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Old gym jamming once more

Brendan Sheehan l Associate Editor

As many returning students walked through doors E on the first day of school, a strange notice couldn’t help but be seen on the old gym doors; “Gym closed. Do not use.” 

Over the summer, the old gym closed due to complications with the new floor installed last year. With the gym being in an unusable condition, concerns surrounding winter sports and their practicality came into question.  

However, the gym reopened about a month ago back to its functioning order thanks to time and weather conditions, according to athletic director Rick Dissinger.

The floor apparently had a negative response to the humidity of the summer season, which ultimately had made the floor ‘shrink’ inward, according to Dissinger. With the help of the maintenance staff and the cool, dry autumn air, the floor was able to expand back to its original size.

The reopening of the gym allows the middle school and recreational basketball leagues as well as the high school wrestling teams to, once again, conduct practice and matches there.

With the closure, the teams had to work around the schedule of concurring fall sports teams to use the Cage, the school’s new gym. The boys’ basketball team moved their daily preseason workouts to weekends in order to accommodate the girls’ volleyball team being in the new gym.  

According to varsity girls’ basketball player junior Megan Donley, the girls’ team offseason practices throughout the year were rescheduled and cancelled in order to get time within the new gym.  

“This [was] frustrating for the team; however, we adjusted to the reality of the situation,” said Donley. “We are a winter sport and technically out of season, so we [were] at least thankful for that in the time being.”  

Apprehension rose in the weeks before the gym’s reopening with scheduling problems arising with the middle school and rec basketball teams, who use the alumni gym for their games and practices. Finding new places to practice became necessary for the upcoming season. 

“It just [became] a scheduling nightmare in trying to get appropriate gym time for all teams,” said varsity boys’ basketball coach Thomas Smith.

Despite curveballs thrown at the basketball program, the teams still had a schedule and several alternative plans that worked with the gym’s unavailability.  

The plan was to crowd source the elementary and middle school gyms for practices, splitting the time amongst the various teams in each location—which, according to Smith, was not ideal considering the small size of these gyms and the large sizes of the teams. 

“I think we can attribute some of our success last year at the freshman level to having our own gym to practice in and get the most out of each session,” said middle school basketball coach Tyler Massar. 

According to Massar, access to the alumni gym allows the team to work on full-court component principals such as pressing and press breakers as well as having six rims to shoot in.  Now that the gym has reopened, coaches and teams are able to return to their regular system of practice.

“It definitely makes it easier for the basketball programs to practice with three gyms rather than two,” said Massar. “The administration and maintenance staff do a great job to ensure athletic teams have the opportunity to be successful.”

As the old gym returns to host its typical events, students can, once again, proudly step foot to play their beloved sports or use it as a shortcut to the 400 hallway to briskly make it to homeroom.

“The Alumni Gym floor is an important space for [gym] classes, after-school activities and winter sports,” said Dissinger. “I am appreciative of the flexibility and cooperation that was shown by all of those groups involved in its fixing, and all that were impacted by the temporary closure.”

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