Back in July or August, a group of men were in Vince O’Connell’s garage in Maquoketa.
That’s where they saw the sign.
It was an old, painted piece of wood displaying old WaMaC basketball standings; it came out of the old Maquoketa High School gym.
O’Connell was far from the sign’s first owner.
“Larry Specht, a janitor for the Maquoketa High School, grabbed both boards [varsity and sophomore] when the school was going to throw them away after the new gym was built in the fall of 2008,” O’Connell said.
Specht didn’t think that was an ending befitting of the signs.
“Specht took them home and hung them in his garage,” O’Connell said. “In 2013, [Larry’s] wife, Karen, was looking to find somebody to take the boards.
She asked her son, Chad, to take them, but Chad had no room for them.
“One day, when Karen was getting her vehicle serviced at Rotman Motor Sales, she asked Loris [O’Connell, Vince’s brother] if he knew anyone who would want [the signs]. Loris said he would take them.”
Shortly thereafter, Bob Shanahan, father to Maquoketa basketball player Macklin Shanahan and one of the kids’ coaches, came up with an idea — along with Maquoketa varsity head coach Matt Hartman.
They wanted to display this year’s standings for everyone to see. However, there was an issue.
With different teams in the WaMaC now — ones that were not in the conference back than — the board and the teams sliding logos had to be redone.
Needing a new sign, Shanahan called Sheets Construction to cut out a new sign using the old sign as a template. Susan Sheets of Sheets Construction gave employee Jeromy Howell some directions of what they wanted.
Howell soon afterward cut out the sign on a weekend, on his own time.
Sheets painted the background white, then Korey Schepers painted the Cardinal logo on the board.
Becky and Bob Shanahan painted the team names and the win-loss numbers.
The Shanahans displayed the board at their residence along Summit Street in Maquoketa, and Bob updated the board after each game was completed.
The board survived a tough Iowa winter, and as the Cardinals’ record continued to improve, the numbers on the sign became more favorable to the Maquoketa faithful. Even though the season is over, the sign remains in that place of honor, a visible reminder to passersby of the memorable season.