Saturday, October 21, 2017

and so it begins...

Day two of practice at the home of the North Posey Vikings.  Yes, the 2017-18 season has begun and the coaches & players from Poseyville hope to add more trophies to a resume that includes 10 Sectional championships and 3 Regional titles.  If hard work and effort are markers of future success, then this group of young athletes are headed for a long run on the tournament trail.  CGS.

Monday, September 25, 2017

martin & the mountaineers

Just around a soft curve on Indiana 65, nestled in between standing timber & plowed fields sits the little gem of Mt. Olympus, the former home of the Mountaineers.  As a basketball team their high water mark took place in 1929 when they finished the regular season 23-0 and Gibson County Tourney champs.  They would go on to win three more games to claim the Owensville Sectional title and carry a 26-0 record into the Regional against powerhouse Vincennes. Although their roundball journey would end there, it would not be the low point of the year.  On October 29, a day that came to be known as Black Tuesday, the New York stock market crashed, sending an economic tsunami around the world and ushering in the Great Depression.  At the same time, the family owned guitar making shop of CF Martin, based in Nazareth Pennsylvania, began production of what would become one of their most famous models - the 14 fret small body, steel stringed OM.  The intrepid reader might wonder what this has to do with an Indiana basketball gym?  Well, upon entering Mt. Olympus, having walked past the abandoned limestone steps of the old school, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the floor - the worn maple seemed to show tally marks from every game ever played and when it had been "refinished" the age & marks had not been removed.  A month after our shoot, as I was working on the photos for this post, I began to see similarities between the Mt. Olympus floor and an old looking Martin guitar that I own - ironically one modeled after the OM that was first built & played the same year that the Mountaineers had reached their heights.  A visual stretch you say.  Well, as the cliche goes, I guess finding gyms like Mt. Olympus is music to our eyes & ears.  CGS.

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.