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  • Todd Porter

Sure it hurts now, but who does this pandemic think we are?


The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. (Photo courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame)

Look, there is no lipstick to put on this pig.

Will losing the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game — sold out in less than a half-hour — hurt?

Will losing the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement hurt?

What about the concert (that never was announced)?

And the Canton Repository Grand Parade, held by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce?

And the Enshrinees Civic Dinner?

And the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival Balloon Classic?

Yes. It is going to hurt our city, county, region and even state. And it is going to sting.

For a while.

I'd be lying if I told you it hasn't bummed me out. We literally have waited 100 years to celebrate the NFL's centennial in Canton and a pandemic wipes it out.

But guess what?

We will pick ourselves off the canvas — we've already started — and we will move past this setback. We will plan for celebrations in 2021 that will bring folks from all over the country to Canton. You all remember Peyton Manning's enshrinement in 2021 is all but a foregone conclusion, right? Wonder if we can get Peyton to mention that in one of his commercials with Brad Paisley.

What do we do in the meantime?

We do what we've always done. We volunteer for Hall of Fame committees. We press on about our lives and we find new and better ways to do the things we have done in the past. It is that attitude that has shaped our region's persona. We don't have a West Coast glass jaw mentality here. We don't have the drama queen personality of a big city.

We are Canton, Ohio — as Midwestern as it gets. We can take a punch; even one we didn't see coming. And we can stand up, dust ourselves off and figure how we are going to move forward, building upon one of America's favorite weekends and make it better in 2021.

It hurts now.

There are a lot of people in worse shape than we are. There are families hurting from death and economic loss. There are real issues our society needs to solve. Sure, these losses hurt.

But what if ...

We've pressed through a pandemic, rebuilt our economy, cured some of our social ills and injustices and we all fill Centennial Plaza next year and the venues where other events are held and we celebrate that victory together? What will that be like?

It's worth waiting one more year.

***

I have eaten at the Conestoga in downtown Canton as a matter of routine on a weekly basis. And this week I tried something I always have looked past.

The Pittsburgh Salad. Don't sleep on the Pittsburgh Salad folks. The skirt steak that comes sliced on top of it is done to perfection (medium rare in my case), throw in a handful of French fries, roasted red peppers, sliced, hard-boiled eggs, beets and this is a treasure of taste.

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