joy magnetism: It all seems so unfair! Just when I found you, I lost you!*

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Friday, February 27, 2009

It all seems so unfair! Just when I found you, I lost you!*

Magnet #371 - Sports Museum of America

Noooooooooo! They closed the Sports Museum of America! Nooooooooo, say it ain't so!

I'm so freakin' devastated by this news, you have no idea.

To be fair, I have to admit that when I first saw the advertising for it last year (what little there was of it), I wasn't all that interested in going. Then I saw that the asking price was $27, and I was totally not interested.

While I love going to games and watching boys play sports, or staying at home and watching boys watch boys play sports, I'm just a Carolina basketball fan. The rest of sportsdom (outside of the Summer Olympics, and [shirtless] Karch Kiraly and his volleyball playing/judging/commentating), I'm just not a huge sportsfan.

But, upon watching their sizzle reel (I swear, who thinks sizzle reels don't work?) my sister insisted on going, and they had dropped their prices down to $16, and it was in the Standard Oil building (which I love), so we went.

And (second to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex) the SMA became one of my favorite museums in Manhattan. I freakin' loved this museum. We went on a Thursday, and we were the only ones there - which should have been our first sign. We literally saw maybe ten people during our three hours there.

But what fun did we have. Seriously. We got to:
  • hog the Heisman Trophy all to ourselves.
  • watch their opening video of the greatest moments in sports history twice. And alone. Great video, but Jenny was mad that they didn't include the stupid 2.1-seconds left historical shot that Christian Laettner made to win that Kentucky game, which I saw at the Carolina student union, booing the whole way through. I mean, even Ashley Judd (who, by the way has a great quote about being an obnoxious UK fan under the UK exhibit), has to admit, it was a sweet shot.
  • play the interactive soccer game. Twice.
  • hold ARod's bat. Now we understand why the steroids. I hadn't a clue bats were so heavy.
  • pretend to be a hockey player on the ice.
  • compete in an interactive round of sports trivia.
  • see a ton of Olympic medals and memorabilia.
  • see a ton of just superdupercool general sports memorabilia.
  • timed ourselves on a balance board, to pretend we were skiing.
  • touch basketballs in rapid succession to test our reaction times. I'm awesome, in case you ever want to play one-on-one.
  • practice our balance beam routines, just like when we did them across the folded blanket and/or sofa for the 84, 88 and probably 92 Olympics.
But the best thing we got to do (made even better because no one was around) - we got to put on the headsets, roll the videotape, and call one of the greatest games in history - Joe Starkey's Call of the 1982 Cal/Stanford Big Game:
Alright here we go with the kick-off. Harmon will probably try to squib it and he does. Ball comes loose and the Bears have to get out of bounds. Rogers along the sideline, another one...they're still in deep trouble at midfield, they tried to do a couple of....the ball is still loose as they get it to Rogers. They get it back to the 30, they're down to the 20...Oh the band is out on the field!! He's gonna go into the endzone!!! He got into the endzone!! Will it count? The Bears have scored but the bands are out on the field.

...The Bears, believe it or not, took it all the way into the endzone. If the penalty is against Stanford, California would win the game. If it is not, the game is over and Stanford has won. We've heard no decision yet. Everybody is milling around on the FIELD!!! AND THE BEARS!!! THE BEARS HAVE WON!!! THE BEARS HAVE WON!!! Oh my God, the most amazing, sensational, traumatic, heart rending... exciting thrilling finish in the history of college football! California has won...the Big Game...over Stanford. Oh excuse me for my voice, but I have never, never seen anything like it in the history of I have ever seen any game in my life! The Bears have won it!

I have never had so much fun at a museum in my entire life. Seriously.

Which is why I'm taking the news about its demise so badly. Do you know that the very next day, I went to work and told at least a handful of boys to go visit it. And now they're closed!

I know it's expensive - it had to be, they spent $93 million to build it! I know it's a crap location, I know there was no advertising (heh, the founder said their crack ad campaign resulted in 95% of NYC residents not knowing about it), but people! Come on!

This is a museum devoted to most of America's national pasttimes!!! Without regard for collegiate or pro, bowling or soccer, NASCAR or Tobacco Road basketball, male or female. How can you not visit - it's practically unAmerican!

Or course, I'm not going to lie, there are things that I would change.
  • The cost. It was good they brought it down to $16. It's still a little steep.
  • The location. Even though I love the wonderfully designed Standard Oil building (curved at the base, but with a tower that was designed to be in line with the Broadway skyline in order not to mess up the sightlines), its location at the tip of Manhattan across from the Charging Bull, is just not the best location ever.
  • The signage. Because you're in that gorgeous Standard Oil building, you can't mess it up with supercool signage. No one knows you're there! SMA's the most undercover museum I've ever seen.
  • The displays. They need to run in there and actually look into some of the displays - some of the wallpaper was falling down.
  • The swag. Ok, that's unfair. They have some great swag. I was just sad that this wasn't a real magnet.
  • The marketing. I'm a NYC resident and I just happened to find out because a taxi drove by me while I was on a bus. The boys I mentioned it to - boys, mind you - didn't even know of such a museum. Come back, I'll work on your ad campaign for free.
Please, oh, please, I just hope some private investor (like I dunno, any ten of the people whose medals and memorabilia are actually featured in the museum) comes to save the day. It's such a fantastic museum, it's a shame to see it go the way of Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium the dodo bird.

*Kudos to those who actually get this obscure reference to one of my favorite movies of all time. Shut it. I write a blog on magnets. Really? You're judging me for what's behind this link? C'mon. (6:04 for the beginning of this song, but 8:10 for the actual reference to the title. And yes, as soon as I find an appropriate magnet, there will be bloggage on that movie.)
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jen said...

Man, I loved that museum. The wall of volleyballs. Michael Phelps's goggles. Jerseys. Sigh.

I won that sports trivia game. I'm just sayin'.

I LOVED the commentating. I wasn't half bad. Heh.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous returns. I can't recall the nickname y'all (correct usage, I know, but correct apostrophizing?) have for me. Anyway, you CANNOT, of course, spell magnetism, without GAMES, the essential focus of this now-defunct museum.

joy said...

Yes, correct usage of ya'll, but I still like using ya'll, rather than y'all. Though I'll admit that the former is probably not correct.

And, very good one, anon.

I'm very sad, because I just realized that not only did the museum close down...but it closed THE DAY AFTER we visited!

Sigh. Jen and i could have SAVED THE MUSEUM if we'd gotten the word out earlier!