If these couches could talk

The ancient sectional couches outside of Romano Gym have seen better days, both literally and figuratively. The faded maroon seating, which we know dates back to at least the 1980s, has stains that predate the births of most graduating seniors. Half of the seats appear newer, perhaps refurbished, but even those show signs of wear and tear. What have these seat seen and experienced over the years? What shiny metal and plaques have been added to the trophy cases in the Sports and Health Center since they have rested here? Sweaty athletes, exhausted from another practice filled with zingers, killers and other forms of conditioning, have used these relics for a place to catch their breath. All the while, the cushions slowly absorbed their perspiration, changing the smell of the seat temporarily and fading the color permanently. Word of advice: watch out for the most faded couches. These seats have been the unofficial napping spot for UMD undergraduates since the day they were put in. Dirty, drooling college kids have crashed on the chairs before their Exercise Science tests, for the hour they have before work after school or when they played in a pickup basketball game that was just too strenuous. Apparently they don’t have the same athletic ability as they did in high school and these couches pay the price. They’ve been on the outside of the gym as Bulldog volleyball crushed opponents in recent years. They’ve been around for the men’s basketball program’s resurgence in the early 1980s as George Fisher took over the coaching helm, just as they were there to see Hibbing native Dave Thompson’s All-American basketball career in the late 1980s. They’ve experienced the thunderous roar of UMD fans as the good guys sink a buzzer-beater or make a game-saving block. But they’ve also experienced the opposite feeling, the groan of a crowd as a last-minute lead slips away. The borderline antique seating has heard the uproar after a bad call, just as they have heard the chants of “Let’s go Bulldogs” and “Defense.” During halftime of basketball games or between sets of volleyball games, fans flood into the lobby and pack onto these couches. The high school playoff games bring even more traffic to Romano. As the vendors sell ice cream and hot dogs, these messy foods inevitably drip onto the seats, and even if the guilty party quickly wipes up the stain, the damage has been done. One more stain on the collage that are the seats. The couches, ever guarded by the statue of Champ, watch students walk by on their way to the RSOP and weight room. Do the couches get jealous of the newer, hipper seating that looks over the ice rink? The young bloods seem to use those seats, drastically cleaner and less faded, more often to study. Even still, on a cold Tuesday morning, seven UMD students, most of whom are waiting for class, put their feet up on the quarter-circle tables that accompany the sectional couches. The tops of the tables have scuffmarks and the edges are worn, but they still function as well as they did when they first arrived. And when they arrived, no one seems to know. “I have no idea,” senior Katelyn Sticha said as she sat on the couches. “I don’t even know who you would ask.” “I don’t know,” junior Gretchen Klinkner said. After a long pause she added, “I just honestly don’t know.” Junior Ryan Herbel was stabbed by a wire poking out of one of the seats last year. Thankfully he was up to date on his tetanus shot. When he was asked how old the sectional seating is, Herbel simply said, “Too old.”

BY SAM STROM News Editor

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