Saturday, December 20, 2014

chuck's town

By many accounts, Charles "Chuck" Taylor is Columbus, Indiana's most famous basketball alumnus.  Born in 1901, Chuck started wearing Converse shoes as a high school ball player and at age 20 was hired by the company to sell the very same shoe.  Within a year he helped change the design of the 'All-Star' and 600 million pairs later "Chuck Taylor Day" was celebrated at the annual rivalry game between North & East.  The old Bulldog gym was built in 1954 (20 years before the split that created North & East) and has been home to many great teams, including the current squad (ranked 5th) and the 1963-64 Semistate champs honored this evening.  But rivalry games are just that and the Olympians put up a good fight before falling to their cross town rivals, 65-51.  In the end, this game is about more than just a final score - it's a community coming together to celebrate their history and passion for the game Hoosiers call their own. CGS.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

a civil war

One district, one county - two schools, north & south.  Divided in the middle by powerhouse Greensburg, North and South Decatur may be small in size, but not in basketball passion and heritage.  And even though North is a 2A school and South is 1A, the outcome is always up in the air. In 2011, North won both meetings. South swept the series in 2012 and in 2013 - they split.  Divided in athletic arenas but united in the classroom, this friendly rivalry is truly a 'civil' war. CGS.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

opening shot

Last year when we visited Madison's Shawe Memorial I knew it was worth a return trip - but this time on game day. Built in 1954, the gym sports only a few rows of bleachers on each side and a stage at one end.  Powered by the pep band, a standing room only student section and capacity crowds, little Shawe does its best to make visiting teams feel uncomfortable.  Although they have won 5 Sectional crowns since 2002, the Hilltoppers struggled last year and stumbled in their 2014 opener against Hauser, 69-49. But, any basketball trip to Madison is memorable, especially when topped off with hamburgers from Hinkle's - a tradition since 1933.  CGS.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

not fade away

The first season of our hardwood journey has come and gone, and a second is upon us.  New faces will greet us at new gyms & memories of old ones will linger.  For Lady Tiger Lauren Hill, the beginning and the end have come too soon.  Along with those who have known her and others who have only heard her story we hope that #22's memory will hang high in the rafters.  CGS.

Monday, October 27, 2014

end of october

Falling leaves & dropping temps - can the swish of nets be far behind?  CGS.

Monday, September 1, 2014

a little more

"Every story & journey has a beginning.  This one started with a framed picture in my bookcase - a picture of the 1937 Versailles Frenchies boy's basketball team. My father is in the left corner of this photo, the team manager.  That is all I know about the image.  I don't know where they played or what their record was, don't know the names of the players or what became of them.  What I do know is that they played high school basketball in Indiana."  

And with that, our journey to historic Indiana high school gyms began.  From Vevay to Rushville, Loogootee to Richmond.  So far, we have enjoyed every mile, every game, every tale.  Who wouldn't like to watch Spence Schnaitter touch Madison's State Championship trophy after more than sixty years or walk 97 year old Loretah Blake back into the Paris Crossing gym.  And now I know a little more about the photo that jump started this story.  Hidden away in the pages of a family history album was another picture - this one a newspaper clipping proclaiming, "Versailles High School's Sectional Hope."  There they are: Bill Braley, Bill Spencer, Quentin Hooton - the Versailles Frenchies (not yet the Lions or Raiders), ready for their march to the tourney.  And after that, to graduation, to war?  I don't know, but maybe by the time this journey ends, some of those stories will be told.  CGS.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

welcome to knightstown

In a 1951 locker room Coach Norman Dale is repeating the simple game plan to his young Hickory Huskers, "how many passes are we going to make before we shoot?" "Four," comes the response.  Then up the stairs they go, the door swinging open to the sounds of pep band music & cheers.  If you've come this far on our hardwood journey, you most likely know the rest of the film "Hoosiers."  Maybe, like many others, you've asked, "have you been to Knightstown?  What about New Castle?"  Until last week the answer to both was no, not yet.  New Castle's appeal is size (the largest high school gym in the world) and Knightstown - hopefully more than a credit line.  But the time seemed right, so on a perfect midsummer day we headed north and to our surprise found an old gym (built in 1922 and refurbished in 1936 with WPA funds) full of life.  There are souvenirs for sale, tourists from all points guided by celluloid memories, but every day a group of Knightstown boys (current & former Panthers) meet to play ball.  And play ball.  Subbing players in and out, the games go on - 4, 5, 6 hours a day.  They take breaks for water and let visitors snap photos of the gym, but then it's back to work.  Watching is hypnotic - old wood echoing the rhythmic pounding of the ball.  And like an endless reel, Gene Hackman's voice whispering, "welcome to Indiana basketball." CGS.