So the term bittersweet is often overused and doesn’t really apply in most scenarios. Today it applied. It applied hard. This is hard to believe for the people who read this site, but I was not a sports fan at a young age. I preferred Power Rangers and umm….other stuff. Yeah, other stuff.
Even as a non-sports fan I was dragged to the A.J. Palumbo Center at Duquesne University by my dad to watch the men’s basketball team play…and lose on a fairly consistent basis. Watching those guys turned a little kid into a sports, but mainly a college basketball lover.
The Palumbo Center was opened in 1988. The same year that I was brought into this world. Things and places often start to take their own character in our lives over the course of time. The Palumbo Center was one of those characters for me. In addition to watching basketball I also watched WCW wrestling and a little band called Oasis play there.
If there was a home away from home for me this was it. As life went on and I went on to become a student at Duquesne our paths continued to intersect. I eventually accepted a job working for Coach Ron Everhart breaking down film and traveling with the team on road trips. Basically the dream for every college basketball lover. Late nights were spent breaking down film, eating Milano’s pizza and the occasion N64 Golden Eye Bender. I graduated from college in this same building in 2011. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
Let’s hit the fast-forward to the spring of 2017 and the hiring of Keith Dambrot as the new head’s men’s basketball coach at Duquesne. Since that time optimism has been at all-time high amongst the fan base, and rightfully so. Guys that coached Lebron James don’t just come around everyday.
Shortly after Coach D was hired rumors started to swirl about Duquesne gutting Palumbo and building for all intents and purposes a new arena. This was a longstanding and not so well kept rumor.
Today those rumors came to fruition as Duquesne announced that Palumbo would be completely renovated and renamed the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. The renderings show a state-of-the-art building with all of the amenities needed to compete in major college hoops.
You’ve all seen the pictures, and more than likely have seen my opinion if you’re a loyal twitter follower. This is a momentous day for our university and athletic department as we take the next step to becoming a college sports power.
Change is necessary. Change is good. But change is not always easy. As I travel to Pittsburgh weekly this winter to watch basketball at the Palumbo Center, I will think back about this building being an old friend. Enjoy the last season of the old and then in with the new.
But as always we must never forget where we came from. Let’s not forget the past. Let’s live in the present. But we must always keep an eye on the future.