MARION — The world of sports is dominated by the likes of basketball, football or baseball, but what about lesser known sports such as duckpin bowling or pushball?
With a new exhibit opening later this month at the Marion Heritage Center & Museum, residents can learn about the origins and storylines of Marion’s rich history of sports — from the well-known to the obscure.
“We went back to the beginning of sports in Marion and, all of a sudden, we discovered these amazing stories that had to be told,” said David Brenzel, co-writer and designer of the exhibit, “150 Years of Marion Sports.”
“All along the way there have been these forgotten figures and facts, and we felt like now was the time to tell them,” he said.
The roughly six-month exhibit will open Sept. 29, right after the Swamp Fox Festival parade. During that parade, Lynette Brenzel, the museum’s executive director, will be pushing a regulation-size pushball — which measures close to 6 feet in diameter.
The center, 590 10th St., is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
It is the perfect location for such a sports exhibit, given that it housed the community’s first YMCA, David Brenzel said.
To celebrate the building’s history, the space will be decked out with basketball hoops and a shuffleboard court, he said.
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The exhibit itself will include photos, items and stories from the earliest years of Marion sports — including a tribute to the Marion High School football team’s 1980 undefeated season and championship victory. A video of the championship game will be playing at the center, David Brenzel said.
All told, the exhibit will showcase all facets of Marion sports, from the earliest days of women’s basketball to the attempt to make cricket a top local sport.
While looking back on local sports, David Brenzel said it’s important to explore why some sports, like softball, succeed, while others, such as cricket, don’t.
“I think some of the sports survived because of key figures who were just so dedicated and focused on the survival of the sport — a certain, ruthless even, focus that ensures they survive,” he said.
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