Saturday, June 21, 2014

brandt's barn

Like every good Hoosier dairyman, Elmer Brandt knew how to multipurpose a barn - milk cows below, hay storage & basketball court above.  It was a place for his young sons to learn about hard work and fair play.  But brothers will be just that and after the second trip to the local doc for more stitches, Elmer bent the hoop up into the air, ending the spirited games.  In later years, a basket made it's way back into the barn, quietly reminding the old post & beam that its presence was still important.  CGS.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

the war ball

The Batesville Bulldogs have a long history of basketball success - thirty Sectional titles, 10 Regional crowns and two Semi-State championships.  Their trophy cases are overflowing.  Nestled in the corner of one, we discovered a championship ball from 1943.  A Semi-State championship to be more specific.  After searching unsuccessfully for a corresponding trophy, we moved our hunt to more cases.  Failure.  Why would a school so steeped in basketball history (their first Sectional crown was in 1926) not have a trophy honoring a Final Four appearance?  Lost, stolen, misplaced?  AD Mark Ferguson addressed our concerns, "well, it was during the war."  Maybe all available metal and energy had been put into the war effort.  Those answers are better left to historians.  What we can imagine is, seventy years after the Allied invasion of France (D-Day), that every home front sacrifice, no matter how small, was made in the name of freedom.  CGS.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

paris crossing

Just over the Jennings County line, west of Route 3 on Indiana 250 sits an old gym that on a casual viewing could be mistaken for a church or school.  Once home to the St. Paris Pirates it was built in 1953 to replace one that arsonists burned in the late '40's.  If you find the right people (at Webster's Garage), who know the right people (the St. Paris Volunteer Fire Department), you might be lucky enough to gain access to the old gym that was last used for high school play in 1961.  And, if your luck is really good, you might meet 97 1/2 year old Loretah Blake, who played for Deputy from 1932-35 and remembers taking on the Lady Pirates during those dark days of the Depression.  As I've said already, we've met some great 'ballers' on our journey, but none quite as pretty as Ms. Loretah Blake.  CGS.