HOPKINS: Playing into the hall of fame

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Every day I receive anywhere from 100 to 175 e-mails. Some of them I don’t even look at; even at work I get some of the same spam mail I get in my private e-mail accounts.

After the junk is eliminated, the daily task of reviewing the dozens of remaining electronic mail begins. Some are instantly recognizable as important, others merit much closer scrutiny. There are a few that are like Santa— they only come once a year but they’re greatly anticipated.

One of those greatly anticipated pieces of mail arrived last week: The National Toy Hall of Fame, located at the Strong Museum in Rochester, is seeking nominations for its annual hall of fame inductions.

I’ve never been to the toy museum, even though it’s just down the road in Rochester and despite the fact that inside this 42-year-old body beats the heart of a 10-year-old.

There are four criteria induction: Icon status (it’s widely recognized, respected and remembered), longevity (it’s not a passing fad and enjoyed popularity over multiple generations), discovery (it fosters learning, creativity or discovery through play) abd innovation (it profoundly changed play or design). What’s nice is all four don’t have to be met.

Every year when the new inductees are announced, I usually wonder why certain childhood favorites didn’t get in earlier. Then I look at the list and I understand. There’s pretty stiff competition every year; some of the items that have been inducted have been around for hundreds of years.

Take, for example, from the Class of 2005, the cardboard box. Who can’t deny this item, which has stimulated minds and provided hours of entertainment for children?

Cardboard boxes have been used to play hide and seek, to take imaginary trips across country or to a different planet and have even been used as castles, caves and other abodes. Fans of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes will remember how Calvin made his transmogrifier out of a cardboard box — before he turned it into a time machine. I once saw young children use a cardboard box as a sled.

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