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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...

"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

H-gym photo essay, Part I

The H-gym new gym photo-essay, Part I: For quite some time now, people have been asking me to provide a photo essay as a companion to both my essay on the H-gym new gym and my Girmindl's Ghost essay that spends a lot of time talking about the trophy case tribute to the 1979-80 team. Well, I've done even better: I've revised both of those essays into more complete works (I had originally rushed them up when the blog first started) and I've decided to do the photo-essay in two parts. The first part will cover the area outside of the actual gym. Part II (which will apear sometime in the next week) will cover the inside of the gym. So let's get started. Since we'll be talking alot about the trophy cases today, I suggest you go back and read those essasy before proceeding. Then come back here and get started with the tour.

First off, you'll need to get your bearings. Here is an overhead view of the entire H-gym complex (minus the locker rooms and athletic office), which was added to Shaker in 1973. It's not perfect, but I think you'll recognize the hallway, the doors, the court, and the bleachers.

Let's pretend you just walked in and you are standing at the point labeled A, facing the point labeled B. Your view looks something like this:

You can see on the left some glass cases - that's where all of Shaker's sports memorabilia is stored. Up on the outline map, you can see the memorabilia case jutting out of the wall a bit. It has all of Shaker's sectional title plaques, as well as All-American certificatea, old league title trophies, balls used in famous games, and other stuff that belongs in a trophy case. And, of course, it has the memorial to Coach Girmindl and the 1979-80 basketball team. If you proceed down the hall and stop at point B, you'll be standing in front of that portion of the trophy case. Here's what you would see:

The entire right hand side (with the blue background draping) is the tribute to Coach Girmindl and the 1979-80 team. The only thing on the left that has to do with basketball is the #32 jersey, which was the jersey Sam wore when he was at Shaker. The right hand portion of the case was put together after Coach Girmindl died in 1983. The jersey was put there after "Sam Perkins night" in Februrary of 1987, when it was retired. As I've written in the Girmindl's Ghost essay, one problem with this tribute to the 1979-80 team is that it's not really a tribute to that team. It's a combination tribute to Sam and memorial to Jules. And when you stand there looking at it, that's how it feels. Perhaps that's how it was intended. Probably so. But it definitely makes it a cold experience to check out the 1979-80 team. Despite the fact that they were one of the greatest teams ever, looking at their stuff makes you feel about the same as you do when you are looking at the Vietnam Wall. It's creepy. Let's take a closer look at the items in the trophty case:

1) The Perkins Jersey: Anyone who sees the jersey for the first time and is under the age of 35 basically has the same reaction: holy crap, a dude who was 6'9" wore that jersey!?! It's just ridiculously small. Unless you grew up prior to the late 1980's, it's easy to forget just how tight-fitting basketball uniforms were prior to then. No way Vernon or Duclos is comfortable in that thing, and I'm pretty sure that it would just look ridiculous on Brad. It's probably about the right size for Bogdan. Hillarious. I do like the traditional look, though. Shaker has been through a ton of different uniform styles in the last ten years, none of which in my mind can be better than the traditional style they wore in the 1970's. I wish they'd go back to it. The style, that is, not the sizing. By the way, Shaker did have different home and road jerseys in the 70's - the road jersey was the opposite of the one pictured, all blue with white lettering. And it's also true that Sam didn't wear #32 on the road. He wore #33. They must not have had a #32 road jersey.

2) The top of the right hand trophy case: Four items are on the top shelf of the trophy case. Hanging on the back wall is a plaque that looks like a book. On the left "page" it says "In memory of JULIUS GIRMINDL" and on the right "page" it says "Varisty Basketball Coach, Shaker High School, 1963-1983." Like I said, it's a memorial. Down below are three items. On the left is a picture of Jules. In the center is his award for "coach of the year" in 1978-79 (the year prior to the one Girmindl's Ghost is following). I don't know who gave out this award, it doesn't say. It reads "Julius Girmindl, Coach of the year, undefeated Suburban Council, Class AAA capital conference champions, Holiday Tournament champions. 24-1." The third item is the News Center 6 award for coach of the year in 1978-79. It reads "News Center Six, Eastern N.Y. State, 1978-79, Co-coach of the year, Julius Girmindl, Shaker High School." I don't know who Jules shared the award with.

3) The middle of the trohpy case: In the middle of the trophy case are two things. Leaning against the back wall is the plaque honoring the 1979-80 team. It has a picture of the team on the top and underneath it has silver plating that is inscribed with the names of the players. It also says "Shaker High School Blue Bison 1979-1980, 23-1, Ranking: New York State #1; National #11." That's a bit disingenuous because when the season ended they were neither the top ranked team in the state (they were 2nd in the final poll) nor ranked #11 in the country. Those were simply their highest rankings of the season. But had they not lost and finished 27-0, they might well have gone even higher. Down below the plaque is the Capital Conference title plaque from 1978-79. The Capital conference is the region of New York that section 2 is in. After you win sectionals, you play against the Section 1 champ for the conference title. The winner goes to the state final four. If you'd like to read about Shaker's trip there in 1978-79 (the year prior to the year Girmindl's Ghost is following) check this out.

I don't have a picture right now of the bottom of the trophy case (I'll get one Friday at the game) so we'll move on to the other side of the hallway. If you go back to the map at the top of the post and pretend you were standing at point C and looking at point D, this is what you would see:

Point D is the Shaker Sports Hall of Fame, a collection of plaques that collectively enshrine Shaker students in our own little Cooperstown. It was devised in the mid-1980's, and dedicated on "Sam Perkins Night" in February 1987. Since then, Shaker athletes who have been out of school for at least 5 years are eligible to put in the hall. Students who graduated prior to 1987 were eligible at the beginning, so there are plenty of older athletes in there as well. There are about 110 people in the Hall.

Each plaque has a picture of the athlete, the years they played sports for Shaker, and the sport that they played. Although a number of people are in the Hall for "all-around athlete" who played hoops for Shaker. there are only two male plaques on the entire wall that say the words "basketball" on them. And both of those players - Sam Perkins '80 and Tim Cain '81 - played on the 1979-80 team. Here are pictures of the two plaques:

Obviously, everyone has heard of Sam Perkins. If you've never heard of Tim Cain, then you probably want to read this.

That concludes part I of the H-gym new gym photo-essay. In Part II, we'll head into the actual gym area and have a look around in there.

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