Got a question in Canton? This Pro Football Hall of Fame docent will answer from London
Steve Flack volunteers at the Pro Football Hall of Fame just about every day, spending hours showing visitors from all over the world the displays and artifacts of the hallowed museum.
On rare occasions, Flack even gets to actually set foot in the place.
He lives in London, you see, and works from his home as a virtual docent, speaking to visitors via a digital tablet mounted to a metal stand on wheels. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of Hall of Fame history and stories about the bronze busts, gold jackets and individual NFL teams.
“I’ve always loved the Hall of Fame,” said Flack, 42, whose paying job is working in merchandising for the London Lions, a professional basketball team. “It’s the very first place in America I wanted to visit growing up. The first time I went was for an 18th birthday present and then I was coming back for different enshrinements and events.
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“Finally, someone suggested, `'Would you think about being a volunteer?’ I jumped at the chance. I love just being a part of the Hall of Fame in any way possible. Now I’ve been able to talk to fans and help them to love the place like I do. That means everything to me.”
His fascination with football began as a child in the 1980s when he spotted the broadcast of a game while one of his parents was channel surfing.
“I was glued to the screen and that was it,” he said.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Flack would try to vacation in Canton twice a year, but COVID-19 has made that impossible so far. He purchased a nearby house in 2011, soon after attending Jerry Rice’s 2010 enshrinement. He’s a big San Francisco 49ers fan and was at the ceremonies when Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott were inducted.
Tom Flores, who has played on and coached championship teams, won one of his Super Bowls in Los Angeles and left his mark on Southern California .
“When you talk about it being the most inspiring place on Earth, here’s a guy that believes that,” said David Baker, the Hall of Fame’s chief executive. “There’s a lot of people who have great hearts for the Hall of Fame and what it represents. Steve is at the top of the list.”
Not every visitor grasps what Flack does or how he’s doing it.
“Some people understand it and get it straight away,” he said. “Others are startled. Some are not sure exactly where I am. I know my accent gives it away, but I had a lady once who once said to me, ‘Can you please show me Buckingham Palace from outside your window to prove you’re in England?’ I had to say to her, ‘It’s a small country but it’s not that small where the queen’s my neighbor.’”
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He generally stays in one place at the hall, but some museum visitors occasionally want to take him with them.
“I’ve had people who have wanted to wheel me around, to see if they can take me around the museum with them,” he said. “We even had to quickly work out what would happen if someone tried to walk out the front door with me.
“I’d have to sort of scream and let out a few noises for someone to rescue me.”
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