Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Timing is everything. We arrived at the Vernon Gym on a late afternoon in December, just as dance class was about to start. Vernon was consolidated into Jennings County High School and the old gym and part of the school is now a recreation center. As car loads of little girls rushed in the door and filled the upper class rooms a lone boy took to the floor. And, at age 9, Brady Lane owned that weathered, repaired old maple and I'm sure, the dead spots as well. Brady's grandfather, Jerry Lamb, probably knew the court a little better - he was a member of the Vernon Blue Devils, class of 1962. On display this night, passion passed on. CGS/MEK.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
I had begun to believe that the old gyms we were visiting could be placed into one of three categories - those still in use, either as high school, middle school or elementary; those that had been sold and turned into community recreation centers; and finally, ones that had either fallen into disrepair or total collapse. That was until I visited Paoli. Directed there by one of my advertising clients (who graduated from the new Paoli High School), I found the old school had been converted to housing. Although the gym has been gutted and turned into apartments, the design team preserved & restored much of the interior hall space, even mounting the old gym door in its original place. An added bonus - parts of the floor, letter jackets and photos remain. From 1927-1967 fifteen Sectionals were hosted, with Paoli winning 11 of them. "During those years thousands of young men and women played ball, performed in the band, danced, and grew up on this floor." And to the 1945-46 Ramblers, "Success is a mixture of 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." An equation that seems to have worked well for the old school. CGS.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Not every community is as lucky as Lawrenceburg. Even as their old gym comes down this week, plans are in place for the new one & a hope to be playing games by 2015. Time and school consolidation has not been as good to several of the places we have visited. Alfordsville, Butlerville and San Jacinto all supported high schools and varsity teams, although Butlerville was the only one to win a Sectional title (1926). All too soon these places will just be names on an old map. CGS.
Friday, April 18, 2014
The Lawrenceburg Tigers have a long tradition of basketball excellence - 29 Sectional crowns (6 on this court) and now, they will have a new home (structural damage necessitated the move). Most of the floor has been sold off to fans (the center logo will adorn the new athletic offices) but even as de-construction starts memories abound - old programs & candy wrappers swept under the floor, the proud tiger crashing through the wall and one last reminder to play like a champion. The good thing for old gym lovers - the new design harkens back to a time when architecture really mattered. CGS.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
When you live on a farm and love round ball, any flat surface ten feet off the ground becomes a home for your basket. As the years fall away and the backboard turns to dust, you improvise. Leave the hoop & paint the rest. And the color? Hoosier crimson and cream, of course. CGS.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The 2013-14 Indiana High School basketball season is over. When we started our journey back in October, the goal was to visit historic gyms, capturing a little of their essence and some of their stories. Well, we've exceeded our own expectations, having the good fortune to gain access to both. Sometimes we made our own, quiet discoveries. And then, there were the unexpected rides we took with the Jac-Cen-Del Lady Eagles, the Bloomington North Cougars and the Greensburg Pirates. Two Final Four teams and a State Champion - not bad trips to go on. The gyms are quiet again, waiting for next year's competitors and honoring those who have moved on. Which is what we will be doing - moving on to what we hope will be more great stories & pictures. CGS.