In the Bowels of The Gym, c1980

I probably shouldn’t admit this but I kind of miss the old gym. It had a certain . . . . shabby . . . . something. For example:

Gym check in c1980

Zoom in and check out the sign directly over the guy’s head: “Please Ask For T-shirt If You Need One.”

Sometimes people did need one:

Gym check in shirtless

The first fellow seems to have left his tennis racket behind. I imagine that if there were a third photo, we’d see him coming back to fetch it. Or was it checked out too?

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7 Responses to In the Bowels of The Gym, c1980

  1. Andy Arenson says:

    In case you didn’t know, the reason they had the sign asking whether or not one needed a t-shirt was that the standard issue set of clothes didn’t include it. I wish the gym I used these days would offer clean clothes every time I worked out. Would save me a fair amount of trouble.

  2. marmer01 says:

    I wore my Rice gym uniform proudly, including the pale blue poly-cotton T-shirt I had to ask for. Generally speaking, you were supposed to be wearing at least the dark blue Rice shorts and that’s how they could tell you were legit. I deeply miss the free uniform and free towels (and free gym.)

  3. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    I also miss the Rice gym, and have for over 55 years now.

    Rice had really top drawer basketball teams in those days, with All-Southwest and some All-American players. And the games were heavily attended. Our teams seemed to mean more to the students then than now, although I might be biased.

    Now only could I walk to it from old West Hall, I could get clean gym clothes, inside and out.

    I could engage in a plethora (thanks for that, Howard) of activities, alone or with other people.
    The others might be my friends or complete strangers, including Rice faculty, scholarship athletes (in their sport of expertise or other sports), people from Houston with NO connection with Rice other than privileges at the gym from one source or another, with an occasional sport ‘celebrity’ showing up for half-court basketball..

    Swimming, handball/raquetball/squash, volleyball, basketball, weight room (rather skimpy in those days though). Perhaps pool table upstairs in the jock inner sanctum if invited by one of them. Ping pong, outdoor tennis, archery, soccer (but few would participate back then), softball, football.

    Those were halcyon days, and along with Ma Hardy’s delights, the absence of any dormatory gastronomical temptations, and the distant locations of eateries (cars were so exceptional that anyone with a car could usually park it within a block or two or his dorm), everyone maintained a waist of 32 inches or smaller.

    “Ubi sunt … ?”

  4. Deborah Gronke Bennett says:

    The women’s locker room in that same era seemed much dimmer, less well-lit. I remember when I took Freshman PE that I had my own wire basket for my gym clothes. Later when I played intramurals I remember checking out a similar basket from a window. We, of course, got a T-shirt as standard issue. And didn’t we have to wear some kind of bloomers? (Or maybe that was one of my high schools, my memories are foggy)

  5. I remember the wire basket very well, and a lot about the old gym. I would add that the gym I use in New York when there on business, the Manhattan Athletic Club, provides uniforms, and as someone who does not lugging his gym bag on the train, they are much appreciated (as they were then at Rice).

  6. John Ely says:

    I was at Rice at the time of those photos, and the scene is familiar to me. We went to great lengths to liberate a pair of those blue gym shorts from the gym, and it wasn’t easy. I still have mine, and even if they still fit they are too threadbare to wear.

  7. Alex says:

    I did check in shirtless a few times, it was usually because you either knew you were going to be skins in a recurring pickup ball game or you just wanted to be!

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