Updated Mon, Jan 27, 2014 5:29 pm
Every gym has a distinct quality to it--some custom characteristic that sets it aside from others. It exists solely to allow fans, players and coaches to claim it as their gym.
Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium was built to intimidate their opponent by carving out the perfect placement for their savage student section. When Syracuse plays, they hit the court surrounded by 35,012 seats under the massive Carrier Dome. These create a home-game experience unlike any other and give these arenas a distinguished feel.
Let’s take this idea and apply it to the basketball courts that populate southeast Ohio. There is one gym with innards that stand out among the others.
It belongs to the Eastern Eagles, and no, it is not because its seating is threatening, or because it lies under a towering dome. The unconventional architecture of the Eagles’ gym – aka “The Nest” – is what gives this court its reputation.
A pole. A pillar.
The rod took its stomping ground in the middle of the first row of the stands ever since the school was built in 1958. It towers up to the ceiling, making it an obstacle for the eyes of fans and is mocked by other teams in the TVC, but the Eagles do not view this as an obstruction. They embrace the pole and all of its unique attributes. Walk into Eastern’s gym for a Lady Eagles game and without a doubt, the boys team will be posted right next to the pole in the front row to cheer on the girls.
“We love the pole,” senior Chase Cook said. “It’s unique, no other gyms have it.”
They take advantage of the unconventional architecture in their gym. The Lady Eagles head coach John Burdette admitted utilizing the pole during practices by using it in drills and tying ropes to it.
The players and coaches never let any negative opinions of the pole bother them. They take pride in the pole and all its glory. Ross Keller of the Eastern boys team described that the pole means more to the team than meets the eye.
“Strength, support . . . it’s a pillar that picks us up," Keller said. "It’s a character-builder.”