Sports Facilities I Never Imagined

On August 11, 2011 · 7 Comments

My mind fixates on patterns and I’ve noticed a number of unusual sport coincidences in recent days. It started with an acquaintance who mentioned that she was tired of Reno, Nevada and didn’t want to go back there again this year. I knew she wasn’t much of a gambler so I wondered why she would go to Reno in the first place.

Bowling

Well, she explained, she participates in bowling tournaments throughout the United States. The National Bowling Stadium puts Reno at the epicenter of that universe.



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National Bowling Stadium? There’s a stadium for bowling? Indeed, and it’s quite impressive: 78 lanes; 363,000 square feet; space for 1,100 spectators and a giant geodesic dome creating a recognizable landmark throughout the city. The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority says:

Bowling is kind of a big deal in Reno. While most cities have bowling centers, we have a stadium. That’s right – a stadium. The only facility of its kind in the world, the National Bowling Stadium (referred to as the ‘Taj Mahal of Tenpins’ by The Los Angeles Times) is dedicated to the classic sport of bowling. Living up to its name, the Stadium was elegantly designed with the tournament bowler in mind.

My favorite facts (from a news article):

  • Originally the stadium was supposed to have 80 lanes. It was reduced to 78 lanes due to an architectural error. Nonetheless, they still call the pro shop "Lane 81."
  • Reno has now edged-out Buffalo and Toledo for the most U.S. Bowling Congress open championships held there. No, I don’t know why that fascinates me. I guess it’s because it seems like a weird list.
  • No local bowling is allowed so you can’t just walk in and play a few games, but
  • It is available for private parties. Do I even know 1,100 people I could invite?

Cricket

I stumbled upon Cricket as I researched Blank-to-Blank, specifically as I uncovered a reference to the Hobson Cricket Grounds in Climax, NC.



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This is clearly not a baseball field. It is dedicated solely to cricket, which seems to be an unusual choice for North Carolina. Likewise, that would probably be true for just about any place in the United States.

Cricket arrived in recent decades as part of the cultural identity of immigrants primarily from South Asia. It may not have created a critical mass yet, although it continues to grow and spread steadily. Leagues sprout and thrive wherever Cricket-loving people settle. The North Carolina concentration permeates throughout the Triangle through organizations such as the Mid-Atlantic Cricket Conference and the Carolina Cricket League.

Perhaps this should be expected with the steady stream of highly-educated South Asians attracted to the many fine universities and research facilities nearby. There are actually several Cricket fields in the area. It was simply a coincidence I first encountered Hobson, home of the High Point Cricket Club.

The growth is by no means confined to the mid-Atlantic. It is a much more widespread phenomenon flying largely beneath the radar.


Curling

I have to admit that Curling confounds me. I guess one has to grow-up watching rocks slid across sheets of ice while men sweep brooms furiously to alter trajectories, to truly appreciate this cerebral sport. When I think of Curling, places in Canada and far-northern parts of the U.S. like the Dakotas, Minnesota or Wisconsin come to mind.

Would you believe Coral Springs, Florida?



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I discovered this through the USA Curling website — "one of the fastest growing sports in the United States." This led to an interactive map of all Curling clubs throughout the nation. There is a surprising quantity of clubs extending deep into the south, although the Coral Springs instance falls the furthest from the intuitive range.

This 10-team league plays at the Saveology Iceplex, which also doubles as the practice facility for the Florida Panthers ice hockey team. Also notice, totally unrelated, how starkly the Everglades begins just west of the facility. This hardly looks like the snow belt.

Are there instances of other unusually located sports facilities? I mean, more unusual than say, an American Football field in Europe or golf in Greenland. I’d love to discover more.


Totally Unrelated

The folks at Google Sightseeing offered me an opportunity for a guest post based on something we discussed recently on the 12MC, resulting in the article Pigtail Auto Loops. Those of you who contributed in the comments of the original discussion will notice your online name included in the footnote. Thanks again to all!

Geography

On August 11, 2011 · 7 Comments

7 Responses to “Sports Facilities I Never Imagined”

  1. Craig says:

    I don’t know that this counts as unusually located, but the Woodlawn Museum in Ellsworth, ME plays host to Woodlawn Croquet, “Maine’s only, and largest, tournament sized croquet court” at 85 feet by 105 feet.

  2. Peter says:

    Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx has the biggest cricket facility in the United States, with about ten fields (or “pitches”). If I’m not mistaken most of the players using the facility are immigrants from the West Indies.

  3. Peter says:

    Hit “post” on my prior comment too soon … about the most exclusive sports facilities in the United States are the indoor courts used for Court Tennis (the predecessor of the modern sport). There are fewer than ten courts in the entire country.

  4. Josh says:

    I’m surprised this wasn’t mentioned: Pyongyang baseball diamond: http://g.co/maps/8c69e. Though it looks like it is being teared down.

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