Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spiro did it right

I knew Spiro had a new gymnasium prior to Tuesday night.

Several people had told me how nice the gym was but wanted to see for myself. I am not easily impressed and didn’t expect to be surprised.

I went to the new gym Tuesday night to cover Spiro’s game with Poteau. I had been to Spiro’s old gym several times over the years, even played in it. The gym was a dump and needed to be sent out to pasture like the old gyms in Talihina, Heavener and Poteau, among others.

So when I pulled into the parking lot, I was surprised at the number of parking spots. I had been to the gyms at Sallisaw and Muldrow and was impressed.

As I walked to the entrance, I could see the chair-backed seats on both sides and the walkway leading around the court.

My first thought was whoever designed this facility did it right. Two concession stands, nice restrooms, plenty of room in the lobby, a nice stage area at the far end, even a scoreboard mounted from the ceiling in the middle of the court. This was the first time I had seen this at a high school.

They even had game clocks attached to both baskets. I made my way down to the court level and checked out the lighting. It was great! No need for a flash for my camera! Plus, there was plenty of room on the baselines so I could keep back far enough to avoid getting trampled by the officials while taking pictures.

I heard different numbers on the seating ranging from 1,400 to 1,600. That seemed about right. Plus, all the seats had backs on them. All the seats were also back away from the court with no seating at the bottom, although seats could be set up on the stage to increase the number of seats, if necessary.

The only negative I heard was that the railing is tough to see over if you are sitting in the first three rows. In the second game, I sat in the second row and had no trouble seeing the action.

I did not count the number of seats, but was confident more people could fit in Spiro’s gym than any other one in the county, including Carl Albert’s.

There was some talk about holding the finals of the county tournament in the new gym before it was announced Friday’s semifinals and Saturday games would again be held at UAFS.

Some coaches weren’t crazy about playing the finals at Spiro since it would not be a neutral location. I don’t necessarily blame them. But a facility this nice needs to be used as much as possible, such as all the semifinal games being held there with the finals held at UAFS since the crowd might be bigger than Spiro’s gym could held.

Seeing such a nice facility made me thing about how great it would be if a facility this nice with twice the seating could be built in Poteau. That way the county tournament would not have to be held across the state line and all the district, regional and area tournaments in the southeast could be held in Poteau.

With the economy struggling, it would be difficult to build a facility like that. But can you imagine the impact such a facility would have for Poteau and the county?

1 comment:

  1. You're right Craig. The county needs a big place to hold the county tournament. And it could serve for many events during the year, from graduations to concerts to big-name speakers to political functions, etc. - Jim Patterson