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Wooden Cathedrals, Hoosier Hysteria, and the spirit of youth!

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana

As a former high school assistant football coach for 17 years, New Year's Day has always been associated with football.  As an avid Oklahoma fan during the Switzer era I can fondly remember many a New Year's night glued to the TV watching my beloved Sooners in the Orange Bowl!  I even saw OU win the national championship at the Orange Bowl down in Miami in 1986!

Perhaps feeling my mortality and reflecting on my Hoosier school days I made a New Year's Day pilgrimage to THE WOODEN CATHEDRAL down in Indianapolis at Butler University.

 

I attended a college basketball game at Butler University in Hinkle Fieldhouse, and it brought back all those memories of the halcyon years of the Indiana High School basketball tournament in the Hoosier state.

Hinkle Fieldhouse is a NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK.  It was built in 1928 with 880,000 bricks and as you enter the fieldhouse you feel the history of this grand dame of Indiana basketball.  It hosted the storied Indiana High School basketball tournament from 1928 through 1971(except for three years during WW II when it was used as a barracks), and if you saw the movie, Hoosiers, you have seen Hinkle Fieldhouse! 

As I watched Butler and Valparaiso warm up in Hinkle before the game the fieldhouse reminded me of Indiana's love affair with basketball.  The New York Times and USA Today have written articles how Indiana has 14 of the 15 largest high school gyms in the world.  Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse had the largest  seating capacity(15,000) of any gym in the U.S.  through 1950.  With revised seating(11,000+) Hinkle Fieldhouse is not much larger than Indiana's top five high school gyms which are the largest in the world:

                              NEW CASTLE                                9,325

                              ANDERSON High                           8,996

                              EAST CHICAGO Cental                  8,296

                              SEYMOUR                                     8,110

                              RICHMOND                                   8,100

Loogootee is a tiny school in southern Indiana and has a high school enrollment of just over 300 students yet it's gym seats over 4,500 people!  Hoosiers take their basketball seriously. 

Over 41,000 people watched the final game of the Indiana high school state basketball tournament in 1990 in the Hoosier Dome. 

Indiana changed its single class basketball tournament to class basketball fifteen years ago and things just aren't the same.  Gone are the intense rivalries and local sectional games and all the excitement of the tournament.  It was fun to see the Butler school spirit that so embodied the high tournament of the single class basketball of Indiana's past. 

As I watched the game it brought back all those tournament memories of AVID fans, cheerleaders who CHEERED, and very few empty seats in the house.  Butler showed why they were one shot away from being the NCAA champion last April in Indianapolis where Duke held on to win the title:  relentless defense, disciplined passing and shot selection, and unselfish play.

The favorite part of my afternoon, surprisingly, was AFTER the game which the Butler Bulldogs had won.  Why?  LOOK AT THE PICTURE!

The Butler Athletic Department allowed kids, adults, would be Jimmy Chitwoods, in effect ANYONE, to come onto the fieldhouse floor and truly celebrate all that is Indiana basketball.  I know for a fact that in just about any university in Indiana and most high schools the gym floor is sacrosanct and the parishoners are not allowed to worship on the hardwood of the wooden cathedrals before, during, or AFTER the game!

How wonderful to see boys and girls shooting hoops with their OWN basketballs after the game that the Butler officials generously allowed them to bring into Hinkle Fieldhouse.  It was a celebration of basketball just like the tournament atmosphere I grew up in.  Kids, Parents, Grandparents!

Not everyone in Indiana is a future basketball player.  Can you guess what game the little girl (on the "U" in "BUTLER") was playing while her brother shot baskets?  She was waiting patiently for about five minutes for three other sedentary children to vacate the space and she then proceeded to play a self improvised game of Hopscotch by herself!   How creative and how wonderful for Butler University to allow the enthusiasm of youth!  It was a joy to watch the spontaneity of play, picture taking by families of the Butler Bulldog in the center of the basketball court, and families enjoying the warm atmosphere of a steel, brick, and glass structure that many would view as an anachronism in the modern concrete jungle of new and bristling basketball arenas.

It was a fun and reflective day to celebrate a grand old house, a tournament atmosphere of childhood days gone by, and yet begin a new year recharged by the vitality of youth, the spirit of play, and the endless possibilities of what can be! 

2011 is going to be a GREAT YEAR!

Posted by

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Looking for a home in Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County or the surrounding area?

I would love the opportunity to help you realize your dream of home ownership, or finding that investment property that is right for you.  I am committed to quality service and will work hard representing your interests.

 

 

Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Myrl, thanks for a return visit to check on my answer.  I am waiting for a gender equality BLUE T-shirt from Indiana University that says:            

                                            HOOSIER DADDY?

