Anaconda, Montana: American Town
500 miles north of Salt Lake, we find ourselves surrounded by foreboding mountains in the heart of a shrinking former industrial center that was once home to one of the biggest copper smelters in the West. The town comes with everything one would expect to find in a former up-and-coming city whose most promising days were in the 1950’s and 60’s; an art-deco movie theater, the likes of which you will never lay eyes on; a public square that hosts baseball games in the Summer, and is flooded and freezed-over for ice skating in the Winter; and a tree-lined main street replete with restored circa-1900 mansions. (Many of said mansions are said to be haunted – and our hosts were kind enough to let us stay in one of them)
The story of the closing of the smelter and the presumed vanishing of Anaconda, however, we found to be premature. The kind people of Anaconda, while ever-decreasing in their numbers, were energetic, optimistic and great to work with. Gold Medal Squared was in its 11th year at Anaconda H.S. in 2009, and we had a terific turnout of athletes experienced and inexperienced.
Like most smaller schools, the volleyball players of AHS formed the nucleus of most of the school’s other teams, as well; softball, basketball, track, etc. These athletes had an insatiable appetite for sport. One day, after finishing camp at about 4:30, the girls raced to a summer-league softball game which lasted until about 7, then back to the gym where they had spent the entire day for basketball open gym which ended at 9.
On Wednesday afternoon, Joe, Anaconda’s Head Coach, took us to play golf on the recently completed Jack Nicklaus golf course. The course is one of only a few in the world with special sand in the sand traps. This ‘sand’ is actually called ‘slag’ which is the bi-product of smelting copper ore. It is balck as night, but not at all dusty or dirty. Lucky for me, my game is tailored to playing in the sand – I had become very familiar with the slag sand traps before the day was through.
Welcome to Historic Anaconda
Where Main Street meets the Mountains
The Beautiful Washoe Theatre
Our humble abode for the week
Dinner at Lost Creek State Park
… in the rain
Joe – the happiest man you’ll ever meet
Old Works Golf Course
Check out the Slag behind Taylor
Team Building Warm Up Games