Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center
Name: Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center
Nickname: The Bear
Address: 1201 10th Ave.
Purpose: Recreation and athletic center
Year Built: 2010
Named for: Charles Bear ’39, trustee and publishing executive. Bequests of more than $10 million from the estates of Bear and his partner, A. John Gambers, supported the construction of a natatorium and field house in the two-part, state-of-the-art center. The bequests are among the largest in the College’s history.
Darby Gymnasium: Seating 1,250, Darby is the home of the Pioneer women’s and men’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team. The student section, labeled the Scarlet Sea, usually features students with mullet wigs, Bill Clinton masks, and often a painted belly or two. The men’s basketball playing style, dubbed “The System”, is a “zany, frenetic style of play where you try to get up 100 shots per game … with at least HALF of those as three-pointers” (sportsonenetwork.com) that never fails to fill seats.
Natatorium: Grinnell’s 50-meter pool with movable bulkheads is home to Grinnell’s swimming and diving teams, known affectionately as the Mad Dogs and Mad Ducks. There also are diving boards, hot tubs, and a sauna.
Field House: The six-lane, 200-meter track with eight-lane straightaway has a state-of-the-art, poured synthetic, multipurpose surface. The space has batting cages; triple-jump, long-jump, high-jump, and pole-vault runways; shot-put and weight-throw areas; and four competition/recreational tennis courts. The courts are placed within the track and surrounded by netting, making tennis play possible without interfering with track events. The field house will host the 2012 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Fitness Center: The two-story, 8,000-square-foot facility has 26 cardio machines on the upper floor, with stretching mats and free weights. The downstairs holds strength-training equipment as well as space for plyometric work and stretching. Seven flat-screen televisions and a great sound system also create a good work-out environment.
Auxiliary Gym: The Aux Gym, as it is known, houses intramural sports competitions such as indoor soccer, basketball, and dodge ball; it also serves as a warm-up area for athletes.
Climbing Wall: The climbing and bouldering wall is open to anyone who has taken Climbing I and Climbing II classes. Every Monday through Thursday from 7–8:30 p.m. and every Saturday from 3–5 p.m. (while classes are in session), you’ll see Grinnellians climbing up and rappelling down.
What is the Honor G?
The Honor G, the official emblem of Grinnell College athletics, was first used at the Iowa state track championship in 1892. Designed by Earnest "Skip" Atherton, class of 1895, the original Honor G consisted of a scarlet maltese cross with a black “I” and “C” (for Iowa College) superimposed. Two years later, the “I” and “C” were replaced by a black gothic “G,” and the modern-day Honor G was born. The gothic “G,” which was also used on letter sweaters and is now used on letter jackets, was replaced by an Old English “G” in the mid-1930’s. After some protest, it was quickly changed back to the gothic “G,” and it has remained unchanged since then.