History of former schools celebrated as Old Gym hosts ‘Throwback Games’
Since Patriot High School and Vevay High School merged more than 50 years ago, there has been long-held pride by alumni in their former schools, which merged to form Switzerland County High School.
But — as both alumni groups age — there is also a desire to make sure that the history of the schools is preserved.
A step in that preservation was the renovation what is commonly known as the “Old Gym” in downtown Vevay — unveiled to the public in August of this year.
The next step begins tomorrow night, as the current Switzerland County Pacer boys basketball team honors the heritage by playing in the Old Gym.
This Monday night, December 4th, the Lady Pacer basketball team will follow suit, playing in the Old Gym.
To honor the past, the Switzerland County teams will don retro “Vevay Warrior” uniforms for one half of the game; and then switch over to “Patriot Trojan” uniforms for the other half of the game. Which team and which half has not been revealed.
Tomorrow (Friday) night’s “Throwback at the Old Gym” will feature Switzerland County versus Clarksville; while Monday night’s game will see the Lady Pacers host Carroll County (Kentucky).
Relocating both games from the current high school gym to the Old Gym presents some challenges — including getting all of the fans into the facility. Seating, as one might expect, is limited.
“This is all in conjunction with celebrating all of the renovations that have taken place at the Old Gym,” Switzerland County assistant principal and athletic director Brian Graham said. “We reached out to all of our non-conference opponents, both on the boys and girls sides, to see if any of them might be interested in playing a game at the Old Gym. We had a couple of schools on each side reach out; and we ended up with Clarksville and Carroll County. We’re excited and very thankful to them for agreeing to do it. It should be a lot of fun and a great atmosphere.”
Graham said that putting both events together in the renovated space has also caused some stress, but it’s going to be worth it.
“We’ve put in a lot of time in doing this,” he said. “It’s one thing playing the middle school games in there; but it’s a little bit different when you’re playing a high school game. We want to make sure — like any game — that everything goes well without any incidents.”
The Old Gym — among other things — is a small gym; and that means that both games hold the potential to be crowded. To that end, the school is now pre-selling tickets for fans who want to make sure they have a seat.
“We’re basing everything on about 900 tickets,” Graham said. “We can seat a few more in there, but when you get that many people in there, it’s going to be very loud and there’s not a lot of extra room in there, so we’re sort of treating it like a Sectional game. We’re going to have workers in place blocking the court off. We’re going to have to control and monitor going across the floor to access the restrooms and concessions stands. We are going to have another concession stand open on the northwest side with limited things, but hopefully it will take a little bit of stress off of the main concession area”
With the tickets, the athletic director said that the school is encouraging fans to buy their ticket in advance. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the high school central office; or people can purchase and reserve tickets by calling the high school athletic office, with those tickets being available at the Will Call desk on game night. With colder weather hitting the community, getting tickets in hand early eliminates the possibility of a long line at the Will Call window on game nights.
“We want even season ticket holders and alumni to get their tickets in advance,” Graham said. “Their tickets are free, but we would like them to either stop in and get a ticket, so reserve it and stop at Will Call that night at Door Four. They can call and we’ll take their name down and have their ticket ready; just so we have an idea of how many people we’re going to be having and how many tickets we can actually sell at the door.”
Graham said that the school had 100 people reserve tickets on Monday — the first day that the tickets were available.
Graham said that school officials are even working on plans for the game officials. He noted that with only two locker rooms, there isn’t anywhere for the referees to change and get ready — but he said that the referees are really excited to be a part of the night.
The out of bounds lines for the court are also very close to the short wall that helps elevate fans; and the teams are currently expected to be sitting on the end of the gym near the stage — which could make things interesting as coaches Travis Wrightsman and Brooke Todd see to communicate with their on court players.
And — something that everyone who’s attended any event in the Old Gym in the past — it’s loud in there.
“We’re putting our students behind the north basket, so it should be a pretty great atmosphere.”
Graham said that the doors will open for alumni of Patriot High School and Vevay High School at 4:30 p.m.; with doors opening for the general public at 5 p.m. and tip for the junior varsity games at 6 p.m.