Guest Column: The spirit of the gym is alive

Bret Savage

Bret Savage

For the last 25 years I have had a fascination with gymnasiums. I’m pretty sure that alone doesn’t qualify me as a certified Gym-oligist, but I’m having fun piecing together why gyms are such an attraction to me and my family.

I love where I live, classic small town USA. Some may wonder what can you can do in a small town of 2,300 people? For me, that’s where the allure of the gym comes in. I live a mere 150 yards away from the Johnny Winterholler Gym, where my family and I have had so many memorable events happen over the years. Just to name a few…awesome basketball, volleyball, dodge ball, dance teams, wrestling events, pep rallies, 4th/5th grade music programs, dance marathons to raise funds for a good cause, graduations, cheer and sports camps, talent shows, motivational speakers, cyclists from all parts of the world resting after tackling the Big Horn Mountains, homecoming dances, proms (which have taken us to Paris, the islands and even back in time), and even a visit by the Beatles (…well, they looked and sounded a lot like them…). All this happened, and continues to happen, right outside my back door. How cool is that?

My gym interest stems from being both a spectator and a participant. You may ask why? Some of that comes from playing basketball, volleyball and band gigs over the years in some pretty weird gyms. In California our old church gym had a concrete and tile floor, and in New Hampshire we would stack the portable chairs that were used for Sunday meetings and play half-court basketball on the carpeted floor, so in Wyoming I was amazed to find a stand-alone church gym right here in Lovell.

Part of the gym fascination stems from musical encounters, also. I’ve had the privilege of playing for Christmas parties at the old Shell town hall (gym), a wedding at the once vibrant Emblem school gym and dances at the historic Cowley Log Gym of Jaguar fame. For band gigs, the gym intrigue is a blend of sound acoustics, stage arrangements, lighting and great memories of the various weddings, town gatherings and celebrations. On the basketball/volleyball side of the fascination is the flooring (hardwood vs. Tartan vs. concrete & Tile vs. carpet, etc.), the rims and backboards (soft, hard, crooked, glass, wood, Plexiglas, etc.), ceiling heights and the healthy spirit of competition.

For me, it’s been a great ride that continues today. I love the “spirit” of a gym, the excitement of the events and the memories that are made.

Each gym has its own history, and a school or town that calls it “home court.” For me, I feel an obligation to honor that history by being the best fan/band guy/participant I can be by showing respect and having good sportsmanship when in that gym. I feel that we have truly been blessed to have such wonderful local gyms in our area. What better way to show esteem to our memory-making gyms than to be a good sport…I’ll applaud a good play by either team, and I can show respect to visiting teams and their fans. For me, that’s the least I can do to honor that awesome “spirit” of the gym.

by Bret Savage

One Comment

  1. Mike Savage says:

    I enjoyed your insights on life in the gym. My memories are of gym class and climbing the rope and having to folk dance with the girls in 7th grade.
    Great article, little brother!
    Mike Savage

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