Old sports venues more than history
The gymnasium at Booth Memorial High School in St. John’s can only be called a throwback.
It’s a place steeped in history and walking into the venerable gymnasium is like taking a step through time.
It’s weathered hardwood floor, pullout wooden bleachers and old-style rims remind spectators of the days when players wore short shorts and high socks accompanied by Chuck Taylor sneakers.
Every squeak of sneakers reminds you of days gone by.
Every squeak of sneakers reminds you of days gone by. One can only imagine the great basketball games had between parking lot rivals the Booth Braves and the Bishops Barons over the years.
You have to marvel at the space that has stood the test of time. It is capable now, as it was when it was first built, to handle top-flight athletics. Its cramped space gives it that feeling.
It is a feeling that’s hard to describe. All you know is that you love it.
The cramped sidelines, fans breathing down your neck and the smaller court are things that just make the games feel better inside those four walls.
Athletes become inspired just because they’re playing in the old gym. Sure, the new gym is nicer, but the old one has character.
The same can be said for Bishops. Next season, St. John’s sports fans will lose both of those historic gyms when the new school is finished. They’ll lose the rivalry too, but that’s another story for another time.
Turning our attention homeward, we’ll likely be doing the same thing in a couple of years. The well-preserved gym at St. Francis in Harbour Grace, along with the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in the same community, are two such venues that we will eventually end up saying so long.
The S.W. Moores has seen it all when it comes to hockey in this province. Herder finals, professional players and minor hockey have all had their opportunities to shine in the 50-year-old arena.
At times, it seems every corner of the rink holds a different story featuring Alex Faulkner, Keith Delaney or Jim Penney. The rivalry between Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts and St. Francis bubbled there in front of fans that literally hung from the rafters.
The gymnasium at St. Francis is not close — as far as I know — to shutting its doors for good. And, that is welcome news.
Old venues like the ones in Harbour Grace are more than pieces of the community. Over time, they’ve woven themselves into the fabric of the area. They’ve become pieces of history in themselves.
Every memory, good or bad, adds itself to that history. They are more than just buildings. In some instances, they are living organisms.
They facilitate new memories amongst younger players. They add to the already impressive story being told by those places.
When we lose them, you can’t get them back. Sure, the memories remain with you, but they’re a bit more faded.