What a joy and a priviiege it was to piay on that magnificent court! Arkansas’ renowned female basketball star, Hazel Walker, brought her team down from Little Rock to dedicate the new court in style. There were exhibitions matches between the famous Globetrotters and their rivals, the Washington Senators.
Our town had become the basketball capital of the area because we had the finest facility in the state. It did not seem to matter that we still had a dilapidated schoolhouse.
The first teams were coached and I might add, sternly I counseled, by our school principal who volunteered for the added commitment even though he already had an overextended schedule teaching math. I doubt he ever received any additional salary but the students would never forget the influence he had on their lives. The history teacher coached the girl’s team. The teams never won any great championships nor did any scouts scoop up any of our players to be professional stars, but By 1950, after the war had depleted the population to the point that the numbers necessary for a basketball team were impossible, the gymnasium began to lose its splendor. The bleachers were removed and classrooms provided for the children who were brought in big yellow buses to this first consolidated school system. Soon the vast impractical structure was torn down and dwindling school-age residents were bused to a larger town nearby. Today, there is nothing left to even denote that a school or a gymnasium was ever there. A few houses have been built to cover all traces of their existence.
It would all seem like a dream if it were not for a group of alumnae who dedded to come back to our town for a reunion. They started meeting in the Baptist church buiIcng next to the formerschool property. It has become an annual affair (however, is now held in the City Hall on v1ain Street the first Saturday of May). They reminisced abouttheir algebra classes, winding the maypole, the blue ribbons they won in county music competition, their teachers and the glorious days when crowds descended upon our town to bask in the bright lights of our fine gymnasium. The only remnant remaining of the school orthe gymnasium is a brass plaque on the sidewalk in the center of town, placed there by the surviving class members in honor of their old pñncipal, teacher, and coach
"What’s in it for me?", that question rings in my ears. Long ago, in our little town, I remember students playing for the sheer pleasure and pnvilege of playing. In the process they learned loyalty, persistenœ, and pride. Isn’t that enough!
Thank you Sissy for sending us down memory lane!