Sports Column

Nelson: Local boys hoops keeps nostalgia flowing


I was wondering if I would have any post Super Bowl letdown.

That answer was a resounding “no” because of all the local activities.

It has been a fantastic couple weeks from a personal perspective.

Yes, the NFL season is done, and of course, I miss all that.

Plus, things didn’t work out and I didn’t get back to South Dakota to work at a basketball tournament that I have covered many times.

But the trade off has been excellent, with all the basketball I have been immersed in recently.

First, thank-you’s to the many folks who have mentioned something about the nostalgia stories that ran in connection with the game at the old Crawfordsville High School Gym. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

I kid you not, there is a memory in every person who walked across the threshold of that old gym.

Matters not if it was a player, a fan, a parent, a band member, whatever. Because of how that gym was used, it was a once, maybe twice a year stopping spot for every school-aged kid in the county.

Each of the 31 County Tournaments and 31 sectionals played there was a special moment in time for everyone who grew up in or were part of that era.

As I started to do the research for the stories, it became clear that the project was going to be a lot bigger than just a run-up piece for that nostalgia game.

There are common memories, of course. Some game highlights or names are etched into the floor, the seats or the walls.

Some are the same topic, with a different take. Like going to the Strand Theatre. Like the seating at the old gym when your team was not playing - not so hot. What was easily remembered was hot hot it was back then, and 30 years later.

What is universal is that the memories have never faded, and will never fade. The folks I talked to sounded like they had just finished a game or gotten off the pep bus.

The same held true for the Crawfordsville High School folks.

They had to go to school while the county tourney was going on (some great anecdotes there) and of course, during sectionals they were the hated big guys on the block. Nothing binds you closer than knowing you have only a few friends close near by.

The CHS teams, of course, were remembering the many games, the rivalries, the upsets, and the wins (and a couple losses). Their memories totally different, but the same. From a different angle, but with the very same theme. It was truly a special place.

It was an honor to talk with the many folks who shared their memories, and trust me when I say there are thousands more where those came from.

Just ask anyone who was there. They will tell you.

The second really fun part came last week as Fountain Central won their sectional tournament.

It had only been eight years since the last, but it was 50 years since the first, and it was fun to tie the two ends of that string together. It’s amazing how memories sear into a conscience. A couple of the guys from the ‘73 team remembered the game, the opponent, the score, the celebration. To the exact point, to the exact night. The guy who coached the last sectional championship was there, as was the dad of the current coach, who was an assistant on the ‘73 team. All there, memories at their fingertips. I know we all wish the Mustangs the best of luck on Saturday as they head to Case Arena in Frankfort for the regionals.

In the meantime, I’ve got a couple trips to Indy for more Pacers games. We shall see if they can hit 200 some night.

Then, on Sunday, we can start looking at brackets.

But that’s for the other columnist.

Safe travels.

Jeff Nelson is a frequent contributor to the Journal Review and works professionally for Fox Sports assisting with NFL broadcasts and the Indiana Pacers.