Trophies testify to accomplishments and commemorate special and significant moments. Medals, cups, plaques: those who are sportsmen and sportwomen have a special sensitivity to these objects because-let’s face it-they have a magical power: when observed or caressed, they can take us back to the past, to that day when we deserved them.
In short, trophies are meant to be kept in private places, watched, displayed. But always at home or in an office they stay. How many runners do you know (maybe yourself!) who have dedicated a special place in the house specifically to their beloved memories?
A room for everyone
There is a very peculiar place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where things began to appear under a bridge in 2014 that had nothing to do with it. With the bridge, at least. Location, first of all: you will have happened to run or walk under a bridge. The iron ones have visible beams, and the Longfellow Bridge ones have a special feature: they look like book shelves, and most importantly, they are at the right height.
A local lawyer passed us one day and thought that that tangle of beams seemed to be missing something. A short time later he was at the local landfill and saw a man dumping a box full of trophies. He asked him why, and this one replied that no one would ever do anything about it. “I’ll take care of it, I know where to put them,” and he had them delivered.
You must have figured out where he planned to put them. And indeed: they ended up exactly on those rafters and they were different, of different origins and different shapes. None of the people passing by understood well what a strange place that had become: was it a somewhat peculiar dump? Was this a joke?
None of this, or at least not in the intentions of its inventor, the lawyer who has always wished to remain anonymous all these years. For him, that place had become an art installation, and gradually many other people adopted it, adding more cups and trophies.
And strange and unknown ones come along, but also important ones, such as the 2010 Herbert Schneider Award given by the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy to Hilary and Ruth Anna Putnam, two very important 20th century American philosophers.
A local attraction
This place now has a popular name: everyone knows it as The Trophy Room. Which is then what its inventor, the lawyer who always envisioned it as a place of art, decided to call it.
And so it is that between the rafters of a bridge, in the middle of a place that is as public as it can get, ended up objects that have a lot of personality but that make this place surreal and fascinating at the same time. Because in the end it took on a very special value: by collecting trophies and cups from all over the world, it ended up proving that such personal items can unite people and have meaning for many beyond those who deserved them.
(Via Boston Globe)