In the state of Indiana, there are numerous places to see and visit with a sports related theme, that don’t cost an arm and a leg,and are just a whole lot of fun.
I had the opportunity to visit just such a place a few years back with my Summer league baseball team.
If you grew up in Indiana, what is one of the biggest things that we are known for? Well, besides corn, it is the game of basketball. Even though it was invented on the East coast, it was here that high school and college basketball was nurtured and grew into what it is today.
Saying that, what is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about Indiana high school basketball? For me, it is the movie “Hoosiers.” Released in 1986, it starred Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, and Barbara Hershey.
The scenes in the movie that take place in the “Hickory Husker” gym, were filmed in a small gym in Knightstown, Indiana, which is about 20 miles or so East of Indianapoolis, a little ways off of I-70.
Many great scenes from the movie take place there. One of my favorites is when Coach Norman Dale (Hackman), refuses to let one of his players back in the game for not following instructions. He then has to play with only 4 players. According to that player, who is named Rade Butcher in the movie, and is played by Steve Hollar, it took 4 days to shoot that game & that sequence.
Another of my favorite scenes is when the coach “talks from the heart” to his team in the lockerroom after that first game.
When you get to the Knightstown gym, which is now used as a community center, you would never know that this is the famous gym. It seems so small. But once you get inside, it is still almost identical to how it was in the movie.
You are allowed to play hoops, go into the lockerroom, recreate some of the famous scenes from the movie, and all in all, just have a lot of fun.
If you are ever in the area, don’t miss out on a golden opportunity to visit a true “mecca” for basketball fans, the Knightstown gym.
As a sidenote, our family visited the Knightstown gym about a year or so after our baseball team did, and my 3 sons and I played a seven game series of two-on-two. We had the whole gym to ourselves for over 2 hours.