I went to a high school in suburban Chicago that was generally considered to be a basketball school. For the most part, when the school’s athletic department got any kind of money to spend, it all went to the basketball team. They had the nice court, the nice practice facilities, the new uniforms every year, all that stuff. I played on the football team, and needless to say, we didn’t get any of that crap. On our practice fields there were so many dips and divots in the ground that they caused more twisted knees and sprained ankles than anything else.
Which is why I should have gone to high school in Ohio. In Massillon, Ohio, there is Massillon High School, home of the Tigers. The school has a rich tradition in football seeing as how Paul Brown was once a history teacher and a football coach there. The school also has a rich tradition of having students who grow up to be rich and donate a bunch of money to it, allowing Massillon to build themselves an indoor practice facility for the football team.
The 80,000-square-foot building, which is 20,000 square feet larger than the Cleveland Browns’ indoor facility, doesn’t simply benefit the football team.
Most other prep sports at Massillon – whether it’s the golf team or baseball team hitting into the intricate net system, the softball squad staying warm in the middle of winter, the band fine-tuning its performance or the participants in the youth flag football league playing – take advantage of the enormous building.
We couldn’t even get new practice uniforms at my high school, though we did have an indoor field house, but they wouldn’t let the football team hold practice in there.
In case you don’t quite get the significance of a high school having one of these, consider that the practice facility the Tigers use at Massillon is not only bigger than the one the Cleveland Browns use, but that the Bengals — who, ironically enough, were owned by Paul Brown — don’t have one at all.
In other news, the school had to cancel it’s English and Music programs.