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And Another Thing

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The Wigwam, and better days

So imagine my surprise this morning when I opened up the New York Times and saw half the sports front taken up with a picture of one of my old stompin' grounds.

The death of high school basketball as a cultural touchstone in this state is an old story that a whole lot of people (including me) got to before the New York Times. But seeing the Wigwam again in all its glory ..... lord, did that bring back the memories in a flood.

If you weren't in the 'Wam or the Muncie Fieldhouse or Chrysler Fieldhouse in New Castle on a Friday night in the '70s and '80s you never saw Indiana high school basketball in its full glory. I did, as a young sportswriter for the Anderson Daily Bulletin during that time. I count it to this day as one of the the great good fortunes of my career, or whatever it is I've been doing for the last 35 years.

Had to laugh, reading this piece, at the fact the Anderson Indians now play in the old Madison Heights gym, and cover the pirate mosaic on the wall (Heights' nickname was the Pirates) with an American flag. I can see the steam coming out of the ears of some of my old Madison Heights friends at that. And seeing that gym decked out in all that hated Anderson red-and-green must put them halfway in their graves.

It reminded me of the time I went back to Anderson as they were getting ready to close Heights and move Anderson High into its building. I was doing a story on all the changes, and when I finished my reporting I walked out of the building with an old Madison Heights coaching acquaintance.

As we reached the front door, he looked down at the carpeting, which was Madison Heights black-and-red.

"I suppose this will be red-and-green next year," he said, or words to that effect. "Makes me sick."

He probably wasn't kidding.

Ben Smith's blog.

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