Lower Penn says goodbye to the Cage

Think of your favorite floor activity. Now imagine that the location where that activity has always taken place has been destroyed. You are determined to carry on this beloved tradition, but there are no readily available options for a new home.

Sloth—a game for men. More importantly, it’s a game for Lower Penn men. This time-honored tradition turns 8 this Halloween.

"The Cage" was torn down, much to the despair of the men of Lower Penn. (Photo courtesy of Dusty Jenkins).

And for the first time it’s without a home.

Sloth, an amalgam of various sports (a bit of rugby, a bit of soccer, etc) was invented by LP men. It has been and remains a staple of our community.

Even when we were moved mid-winter to what is now Blossom Hall (at the time it felt like Babylon), Sloth remained a source of strength during our isolation. Our home changed, but Sloth remained. It was ours and it wasn’t going anywhere.

Sloth is a time for community and competition and it has for many years been played at the Cage. What in heaven’s name, you might ask, is the Cage?

The Cage was that high-fenced soccer field at the park between the fire station and the Canton Christian Home. The goals were built into the fence. Sloth found a home there and had no intentions of ever moving anywhere else.

Two years ago, the city began talking about tearing down our majestic rusted sanctuary in order to expand the fire station parking lot. Last year passed relatively quietly with no indication that the proposed project was going forward.

Then, out of nowhere, we got the call.

Many of us rushed down to see the destruction. We were horrified to find the remnants of the Cage piled up and twisted beyond recognition–the dozers making a muddy mess of the lot.

On September 27, 2010, the men of LP not only lost the home of our game, we lost an essential part of our identity.

Like the death of a relative, the loss of the Cage created a sense of mourning on LP. We called alumni, those off campus, former LP men in other dorms. The word spread quickly and not a single soul was left unaffected.

We weren’t the only ones who used the Cage. There were many times that we crossed paths with folks from the Canton community. After-school programs and pick-up games of various backyard sports, the Cage served a wide-range of purposes.

But alas, the city let it fall into disrepair. The fire department steamrolled it like Genghis Khan, plundering and slaying his way through the Orient.

We were dragged to Babylon (Blossom) in a blizzard. Sloth remained. We returned from our exile in Babylon. Sloth remained. Seniors graduated, members of the community moved to Haviland or DeVol and off-campus in some cases. Still, Sloth remained. They took the Cage, but Sloth has and will continue to remain. It’s ours and it’s not going anywhere.

Like the Quad Tree and many other sacred Malone community landmarks, the Cage is gone but never forgotten.

Nick Skiles is a copy editor and contributing writer for The Aviso.

Categories: Opinion

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