By: Paige Cline
Some of you (a lot of you I hope) read here before that the county was once full of truly unique gymnasiums. Those too young to remember have asked if that’s the way they really were. Well, it was.
Basketball in those days was in the formative years of what would become famous statewide as “Wyoming County Basketball.” And gymnasiums were part of that evolution.
Early on there was little money and no overall plan for sports facilities.
Thus, budgetary constraints, available space and limited foresight resulted in the variety of gyms in county schools.
Today’s gyms only resemble those of bygone days in that they still have a goal at each end of the floor. In the spacious gyms of the new Westside and Wyoming East schools there is room for at least two of the older versions. In basketball crazy Wyoming County, folks who wanted to convince us that consolidation is somehow the answer to all our education woes, economic and otherwise, they threw in big, shiny gymnasiums.
The high schools that were vacated had been existence long enough to have established a rich history that the new schools will be hard-pressed to equal. When they were new, they appeared just as awesome as the new schools today.
In 1951, when the gym at Pineville was in its first year, it was designated as the site to determine the Class B representative in the state tournament.
At that time only one team from the North and one team from the South went to the state tournament in that class.
It was a big deal and the Pineville gym was considered to be one of the best at that time.
Even then, it was evident that the new county gyms did not have adequate seating for the bigger events. They were just better than the old ones.
As a side note, there was an interesting phenomenon afoot in the area regarding sportsmanship.
Somebody, probably an area newspaper, took note of the growing fan concern about the general lack of sportsmanship and lack of respect for officials, the opposing team and fans. They offered a trophy to be awarded at the end of the season to the school deemed to be the best sports.
There would be judges in the crowd at each game.
Can you imagine a player going to the foul line to shoot foul shots which could tie or win a tournament game or a game with a fierce rival, and the cheerleaders wave their arms to quiet their own fans while the opposing player shoots his fouls?
Not only would that kind of thing not be done today, it would appear to be ridiculous to suggest such a thing. Poor sportsmanship has become acceptable. Almost anything goes short of throwing bottles or shooting firearms.
Times have changed.