Hi there! My name is Matt Rhinesmith. I was born in Muncie, but only lived in the great state of Indiana for a year before college. I’m currently a senior at Butler studying electronic media and journalism. I am a passionate sports fan and hope to get into the field after graduation. I hope you enjoy reading about all Indiana has to offer!
“Welcome to Indiana Basketball.”
I am left with a new appreciation for those famous words spoken by Coach Norman Dale in the movie “Hoosiers”. I was able to visit the gym where a majority of the movie was filmed.
Despite living all over the country for most of my life, I was raised believing that Indiana is the premiere basketball state in the United States. My mom grew up in Anderson and saw Steve Alford play her Madison Heights Pirates every year. My dad, a Warren Central grad, spent his high school years as the radio voice of the Warriors. Indiana and basketball were synonymous, that’s what I always believed.
After my visit to the Hoosier Gym, I can see that my thoughts were not misplaced. Upon walking through the original heavy, wooden doors, the smell of hickory (same as the name of the fictional high school in the movie) greets you. In front of you is a ticket booth built in the 1940’s. When I walked in, I could hear the dribbling of a basketball on the court. The gym has taken on the role of a community center now and is open everyday for anyone to come in and get some shots up. I walked down the creaky floor, looked up at the original wooden rafters and picked up a ball, took a shot from beyond the three point line and drained it. I didn’t take another shot the entire afternoon. I wanted to leave saying I made my first and last shot in the Hoosier Gym.
My grandparents and I were able to take a short, free of charge guided tour through some of the restored areas of the building. The locker rooms look the same as they did in the movie, all the way down to the writing on the white board. The words “Don’t get caught watching the paint dry”, spoken by Shooter Flatch during a game Hickory needed to win without Coach Dale, are written on the white board, one of the many touches of history around the place.
The final leg of our tour took us to a convention area that has been added on to the back of the gym in the last few years. Complete with a kitchen and several large rooms, the area can be rented out for everything from wedding receptions to business meetings. To read more about the gym and for rental information, access the gym’s website here.
I have grown up hearing about Milan High School’s improbable run to the state championship in the 1950’s. As a current student at Butler, I get to see part of the story everyday when I enter the doors of Hinkle Fieldhouse, where they won the state championship. With my visit to the Hoosier Gym, I completed my tour of Indiana basketball. I encourage you to do the same.