LIMA — Did you know about the buried treasure in the middle of Spartan Stadium?
A time capsule was buried and contained items from when the first artificial turf was installed July 1, 2006.
Jim Offenbaker was the Athletic Director when the artificial turf was installed and helped gather items for the time capsule.
“It was an exciting time because, at that time, the school board wanted to have Lima Senior a complete campus and we had just moved in right before that, so we wanted to have as many events as we could at Lima Stadium (now Spartan Stadium). By putting in the artificial turf, the boys and girls soccer teams, our middle school teams the midget teams, the Lima Warriors could all play at the stadium and not injure natural grass. It was one of the greatest things that we had thought of to utilize the facility that we had to the greatest amount of time out on the field,” said Offenbaker.
Prior to the opening of the time capsule, he speculated what could be in it, expecting it to contain treasures to any Spartan fan.
“If I recall, there’s a DVD of the ’96 state championship game, there might be a program. I think there’s something from basketball in there, but I don’t remember everything that’s in there. It will be a surprise to me,” he said.
And what a surprise it was.
Offenbaker was the one who dug up the time capsule and those gathered to watch were probably a bit disappointed to find the metal box sitting in water.
The keyhole for the box was clogged with mud or just rusted, but it wouldn’t budge, so a maintenance worker brought out a hammer and a long screwdriver to pry the lid of the box open.
Not since Geraldo Rivera showed us what was, or wasn’t, in Al Capone’s vault in 1986, was there such disappointment in what was found inside.
“There was something dealing with the plans of the stadium, what I’m saying, the field, the Progress Turf that was put in at that time. There was a bobblehead in there. In the early 2000s, those were a big item and everybody, even in the major leagues still has bobblehead day and things like that. I thought there were a few other things in there, but obviously, my memory was not very good,” said Offenbaker.
Anything made of paper was wet pulp, and the bobblehead was in pretty rough shape.
Offenbaker was asked what they would have done differently when the box was buried 12 years ago.
“Well, we would probably make sure it was waterproof, but obviously we thought the plastic bag would have kept things dry, but it did not,” said Offenbaker.
School officials are in the process of putting together items for another time capsule that will be buried right before the new artificial turf is installed next month.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.