Construction messes up sports teams practices

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Photo courtesy of Laura Brager

Varsity field hockey practices at Tilden Middle School. The team has become accustomed to practice off campus as there is limited turf field time available for sports.

The bell rings, you get changed and head outside, only to find that your practice is at Tilden. This has become something that many athletes have had to adapt to with the baseball and softball fields being under construction. There is currently only one field at WJ that is available for sports to use, the turf field. This means that it has to be split between the four sports teams; boy’s soccer, girl’s soccer, football and field hockey.

“We have been sharing turf time with all the other outdoor fall sports, which has been difficult. When there are games that night, it makes it harder because there is really only one practice slot,” field hockey coach Laura Brager said.

Since it is not possible for all the teams to use the turf field every day, it has meant that there has to be practice at Tilden Middle School.

“The field is really bad because the grass is just too thick and uneven for field hockey,” Brager said.

Practices at Tilden for teams have had to start at 4:30 in the afternoon to accommodate Tilden’s fall schedule. This has messed up athletes’ after-school schedules.

“It affected boys soccer by giving us inconsistent and difficult practice times unlike last year where we had a consistent practice schedule every day after school,” junior Sunjay Bista said.

The Tilden field has also had to be split up due to the limited time slots available for field use.

“We have had to practice at Tilden multiple days of the week, sharing with girls varsity soccer, boys soccer and other club soccer teams. It’s very hard for practices to be productive with such a small portion of the field,” sophomore JV girls soccer captain Alexa Buss said.

Even though there are times when teams can’t get the turf field, there are still other options. One of which is using the weight room here.

“There are some days that honestly, it is just not worth practicing at Tilden for us. A lot of times instead of going to Tilden at all, we will just do a weight room practice. Conditioning is still good, but it is hard when we have hard games coming up and we could use time on the field. It is just the compromise that we are making with ourselves between whether it is worth going to Tilden or conditioning instead,” Brager said.

Athletes and coaches still would prefer to use the turf field over any of the other options, but it is hard when football gets to practice on the field every day. This ends up giving some teams small amounts of turf time.

“I don’t think the turf field is being split fairly, we practiced at WJ once last week and have no practices at WJ this week and only one the week after. To my knowledge, football has never had to practice at Tilden. Field hockey has experienced similar struggles and only has one practice at WJ a week. In addition, both field hockey and girl’s soccer have important games coming up and deserve the field as much as football,” Buss said.

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