…on football…

Okay so this is indirectly about football.  No footballs were abused, hurt or damaged for this presentation.

This location in Akron, Ohio USA is called The Rubber Bowl.  It was the football stadium for the University of Akron.  Seating 7,000 souls this stadium was built in 1940 into a hillside – right next to Derby Downs (home of the acclaimed Soap Box Derby World Finals).   This stadium was in use until 2008.  There are rumors and speculations about reviving the stadium and while some events had been planned for here as recently as 2015 they have all been cancelled due to concerns about the condition and safety of this space.

The University of Akron team is known as AKRON ZIPS.  Their mascot is a kangaroo named Zippy which in 2007 won the national competition as MASCOT OF THE YEAR.   Nicknamed the “ROO” you can often see in advertisements and slogans like “Fear The ROO”.

Where did the ZIPS get their name?  Akron was, in it’s heyday, the undisputed “RUBBER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD” as it was home to the largest rubber tire manufacturers; Goodyear, B.F. Goodrich and Firestone.   B.F. Goodrich company also dabbled in side product lines like rubber footwear.  Those footwear lines were known as Goodrich Zippers (sometimes advertised as ZIPPS).  There was a zipper on the top of the shoe/overshoe instead of laces or straps.  There was also supposedly a tire line called zippers by that same company although I have found no evidence for it at this time.   When the University of Akron was searching for a name, in 1927, for their sports teams the name Zippers was proposed – inspired by the footwear line by B.F. Goodrich – and it stuck.  In 1950 it was shortened to ZIPS by the Athletic Director for the University.

A personal connection:  I played (alternately) trumpet and tuba in my high school marching band.  During my junior and senior year (Fall 1976 – Spring 1978) in high school our band traveled to the Rubber Bowl for a regional marching band competition.  This usually happened in the spring.   While we never won – I did come away with a fierce impression of this place being extremely windy and cold.   The day I took this photos (May 15, 2016) was no exception.  In fact, we actually had snow later in the day with temps in the mid/low 30’s F.    The day of this post is a different matter entirely.  Since May 27th we have had temps in the high 80’s F.

***The two previous posts featured some of the graffiti currently found in this location.


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