Timing woes of Roe Stamps fields

Photo by Tyler Meuter

The following is an all-too-common situation for many Tech students: it is Friday afternoon, and you and a bunch of your friends want to play a pickup game of football, soccer, or whatever else at the Roe Stamps turf fields next to the CRC. These fields were a big selling point to you on your tour of the campus in high school, and after your first time using them you realized that the poorly maintained natural grass fields on campus just won’t cut it anymore. Besides, it is going to get dark soon anyway, and the turf fields are the only fields on campus with lights.

You arrive at the fields to find that they are quite crowded, but you are still able to carve out a small section for your group to play. Your section shrinks as more groups arrive, and with it the quality of your game degrades as well.  You don’t mind though, you are just happy to be getting some fresh air and spending quality time with friends. Then, with little warning, your game as well as all the games around you come to an abrupt end, as you are asked to leave the field in order to make room for a club team who had reserved the space.

The CRC needs to dedicate more time towards open field use for the benefit of the student body. In particular, no reservations of field space should be allowed on Friday afternoons and nights. Instead, the fields should be left open for every student to enjoy. Friday afternoon is the most popular time for students to play a pick-up game in their favorite sport. It is incredibly easy to get a game going on a Friday afternoon because everybody is available: no one is bogged down by homework that’s due the next day, or studying for exams later in the week. People also haven’t gone home for the weekend, or is still trying to recover from their debauchery the night before.

Unfortunately, it is too common for club teams’ games or practices to also be scheduled for that time, severely limiting the amount of space available to the student body. Since most clubs tend to require two of the four fields, any single scheduled event cuts the amount of available space in half. If two club teams both schedule events for Friday afternoon (or if a club that uses all four fields has an event), the general student body is left with nothing.

In order for this proposal to work, club teams would have to schedule their games and practices around Friday nights. Obviously weeknights are not ideal, as the club members have schoolwork to prepare for the next day and intramurals are usually using the fields during those times anyway. However, Saturdays and much of Sunday seem like optimal times for these clubs to schedule their games. They would still occur on the weekend when members have time, and have the added bonus of not displacing so many students.

Obviously this is an oversimplification of a complex situation, and a real compromise would require a lot of scheduling and discussion amongst the various club teams, their leagues, and the CRC. I am simply voicing the frustration that many students experience as part of their weekly routine at Tech; frustration that comes at a time where students are trying their hardest to decompress from a week’s worth of enduring Tech classes and enjoy themselves.