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During my graduate studies, as I was attempting to sort out all of this sport heritage stuff, a faculty member asked me if domed stadiums could be sport heritage. At the time, I bristled at this notion – of course they couldn’t! Domed stadiums aren’t historic, they don’t have a particular heritage aesthetic, they don’t look like heritage!
Of course, I was completely wrong.
Not everything is heritage, but anything could be heritage. Every building, trinket, event, heirloom, ritual, etc, etc, etc, could enter the heritage cannon, given the right set of circumstances. Naturally, there are scales to this heritage – not every trinket is globally significant, after all – but we all have examples in our own lives of items, or events, or traditions that we consider part of our own personal heritage that don’t immediately appear to be “heritage.” In my own life, I have saved the ticket stubs of games my son and I attended – there is nothing inherently heritage about these ticket stubs, but they have come to symbolize something more and, as such, they have become part of my own personal heritage.
In any event, two recent examples – one from the sports world and one from outside of sports – illustrates that heritage can come from most any place and most any resource.
The sport-related example involves the Houston Astrodome – a once futuristic stadium, now both a resource for sports memorabilia and an historic structure that may be subject to adaptive reuse.
The Astrodome was once futuristic, then common, then outdated, then abandoned, then reconsidered, then historic, then (potentially) valuable.
The other recent example is the historic designation of Steve Jobs’ house:
Again, there is nothing that intrinsically says “heritage” about a non-descript bungalow, but it has been infused with meaning and, therefore, has entered the cannon. Of course, there are many examples of this throughout heritage – birthplaces, etc, are often recognized and enshrined.
Obviously, we don’t yet know what we might consider sport heritage in the future and, as such, it is difficult to plan for such things. However, as the Astrodome and the Jobs house illustrate, something doesn’t have to look particularly “heritage-y” to be considered heritage.