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
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.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
This morning I posted & deleted a story about the old Vevay Gym. We were told (by a reputable source) that there was debate underway about the future of the gym. When we questioned this rumor we were told that a petition to save the old structure was being circulated. After my post hit the airwaves we were quickly corrected - there seems to be discussion underway about tearing down the old school but not the storied gym. So much for rumors. In the end we're thankful that the gym appears safe and that our devoted readers have written a better end to this story. CGS.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
This game of basketball - this game that Hoosiers call their own is played in many places. On a recent trip to find new gyms I ran into summer road construction (more than once) and along those detoured routes I found more markers of our game, and where it's played. CGS.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Not only does Bluffton own 31 Sectional titles, many of those occurred right here, in this gym that rises cathedral-like from the maple floor. Although the Tigers have moved on to a newer school & gym, this temple of Indiana basketball has remained just that, a meeting place for the community, a place to bond with family and friends. Instead of packing the house on Friday nights, however, these friends gather on Sundays as members of the Life Community Church under the watchful eye of their "coach", Pastor Steve Surbaugh. As we have seen many times, basketball and religion seem to appear in the same sentence in the Indiana story. CGS.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Like a fortress on the frontier, the old Angola gym anchors our northeastern corner - only Fremont stands between Indiana and the foreign turf of Wolverines & Buckeyes. For the Lady Hornets of Angola this old gym is a safe and welcoming place; a place to hone your skills & learn about teamwork. And after graduation, a place where you are remembered and always welcome. CGS.
Monday, August 7, 2017
Sunken gyms seem to be an architectural standard in southern Indiana, protected from the surrounding environment, but up north gymnasiums rise from the landscape with sweeping arches, announcing their presence to all who pass by. Such is the case with Churubusco and Adams Central. Like twins separated at birth (they are 50 miles apart) these two structures have many of the same elements but most importantly they showcase spirit, hard work and a way forward for their students. I was lucky enough to witness volleyball camp at Adams Central and a private basketball lesson (Coach Chris Paul & 9 year old Caiden Malcolm) at Churubusco on an early summer day. Lucky to see young athletes attempting to soar like the architecture above them. CGS.