It’s time for the Toy Hall of Fame to honor the legendary Nerf

This is the year of Nerf.

There hasn’t been an easier slam dunk for the National Toy Hall of Fame since that undisputed dunk I did on my Nerfoop bedroom in eighth grade (that’s what it was called, not Nerf Hoop.). There hasn’t been an easier choice since I decided to shoot the original Nerf bullet at my older sister when she walked into the living room so I could startle her.

This is the year of Nerf.

The National Toy Hall of Fame announced the 12 nominees for this year’s class last month, including the “Nerf Toys” collective. It’s been over 20 years since the second highest honor for toys began (Honor #1: A Key Role in a “Toy Story” Movie) and Nerf is out of the game. Ridiculous.

If you ask me, the original Nerf ball should be in the Hall of Fame, just like Nerfoop, the Nerf soccer ball, and the various Nerf guns.

This year, the entire Nerf family is vying for a spot. Go on.

Think about how Nerf changed the toy game. It was like how recordings changed the music industry or how cell phones changed communication. Thanks to Nerf, you could suddenly throw balls inside (original advertising slogan: “Throw it inside; you can’t damage lamps or break windows. You can’t hurt babies or people Elderly.” Their ad included that you can’t hurt the elderly. Great.).

Thanks to Nerf, you could put a hoop on any door and shoot hoops (in my first apartment, shared with three friends, we had a huge kitchen, so we put Nerfoops on opposite ends and played basketball on all the land).

Thanks to Nerf, any 8-year-old could grab a soccer ball and throw it to their friends. And except when it got so wet the Nerf soccer ball turned into a sponge, it was easy to catch.

This year’s 12 nominees include Lite-Brite, the magic art tool that let you create your own pictures (or write rude words) on a screen; Spirograph, the cool shape-making art toy; Bingo, the favorite game of everyone from 4 to 104 years old; Pound Puppies, the cause of mall brawls between 1980s parents at Christmas; Piñata, which is really more of a food source than a toy; Top, which has entertained children for millennia; and Masters of the Universe action figures. There are others, but who cares? Only three will make the Hall.

An educated guess is that voters will lean towards younger toys and induct Masters of the Universe. Either Bingo or the Top should be in longevity. But the certain-dead toy that’s-not-a-Hall-of-Fame-Without-It is Nerf.

That the Toy Hall of Fame has inducted 78 toys since 1998 and left out Nerf is like the Baseball Hall of Fame inducting 78 members and leaving out Lou Gehrig.

Nerf is the Lou Gehrig of toys. Durable, honorable, consistent. OK, a little too much baseball there, but you get the point.

As someone who had countless Nerfoop dunks and free throws, who played with Nerf footballs after the neighborhood dogs tore a piece off them, and who threw the OG Nerf ball at my three sisters at several times, I say it’s time. This is the year to put Nerf next to toy legends, making it a Hall of Famer alongside Barbie, Jump Rope, Checkers, the Skateboard, Puppet and the other mainstay of my childhood, the Wiffle Ball.

Dear Toy Hall of Fame voters: It’s time for Nerf. Don’t make me shoot you one so you back off like my sisters.

Many times.

Contact Brad Stanhope at [email protected].

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