My name is Kim Kiehl and I am the Director of the Museum of Ohio Project and the Project Manager of our upcoming exhibit Ohio–Champion of Sports. I am excited to be managing the design and production of this exhibit.
Sports have always been a passion of mine even though I have never been an athlete myself. Just getting to the gym on a regular basis is a heroic act for me! But I absolutely love sports. I am fascinated by watching them, enthralled by the stories surrounding them and a devoted fan to my teams. Spending an entire weekend watching just about any sport, though I do have my favorites, is when I am the happiest. Research we conducted at the Ohio History Connection across almost 2,000 people in Ohio, tells us that you love sports too.
I grew up around sports. I went to my college alma mater’s football games with my parents from the time I was young. As a kid I accompanied my dad many summer weekends at the Watkins Glen race track, an international raceway in Watkins Glen, New York and fell in love with the sport (I would still love to be a race car driver).
I watched my sister compete in gymnastics as a teenager and in body building competitions as an adult. I sat through football games and rowing regattas with my son, and through more rowing regattas and lacrosse games with my daughter.
So it stands to reason that I am thrilled to be managing the design and production of this exhibit about sports in Ohio. We have organized the upcoming Ohio–Champion of Sports exhibit into six areas, or zones—Victory, Adversity, Character, Identity, Tradition and Innovation. Every sport, every game, every athlete has a bit of all of these and we want to tell these sports stories across all these areas, not just in one. You will hear Sarah Fisher tell you about her greatest victories and her identity as an Ohioan. You will hear Mike Brown tell the stories of the tradition passed down from his father and what he thinks are the greatest innovations in football.
These six characteristics are what continue to draw me into sports. The thrill of watching a big win, the pain of adversity when it strikes. The way we each identify with our team and feel connected to others who cheer for that same team. The traditions that we all associate with sports, for me it was watching the Indy 500 every year with my dad and the college football traditions from my childhood that I have passed to my children and still practice every Saturday in the fall.
This exhibit feels personal to me and I hope it will for you. Ohio is sports. Sports live in all of us. We are excited to share these stories with you and to hear your sports stories, too.