By Ryan Liddle
It was a regular winter day at Wartburg. My friends and I were looking to get some exercise and enjoy a little competition one evening, so we went to play a pick-up basketball game at The W.
Upon arriving, it was quite obvious that we would not be playing. The baseball team was using the entire Fieldhouse, which left only the center court open for my friends and me. The problem was that with other Wartburg students and Waverly community members confined to the center court, there was no space to play.
The months of February and March can be a very difficult time for Wartburg students and Waverly community members trying to gain full use of The W. This is due to various athletic teams occupying the Fieldhouse.
It is clearly unfair to take these courts away from students and from community members who pay $50 a month to utilize all of The W’s features.
As a non-athletic student who still enjoys playing sports, Daniel Schmitz said he does not have the opportunity to play full-court pick-up basketball games during the weekdays in February and March. As a result, he has to resort to half-court games if he wants to play.
If The W would provide adequate space for Wartburg students and Waverly community members, Schmitz said he would play more often.
“It would vary by week, but four days a week would not be uncommon. Often days I would play six if it was available,” Schmitz said.
In February and March two of the four Fieldhouse courts and half of the track are open from 6-7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, one court and the track are open from 6-8 p.m. The rest of the time from 3-10 p.m., the entire Fieldhouse is taken.
With class and work throughout the day, this time period is a popular time for Wartburg students and Waverly community members to use The W.
Spring sports utilize the Fieldhouse from February until they can practice outside, which is usually sometime in March, Sheila Kittleson, director of The W, said.
Head baseball coach Joel Holst said he needs the entire Fieldhouse in order to have an effective practice because there are 43 athletes on his team.
With baseballs flying around, Holst said having a court open would be very dangerous, even if the nets were down on all four sides.
To solve this problem, it would be best to leave one Fieldhouse court open from 6-10 p.m. Monday through Friday, during the months that athletes utilize the Fieldhouse.
If all four sides of a net are down, there is no threat of anyone getting hit by a baseball or softball because the nets are made to enclose the court, which prevents objects and other people from interfering.
Three courts is adequate enough space for baseball, softball and tennis to have an efficient practice. With this free court open, adequate enough space will be available for students and community members, who would have two courts to play on instead of just the center court.