 

Feb 08, 2011 05:10 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Just stopping by to wish you continued success!

 Life is good!

Feb 08, 2011 11:12 PM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Thank you Roy.

Feb 08, 2011 11:16 PM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Hi Bruce,

Thank you for stopping my post this morning.  I think we played phone tag a couple of weeks ago.. I'll try again soon.

Hope all is well in Lafayette Indiana!

Feb 10, 2011 11:38 PM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Hi Judi,

We have lots of beautiful snow and some of it may start to melt as it is supposed to get up to the 40's next week.  The only thing we are lacking right now are some of those incredibly colorful cardinals that you have!  Thanks for stopping by!

Feb 11, 2011 12:26 AM
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Bruce  I was just checking in to see if there were any new posts I could comment on

Feb 12, 2011 03:02 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Hi Karen, no new posts, but you might enjoy one I did in June 2010 on the anniversary of The Battle of Midway.  ^_~

Thanks for stopping by and checking!!!

Feb 12, 2011 03:17 AM
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Bruce, I've figured it out.  You're seeing how many comments you get on this post. I bet you're going for world record!  We want more!

Feb 12, 2011 10:17 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Kate, perhaps if I waited about 20 years I might be in the running.  ^_~

Feb 12, 2011 10:32 AM
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hi Bruce, I hope that all is going well in your neck of the woods.  Hope the family is doing well and you are all staying warm.

Feb 13, 2011 02:51 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Hi Sandy, it was an exciting night as the McCutcheon High School Lady Mavericks defended their sectional title in girls basketball!  They will go on to play in the regional next week!  Hoosier Hysteria still lives in the girls state basketball tournament!

We are now in a thaw cycle and spent all day yesterday getting rid of the ice dams above our garage and entry!  See what you are missing!!!   ^_~

Feb 13, 2011 03:18 AM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to get to a San Diego State game this year since they are ranked #6 in the nation, especially since the arena is only a mile from me. I could walk over there!

Feb 13, 2011 11:56 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

I didn't know that Russel about SD State!  I think you should get over there!  One of our area volleyball players has a scholarship to play volleyball next fall at SDS!

Feb 13, 2011 12:07 PM
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

My Mom is getting a bit of Hoosier Hysteria, she wants to go see her brothers in Indiana and Illinois this year.   Perhaps we'll have time to visit the Hinkle Fieldhouse.....

Feb 16, 2011 08:02 AM
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

My Mom is getting a bit of Hoosier Hysteria, she wants to go see her brothers in Indiana and Illinois this year.   Perhaps we'll have time to visit the Hinkle Fieldhouse.....

Feb 16, 2011 08:02 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Mary, am I to understand that "we" includes your mom and YOURSELF?  Evansville or Indianapolis is a great HALFWAY meeting point between Colorful Colorado and West Lafayette!  ^_~

Please let us know if you are going to make the trip, why I'd even wash and wax Old Red for the occasion!

 

Feb 16, 2011 08:16 AM
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Great article, and great photos, Bruce! Your post sure takes me back to my college days. I, too, love the photo of the little girl in the center of the court. And with the phenomenon of Hoosier Hysteria, she may also get the bug and become a great ball player (like Gordy Hayward's sister.) I'll be texting you a play-by-play on Saturday. I can hardly wait! (I told Clooney NOT to call me during the game. He is such a pest. :)

Mar 29, 2011 12:09 PM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Gwen, basketball is such a great sport in Indiana, and believe me the girls can play!  My former school(McCutcheon)  was one game from the state championship and  near by Benton Central lost a heart breaker in overtime in the state championship game earlier this month.  Clooney?  Doesn't surprise me!  I heard he likes older women like. . . . . .  Betty White!   ^_~

Mar 29, 2011 12:21 PM
Elizabeth Byrne
Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, VA
Arlington Virginia Real Estate

Bruce, great story and photos. Hinkle Fieldhouse is an amazing building, with a big capacity. How do 300 students generate 4,500 spectators? Unbelievable! Hoosiers must really love basketball to go to games of kids that are not even theirs! Thank you for visiting my posts about cherry blossoms.

Apr 02, 2011 04:19 PM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Elizabeth, Hoosier basketball is really special.  Right or wrong there is no other state in the Union that has such large gymnasiums for its high schools.  People come out and support their basketball teams.  It really develops a sense of community!  I really look forward to reading more of your posts, Elizabeth.  The Washington D.C. area is so incredible!

Elizabeth, on a side note, the team I watched on New Years Day in Hinkle Fieldhouse is playing for the NCAA national basketball championship on Monday night!  THE BUTLER BULLDOGS!!!

Apr 02, 2011 04:34 PM