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Construction Forces Recreation Elsewhere

By Fatin Amin

UT’s current facelift has made its mark on campus as it expands its fitness center for the growing student body. With the sand volleyball and basketball courts out of play and the intramural field reduced in size due to a set foundation put down for the new fitness center building, students are improvising to make do with the facilities that are still available for outdoor activities.

Hitting the books and waiting in line for Starbucks coffee may be the average daily life of a college student, but a good majority of UT’s student body is involved in extracurricular activities. However, with limited facilities at its peak this semester, complications have occurred with places to practice for intramural, club and varsity sports.

Erin Helms, president of the field hockey club, has expressed concerns throughout the semester with scheduled practices and venues. Due to limited resources and a high volume of other outdoor field sports, field hockey has taken the backseat of getting practice times during the week against other sports.

“It has been extremely difficult to find practice times that work for our team with the renovations around campus,” Helms said. “As a club team, we have always been second to the varsity sports, who get priority over the fields. However, now that the intramural fields are out of use, intramural sports have taken over Sunday through Thursday evenings, which is when we typically practice.”

All varsity teams are guaranteed spaces that clubs and intramurals are not, which then narrows down the selection of spaces for the hockey players to practice. The field hockey team has gone to extraordinary measures just to squeeze in a little practice time in order to be in top form.

“Sometimes we travel to Eckerd College to play with a local adult club team when they are available. Once again, this becomes difficult because transportation can be a hassle for the players,” Helms said.

The ability to gain practice hours on the fields has been a problem and things have yet to settle down, especially when there is interference with another team present. Junior Christopher Grisby, president of the club flag football team, explained the issues he had when his team was out practicing on the intramural field.

“Lately we have been sharing with club soccer because there’s definitely not enough space to practice for the both of us,” Grisby said. “Just this past Tuesday night, I got hit on the head by a soccer ball while we were trying to practice right over here. So it’s really constrained trying to have club football and club futbol at the same time. Soccer balls are flying towards us and getting hit in the head is not fun.”

The difficulties faced from sharing a field to practice have been quite the challenge for the students this semester, but many teams are compromising to accommodate all field sports. As construction of the new fitness center heads into full force, Grisby expresses his understanding of the limited amount of field space that all field sports have to endure and is not worried about the short-sided issue of practice space.

“It has been a hassle but it’s something you have to work through,” Grisby said. “I know they’re doing piping and all so it is for the benefit of the school. In the long run, we’ll get our grass field back and it won’t be a big deal.”

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