Wednesday, September 13, 2017

timekeepers, ball tales & the education of sam alford

There are a couple of things you should know about Gary Shouse.  First off, he was a pretty good ball player - that's him in the back row (#55) of the Monroe City 1953 Sectional championship team.  Also, he didn't like playing against Decker on their home court, either the new or old one.  That's probably why he bought the school (& gyms) and turned the facility into a sawmill - sweet revenge takes many forms.  And then there were his days as Sam Alford's timekeeper at Monroe City - a time when the young coach was gaining the education that would take him on to successful stints at South Knox, Martinsville and eventually New Castle.  Four hundred and fifty-two victories, 17 Sectionals, 6 Regionals, one Semi-State title and a legacy of players (including his sons) who moved on to greater success in basketball and life. The story of Gary & Sam, Decker & Monroe City is the story of basketball in Indiana.  It's a story of old gyms, some left behind and some carried forward;  it's the story of old friends, old photographs and trophies.  It's a story of communities that are forever linked together, whether they know it or not.  And it's a story that will continue as long as tales are told. CGS.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

a good day, part 1

One gym, then another - our list grows shorter and longer at the same time.  With more than 200 gyms photographed we seem to have developed a rhythm, a way to approach research, contact and actual photography.  Some days are just days, while others bring a smile to our faces.  This day was one of those.  You see, whenever an elementary embraces the use of an old high school gym good things usually happen and at Holland, the former home of the Dutchmen, preservation and a nod to history is on full display.  Dale, a few miles to the south and a timezone away was saved by the community and now is open to all.  The old center court, photographs and memorabilia keep the story of the Aces alive & well.  And then, before day's end, former Winslow Eskimo and elementary principal Ritch Luker opens the door to another monument to Hoosier Hysteria.  Two hundred gyms and counting, this journey to document our state's heritage often brings one good day after another.  CGS.

Saturday, August 26, 2017


We first ran headlong into Hagerstown on a cold winter evening in 2015.  On that night the Lady Tigers captured their fifth Sectional title, defeating Union County, 32-24, at Cambridge City.  Recently I was directed to the town's old gym (now part of Hagerstown Elementary) and told not to miss the tiger at center court.  Even with the remnants of sixth grade graduation still in place the court is a living witness to Indiana's basketball heritage.  With an exterior of brick & limestone, a court of maple, amphitheater style seating and a stage holding down one end, the home of the Tigers is a place to behold.  And I'm sure that on that February night in 2015, those celebratory Lady Tigers could look back with a thank you nod to their early days spent on this court.  CGS.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

panthers rising

Just up the road from the historic canal town of Metamora, nestled in the hills of southeastern Indiana, sits the little town of Laurel.  Platted in 1836 and named after a city in Maryland, the hillside community has always been small - less than 1/2 square mile of land and a population of 500. With the loss of their school to consolidation (students attend Franklin County High in Brookville) came a loss of businesses, residents and eventually the old high school building. Although never a basketball power (they had winning seasons, but no Sectional titles) there has always been pride in the game, so faced with the decay of their gym the community stepped up.  Today when visitors stop by the new library building (where the old school sat) they can walk next door and see a remarkable little monument to Hoosier Hysteria brought back to life.  Indiana take notice, the Panthers have risen, back from the edge of what had been to an example of what should be.  CGS.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

brookville & the legacy of john collier

We've written about Coach John Collier before in this forum but after a recent trip to Brookville and a post about Vevay I thought his legacy was worth bringing up again.  After a five year tenure and two Sectional championships in the old river town of Vevay John moved north to Brookville where he spent the next 10 years.  And what a ten years it was - five Sectional titles, a Regional crown (1965) and the opening of a new gym in 1957 (which is still used today as a practice facility by the consolidated Franklin County High School).  All of that success led to a call from his college alma mater so in 1966 he returned to Hanover where he served as basketball coach and athletic director until his retirement. He led the Panthers to five berths in the NAIA national tournament and was named conference coach of the year on three occasions.  And if that wasn't enough basketball legacy to leave, his son Steve was named Mr. Basketball in 1974.  Today, the old gym at Brookville showcases his success with mural sized photos and at Hanover - they simply named the arena after him.  CGS.