Free Essay

Lsu Museum

In: English and Literature

Submitted By alaws11
Words 1512
Pages 7
Dillon Smith
February 15, 2011
Exhibit Paper
“Home of the Champions”

LSU athletics can certainly be defined by its unique tradition, triumphant teams, dedicated fans, and unquestionable support from the entire city of Baton Rouge. Thanks to “Great athletes spanning the decades,” LSU’s athletic program has flourished into a charismatic powerhouse. Many of the memorable moments within LSU’s sports history can be found in the Jack & Priscilla Andonie Museum located on LSU’s campus. The museum began with an LSU alumnus, Jack Andonie, whose goal was to fill the museum with collections of LSU sports relics. He was a devoted fan with a passionate love for LSU. Andonie collected 13,000 LSU sports related items. The vast collection began to take over his home and his wife, Priscilla Andonie, forced him to make a decision between “Me or the stuff.” Arousing the construction of the museum in 2004, Jack Andonie decided to donate his valuable collection to LSU. Since then, the museum is fueled by donations from fans and other generous alumni. As I walked into the museum a picture of Tiger Stadium, also known as Death Valley, instantly caught my attention. This nationally recognized attribute tends to provoke feelings of excitement and pride in LSU fans. Looking around, I found myself repeatedly reading “Home of the Champions” signs. As I viewed the autographed relics, retired jerseys, and championship trophies, I soon realized the reality of that statement. LSU’s dominating athletic program is truly one of a kind. As I continued walking to the other exhibits I was approached by the museum’s director, Bud Johnson. Bud was an energy filled man who lived by the “Forever LSU” motto and thoroughly enjoyed sharing his passion of LSU with others. He knew everything there was to know regarding LSU and gladly answered all of my questions. When thinking of LSU, people tend to think of football. However, many people fail to know the extent of its long history. The front-left section of the museum explains LSU’s football history. Bud had written a book, The Perfect Season, regarding the 1958 football championship and was very anxious to show me this part of the museum. Although the first “season” of football took place in 1893, it did not become popular until 1908 when the sport existed as a combination of basketball and rugby. Tiger football instantly confined the minds of local townspeople and soon became an annual tradition. As the football team traveled to Auburn for one of their first away games, hundreds were in attendance. As Bud showed me a ragged football and team pendants from the game, it allowed me to feel the hardships and sense of triumph for that successful team and their 7-0 victory. Their trophy consisted of a wooden plaque with a simple gold engraved plate attached to it. Trophies were “much different than all of the glitz and glamour of today,” Bud stated. A replica of the current BCS championship trophy, also identified as a crystal football, can be found at the core of the museum. This connotes that football is the central program bringing together all LSU athletics. The more historic relics were located in the rear of the museum. These specific relics included a football from a game in Cuba, which was the first played football on foreign soil, and an LSU and Tulane flag. The flag served as a representation of sportsmanship and was given to the team who best demonstrated this conduct each year. This allowed me to see the origins of the traditional rivalry with Tulane, which I found very fascinating. Additionally, it showed me how football impels our connections with other universities. This particular section of the museum also contained a media room that is open to the public on LSU game days. The room consisted of several televisions that were playing football highlight films, sports video games, and media guides from past seasons. Moreover, the spirit program at LSU is a major part of the university. Exhibited in the back left of the museum are the Golden Girls, Cheerleaders, Tiger Girls, and “Mike the Tiger” mascot. The displayed uniforms, megaphones, pom poms, and photos signify the cheerleaders’ and Tiger Girls undeniable spirit for LSU sports. As a current member of the Tiger Girls dance team, I felt extremely honored to be a part of LSU’s athletic family. Also found in this section is “America’s Finest College Band,” also known as Tiger Band or the “Golden Band from Tiger Land.” This display provides a uniform, drum, trophies, and photos which portray the significance of this tradition at LSU. I suggested to Bud about adding some new photos and more current uniforms of Tiger Girls into the exhibit so that fans can see how the team has changed over time. A fan favorite is the display of the “Mike the Tiger” costume head. Mike’s presence at sporting events is sure to put a smile on any fan’s face as it did just by viewing his costume. The game day exhibit is truly the epitome of LSU. It shows the extensive fan base that drives LSU sports. From signs, costumes, and tailgating, fans have proved to be an integral part of this athletic program. Basketball is also a huge part of the history and success of LSU sports. Beginning with extensive displays of “Pistol” Pete Maravich, I learned about the all-time leading college scorer and his major contributions to LSU basketball. According to Bud who was fortunate to see “Pistol Pete” live in action, “he was far ahead of his time, and his hand strength and spontaneity on the court were truly unforgettable and nationally recognized.” I could see Maravich’s impact on LSU fans as Bud described to me in detail an outstanding play that the “Pistol” carried out in his years at LSU. Bud was enthusiastic as well as amazed at the ability and performance of Maravich. It was clear to me that Maravich set up the basketball program for a promising future. A lucky sock worn at each of Maravich’s games was on display from a loyal fan that bought it at an auction as well as a “Pistol Pete” brand of converse style basketball shoes sold years ago. The greats, Seimone Augustus and Shaq, overwhelm the following basketball display. Sharing the men and women’s jersey number 33, the two legendary athletes were pictured and their accomplishments were listed in bold as yet another positive impact on LSU’s basketball program. On the other side of the display were pictures of more present-day faces such as current New Orleans Hornets player, Marcus Thornton, Houston Rockets draft, Garrett Temple, and 2010 team star, Tasmin Mitchell. These faces were very familiar to me and brought something to the museum that I could relate to and experience. Among the many awards in the room stood a replica display of the Basketball Men’s Final Four trophy and an array of signed basketballs. Displays of all of the other sports at LSU were present in the museum such as golf, soccer, tennis, track, and softball. Baseball, another widely supported sport at LSU, was displayed with newspaper headlines reminding fans of their 2009 National Championship win. Seeing helmets, bats, and crystal and gold award baseballs reminds fans again of the exciting moments in the team’s history. Flags of current coaches hung above each sport showing fans the leaders of all of the great teams. The museum exhibits not only athletic memorabilia, but also photos of monumental pieces of LSU’s campus such as the Bell Tower, Quad, Honors College, and Journalism building. A photo from 1929 shows the early years of LSU’s campus without the union and beloved Tiger Stadium. This shows the amazing growth the University has experienced over the years. It also explains the athletic origin of many buildings on campus such as Coates Hall built for LSU’s first football coach and head of the chemistry department, Charles E. Coates. Former Athletic Director Carl Maddox now holds the title of the Maddox Fieldhouse, and Alex Box stadium was founded for a former player and coach. The relics in the museum are not simply a collection, but an avenue to bring fans closer to the sports they follow and live for. The museum gives each fan a sense of involvement in the different sports exhibited, and makes it more personal for fans by learning the history of the athletic program from hardships, to growth, and to championships. Though many do not realize the museum is available, it truly allows spectators to relive the moments of greatness in LSU Athletic history and is worth the time of any avid fan. My tour from Bud made me truly proud to be a “tiger” and allowed me to see the impact that LSU will have on my life forever. While some may enter the museum with notions that LSU sports are simply about tailgating and winning, they will surely leave knowing that LSU is defined by legacy, tradition, and a spirit that they can forever be a part of.…...

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