By J1 Reporter Maddie Mingo
Hand and face collide as a heart-wrenching scream erupts from the court. Players turn to see a Crusader with her head held high, and blood trickling down her face.
She trots to the free throw line where she awaits the ball from the referee. Slowly, time ticks away as subs walk in and officials disagree with who committed the foul. With every passing second, crimson drips to the floor.
For as long as Marian students can remember, reddish-brown spots have adorned the West Gym floor, near the free throw line on the south side of the gym. Some students agree with junior Kaitlyn Baysa, and believe that the spots are blood marks left after an intense game or practice. “It’s definitely blood, but no one knows whose it is, or when it got there,” said Baysa .
However, others know more about the long forgotten secrets hidden within the walls of the gym. These mysterious red-brown spots along with boarded-up windows show how time has hidden the history of the West Gym.
Officially added onto the school in 1966, according to The Spirit of Marian by Susan Rosenlof, the West Gym became the hub for all things extracurricular. It hosted games for volleyball and basketball, new physical education (P.E.) classes, plays and even musicals.
Today, however, the West Gym serves as a backup to the East Gym. Varsity games are played in the East Gym, P.E. classes use the East Gym, and the new Performing Arts Center hosts plays and musicals. All that remains for the West Gym to host are reserve and freshman games, mascot-making, and the occasional dance.
Sometime between the past and present mysterious red spots appeared on the West Gym floor. Many students side with Baysa and believe the spots are blood marks, but some faculty members have a much different opinion.
“It’s not blood,” Varsity basketball coach and math teacher Mrs. Lisa Schmidt said, “I think it’s maybe paint from mascots or some type of wood staining.”
Along the same line of thought, Ms. Ronda Motykowski, the Dean of Discipline said, “I think it was paint from Field Day that wasn’t cleaned up properly.”
While the initial cause of these red-brown spots remains a mystery, the theory behind the West Gym having windows has been proven as a fact.
From the opening of the West Gym in 1966, to the addition of the East Gym in 1997, windows lined the West Gym walls. Light could be seen streaming in through the eastern and western sides of the gym. For plays and musicals these windows were boarded up in order to keep the gym as dark as possible.
Motykowski recalls what she remembers most about the windows in the West Gym.
“Before the East Gym was added, all games were played in the West Gym. Where the scoreboard table is during games, right above that there used to be windows. I guess they’re still there but covered up. During the winter when basketball games were played in there, and it snowed, the windows would leak.”
With the addition of the East Gym, the need for windows in the West Gym became close to none. The windows were covered up and have stayed that way for 18 years now.
The last secret from the West Gym to debunk deals with the first scoreboard installed at Marian. In 1971, when Title IX passed, the gym had athletic teams but no scoreboard or bleachers. A booster club formed in hopes of raising money to purchase even one of these items.
While the fundraising ensued, Pepsi Cola made an offer to give the booster club a scoreboard if the school agreed to put two Pepsi vending machines in the cafeteria.
Both logos displayed on the scoreboard appear a bit out of date now. Since its installation, the Pepsi logo has changed four times, and the Marian logo twice.
When asked about why the scoreboard still bears the Pepsi symbol today, Mr. Roger Wright, former JV Basketball Coach and current Math teacher said, “I’m not sure why they haven’t taken it down. I know we used to have a contract with Pepsi where they would pay for the scoreboard if we offered their products at games.”
Today, the Marian concession stand does sell Pepsi products for home games.
This mystery, along with the boarded up windows and mysterious red-brown marks show how time has hidden the history of the West Gym. While the true cause of the red-brown spots still remains a mystery, the question about windows in the gym has been answered.
Lastly, the scoreboard sponsored by Pepsi represents a time in Marian history when the Booster Club needed funds, and a gracious donor helped them out. Part of that history lives on today with every Pepsi product sold by the concession stand.