Getting Our Priorities Straight

I’m sorry to inform baseball that it will not be permitted to practice this Spring. You see, IM softball will be in full swing and these guys need the field. Thanks for all your hard work over the past year getting ready for the season, but your striving for excellence simply cannot interfere with the Flying Squirrels’ race to avenge last Spring’s upset loss in the IM softball playoffs.

Oh yeah, football players, Coach Farley: I’m also sorry to inform you that my new club flag football team will be splitting field time with you next fall. It looks like you guys will get to knock heads Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but don’t get any ideas about Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – that’s our time. That’s right. Starting next fall, Saturdays will be the time of flag football games when all of the alumni and members of the Williams community tailgate and cheer us on as we compete with other New England flag teams – a tradition unlike any other. Sorry, no home games for the guys in helmets next year.

And Coach Paulsen, Coach Manning, I’ll be getting you the schedule of IM dodgeball soon to let you know when your teams can use the gym. To borrow the phrase of my wise predecessor, John Fitzgerald ’03, this is absurd. Right?

Well, maybe to some. But I know right now that I have all the Frisbee tossers behind me. You see, it looks like there are delays to the construction of the turf field because such a field will limit WUFO’s practice space. So that means at this school – Williams College, home of the best sports teams in all Div. III – the Spring sports teams will continue to share time in the Field House until the glorious New England winter lets up, hopefully sometime by mid-June.

When the Spring season begins, there are five teams sharing time in the Field House, so some teams are forced to practice at 10 p.m. Also, the Field House doesn’t even provide real game conditions. Our teams start out the season in the hole. It’d be like asking the basketball teams to spend the first two months of practice on the outdoor courts in Mission Park or the football team to practice in Lasell. That’s not to mention that our Spring teams get to play nearly all of their games away because our grass fields are too beat up by a winter that never ends.

These athletes work their tails off all Fall and Winter, playing wherever they can, getting in the weight room and then the people they play for – the Williams community – get to see their hard work and cheer them on for what, maybe two home games? Forget it though; I bet the teams love driving to Middlebury to play on their turf field.

I love Williams sports. I love being a spectator. I love seeing my peers compete and give everything they have to beat the heck out of Amherst and the rest of NESCAC.

I also love IM sports and club sports. Anyone can play. It’s fun (although the Mildboyz didn’t have fun watching the Flying Squirrels knock five out of the park last week to remain undefeated). I know countless varsity athletes that play IM sports in their off-seasons. Don’t think they don’t understand the value of such sports. But conserving practice space for IM and club sports should not stop Williams from moving forward with this turf field.

The College with the best sports should have the best facilities. We need this field. Our teams will be even better. The community will benefit. Even IM and club sports will benefit. The money has been raised. The plans are ready. It’s time to get this rolling. The teams deserve this.