Athletic facilities rough on athletes


by Kinsey Bak

When you play a team sport, you come together as a team, practice together as a team and leave together as a team.

You usually practice at one time, with the exception of going in for individual work.

Track, however, is anything but that. I’m going to take you through the crazy schedule of Simpson College track athletes.

First, let’s talk about facilities. Not only does Simpson have an illegal indoor track, we now only have one facility to accommodate all of the sports that are either indoor or outdoor that want to practice.

Now that Hopper is closed, Cowles has to fulfill the needs of both the men and women’s basketball teams. If that isn’t a headache in itself, track has to squeeze in the opening spots that are left.

It doesn’t stop there. Don’t forget about off-season strength and conditioning sessions that need to use Cowles. Lastly, intramurals. There are so many different things that Cowles is supposed to accommodate and there are only so many open spots that students can use because of classes.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are our “normal” days. We usually start at 3:30 p.m.. However, basketball practices during that time as well; therefore track gets booted to using only Cowles “North.” Cowles North is on the other side of the curtain from the wood floor. It’s very convenient that we have it and has saved a lot of our sports teams, but the track goes around all of Cowles, not just half.

Tuesdays and Thursdays we try to squeeze in and practice from 12:15-2 p.m., since there are no classes. This is our only chance to get the full track to do a running workout.

Because of our schedule, improvising our workouts is the norm. We do pool workouts, P90X yoga and stretching, plyometrics and whatever else seems to work that day.

Our facilities suck. Sorry I’m so blunt, but they suck. High jump has to practice on the basketball wood floor with the spikes out of our shoes. To practice hurdles and coming out of the blocks, we have to roll out mats that imitate a track surface. Throwing events have a homemade ring that we’ve had for years that we lay down on the floor.

I am still thankful for Hopper, though. As much as we hate running up in the hot bubble of dry air, I’m still thankful that we’re able to use it even though basketball can’t anymore. At least it’s another option.

Every sport has to work together and come up with a plan to make the schedules fit. It’s all about priorities.

Basketball comes first, which is understandable because this is their primetime. Track comes second, but we also have outdoor season and a nice, new track to accommodate us. Dance, cheer, tennis, intramurals and anything else that I’m forgetting gets thrown in the mix to squeeze into a time frame where they can get things done.

Building a new facility is out of the question right now. It would be nice, considering we’re the only school in the conference that doesn’t have an indoor track, or a facility in general for all of our sports. Even though we don’t have what everyone wants, we still make it work.

Since basketball also got the shaft with Hopper closing, they coordinate with the other gender to make things work.

It’s hard for track to practice all together, especially with the different events that encompass track as a whole. We have throwers, jumpers, sprinters, middle distance and long distance runners.

With no set-in-stone facility, that’s a lot of athletes to take care of and needing the proper training. We all make it work, as do the other sports that want to get better.

Even though our facilities suck, we do what we can with them to show other schools what Simpson is all about.