Empty Chester gym shows just what we’re missing during pandemic

By Matthew DeGeorge

There’s quiet in an empty high school gym, in the era of COVID-19. And then there’s the deafening silence of the Fred Pickett Gymnasium.

With half the stands folded up Thursday night, with the DJed squeals of Cardi B reverberating off the brick corners, with the Chester step team’s usually show-stopping routine answered only with their own echoes, the lack of spectators hits home at Chester High more than most. To know the electricity of the Clip Joint in normal times is to miss it profoundly now.

So it was Thursday, with 71 souls Iinattendance – players, coaches, refs and janitors included – as Chester and Penn Wood played a boys basketball game that should’ve drawn out a community. It’s one thing to lament the lost ambience of a Central League gym on a weekday afternoon. It’s another to reacquaint your mind to the palpable eeriness of a sedate Chester High, from what once would’ve been taken for granted as a rocking crowd replaced by yawning quiet.

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