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Many school gymnasiums looked similar, but this one appears to be the Balboa High School gym, located across the road from the school. It is screened in for ventilation because there was no air conditioning at the time, but its openness also allowed rain to come in on occasion, making the floor slippery and unplayable. The roof was constructed of corrugated tin, making it virtually impossible to hear anything at those times when a typical heavy Panama rain was coming down. Varsity and intramural basketball, volleyball, dodge ball and other sports were played there, and BHS band, orchestra and chorus concerts were held there during the spring and fall.
On the far court, girls appear to be practicing their free throws and other shots, while on the near court, the boys are playing basketball with teams identified as “skins” and “shirts” to differentiate them from each other. Street shoes were strictly prohibited on the court (as noted in the signs saying “Only regulation gym shoes allowed on floor”), which is probably why some of the boys were barefoot.
The former Balboa gym, has being modernized at this time (2014). It also has air conditioning, but it was almost burned, a couple of months ago. The fire fighters responce time was fabulous. I understood that the fire initiated in the ladys sauna room, however the incident was investigated. I workout at that gym whenever I get the chance. All retired federal employees from PCC are allowed to use all of it’s premises to this date, including the swimming pool. all you would need at this time is, valid proof of your PCC retirement, and you would be issued a electronic card ( A fee of 15.00 dollars) must be paid for the card, and you woud be allowed to use the gym, to include other ACP recreational facilities. If you reside on the isthmus, check it out. Thank you. Go workout, and extend your life.
I remember going to pep ralleys in this gym!!!! I played basketball in this gym when I was in Junior High school. I was on the pep cheering team meeting here for practces. In the upper gym that was upstairs I went to my first Junior High dance there a Sadie Hawkins dance. This was a nice gym!!!!!
Oh yes, I, too, spent many hours in this gym, from getting my first polio sugar cube to playing intramural HS basketball (at 5’0″!)! My time there was the late ’50s/early ’60s. The only fearful event was trying to jump the horse – never could get over that sucker! 😀
The BHS gym was the location for gym classes for both men and women but at separate times. Women had to wear a white one-piece cotton cover-up combination top and shorts that buttoned on each shoulder during gym class. The gym had a changing room with small stalls separated by cloth dividers that only came up to chest level. I do not recall taking a shower there as usually there was limited time to get to your next class. None of the area was air-conditioned. At the beginning of the year everyone had to take a PE test to see how many repetitions of various skills you could do such as running, push-ups, gymnastics etc. You were expected to improve your score by the end of the semester. Naturally, we did minimal effort at the beginning in order to seem like we had improved our numbers.
The BHS Gym was home to the Bulldog basketball team and later the Red Machine and Bulldog drafted basketball and boys and girls volleyball teams. There were many games and tournaments held there and in the upstairs courts. We held the post season volleyball tournaments there for years and hosted teams from Guantanamo and Puerto Rico in both volleyball and basketball. We had a couple of years of intramural wrestling tournaments with CHS in the gym, hauling the old horsehair mats from the gymnastics/weight room upstairs down to the gym floor for the tournaments. Nearly impossible to haul those suckers back upstairs. Later on there was a weight machine room set up in what used to be the gym classroom, where football teams would sometimes meet at halftime. Lots of intramural activities in the gym, including indoor soccer. The community had the Pan Canal youth basketball teams practice and play there. During thunder and lightning football teams would practice inside the gym in socks. Gym classes used the gym for all their activities. During the invasion the gym became a camp for displaced families from Chorillo, when it was burned down. There were times when we were sent to the gym during bomb scares. Later it was the stadium. There were science fairs in the gym, which was divided up into booths. The interior was modified various times, adding a cement floor in the basketball court, a popular racketball court, (its ceiling once fell in during a big rain), sauna, and AC was added to the shower rooms. At one time shorts and tee shirts were provided for all the PE people. Everyone had these at home, sneaked out for private use. There used to be baskets for clothing and shoes, kept by an small army of gym attendants behind the cage. Later this was done away with when new showers and AC were added. The gym was connected to the main buildings by a tin roof to keep the rain off students going to gym class. Buses picked up students after school on the street between the gym and the classroom buildings.
All those students and teachers who were associated with BHS probably have memories of that unusual gym.
former teacher and coach BHS
Thanks for your informative comments, Coach! 🙂 BHS ’61, intramural basketball
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