In my wanderings about the village, I get the occasional opportunity to get inside different buildings, some are older and designed for specific purposes as are the VFW hall, numerous SVF buildings and the MCDT studio. Many are older and re-designed from days of old, now with new proprietors conducting business; one-time banks are now a library and a pizza parlor.
I have been, for numerous reasons, in buildings on my alma mater, including the Auditorium, the library, cafeteria, War Memorial Stadium and the aforementioned admin building. Then I thought about the gymnasium and realized it had been 31 years since I have been inside the gym. Time to go again.
Now in order to make this column have some sort of cohesion, I must first tell you about my last visit to the gym. I was at the time working for the Greenfield News and one of my assignments was to cover a KCHS ladies volleyball championship game. I can’t really tell you the statistics of the game, but I can tell you it was a loud atmosphere. When the final outcome was in favor of the Lady Mustangs, the place was in an uproar with players and fans all over the court; and my job was to get as many photos as possible.
When the top-scoring player went into a hug with her top setter (if you know volleyball that relationship will make sense), they were on one side of the net and I was on the other so my only chance to get a shot was to shoot through the net. That photo appeared on the front page of the next issue and was submitted for award consideration for small circulation newspapers in the Western United States. It placed second and a nice little plaque was added to the wall, where hung many other Casey Newspapers awards. Now, fast forward to last Thursday evening.
I expected to be quite a bit out of my element having not been to a sporting event in the gym in over three decades, and over five decades since I attended rallies and games there as a student. The place looks marvelous. The grand color scheme of blue and white, a little splash of black, is displayed with broad stripes, a Mighty, Mighty Mustang mural, horseshoe prints, the words to the school song and banners citing the many championships of sports teams over the years.
Gone the wooden bleachers of old, the ones there now much more attractive, and stable. (Seeing them reminded me of the book written about an alternative view of sports, “Under the Grandstand” by Seymour Butz; but I digress). The overall impression of the gymnasium today is one of intense school pride and loyalty, both acceptable at this time of a student’s life. Given my situation, no connection to any player on the court, I didn’t figure on seeing any faces I knew. Wrong.
No sooner than I had made my way to about center court and went for a seat I heard “Steve” from a familiar voice and, behind a mask, a familiar face to go with the voice. I’m going to some name-dropping here, but only first names to save space. My greeter was Suzi, who is a former co-worker at the newspaper that I was working for at the time of my last visit to the gym. What a coinkidink.
I told I had not visited the gym since that championship game back in the early ’90s and she brought up the award-winning photo; that was kinda neat. And she explained she was at this game to watch her granddaughter play. Well, Suzi’s granddaughter is Will’s daughter, Aubrey (I hope I spelled that right), and because I work with Will at the Museum I know Aubrey because I know a few tractor drivers and she is one of them. Another coinkidink.
After a few minutes of watching the game, which can be pretty exciting at times, I looked down the row of players awaiting their turn to get onto the court, and I saw another face of a person I knew. And then another. Hayden was sitting two players away from Nevaeh, jersey numbers 12 and 13, respectively. I know these two athletes because I also know a few dancers, and these are two of the dancers that I know. Coinkidink number three; I was on a roll.
After watching the game for about 40 minutes I decided to check out the football game; Thursday Night Lights, who knew? On my way out the door I met Sarah; hers is a face seen often on the KCHS campus now, but it was also a face seen there during my high school years. We chatted a bit and I thought as I departed that that made coinkidink number four and that is enough for any evening. I headed to War Memorial Stadium.
I didn’t see a single play on the field. I arrived at the ticket table at the sound of the halftime horn, paid the nice student for a ticket and proceeded to walk around the east end of the stadium past the snack shacks and restrooms, up the home side stairs and down to the west end of the bleachers. And there among the throng of supporters were four faces making coinkidink number five. Penny and Elsie are two of my bosses at the Museum (they’re on the payroll, I’m a volunteer) and Vanessa is the big boss Jessica’s daughter. With them was Austin, he and I have worked backstage on a couple shows.
After a quick howdy, I headed out, said a quick hello to Steve, a fellow board member I work with, who was busy slicing meat for the Mustang Boosters, then bought a tri-tip sandwich and left just as the third quarter was beginning. Next time I’ll stay and watch some football. When I got back to my room I reflected on how nice it is to live in town where one sees friendly new faces in familiar old places.
Take care. Peace.