Field House Strikes Out
I was prepared this week to talk about my personal issues with the NBA All-Star Game being held in New Orleans this past weekend — how much it irritated me that the NBA commercialized the struggle that is going on down there. Then I found a greater irritant in my ObieMail inbox, something that affects my fellow Yeomen and women to a greater degree.
When I went to check my e-mail, I found a message from an administrator in the athletic department, saying that a routine inspection of the Jones facility had revealed a fractured truss. This broken truss puts strain on the roof and creates a potentially unstable structural environment.
How is it that Jones Field House is just now being shut down for repairs that should have been taken care of years ago? With the start of spring sports around the corner, most teams cannot even practice on Oberlin’s campus. Baseball and softball are being shipped down Route 58 for some batting practice, and who knows where lacrosse is practicing.
With the recent renovations to the locker room area and the sub-par idea to move the training room across the parking lot, one would think the administration would have looked at Jones sooner. It is disconcerting to know that the administration waited until spring sports were already practicing to have the field house checked out. What were they waiting for?
My real concern is: what is going to happen on those random days in April when softball is outside and the sky opens up with lightning and rainfall? As some may know, once there is lightning, athletes have to go inside. With Jones Field House out of commission, where are they to go? Will they hop in their cars and go to Bat-A-Rama or some other batting cage place?
We need to be realistic. Construction takes way too long at Oberlin, especially concerning athletic facilities. We waited over a year for this locker room to be built, the whole time being given faulty dates about when things were going to be completed. How could any opponent take Oberlin College seriously when the home team is changing right next to the visiting team?
It is to no one’s surprise that certain spring teams barely have enough people to fill their roster. You cannot impress recruits by bringing them over to shabby Jones Field House after they just came from the multi-million dollar sports complex at Kenyon College. Oberlin has to catch up in terms of its facilities, both for the athletes and for the general public.
My heart goes out to the spring sports affected by this change. I hope that all of those involved feel prepared for this upcoming season, as it looks like Oberlin athletes are left behind the curve yet again.