The push for needed intramural fields

Ryan McAnany, Sports Editor

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Photo by Elizabeth Kerin Rec Sports has returned to the softball field to kick off its intramural softball season under the stadium lights. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

When trying to solve a problem, an essential first step to the process is acknowledgement that the problem even exists. Instead of jumping straight to the blame game, it is important to temporarily set aside differences, taking time to realize that there are issues that need to be solved.

One such problem — which has become very clear over the past few weeks — is the unnecessary chaos that takes place throughout the process of organizing intramural sports.

The spark for this problem was ignited before the semester even began; in fact, it began an entire year ago, after the last intramural softball season ended. The field was utterly trashed — there’s no denying it, and nobody on either side of this story does. Cigarette butts littered the dugout floor, beer cans were tossed aimlessly into the corner, and the condition of the field was seriously diminished. This year, new Rec Sports Intern Diego Healy and head softball coach Elizabeth Krysiak both knew that something needed to be fixed; Krysiak would not stand for it, and Healy was determined to make sure it did not happen again. This article is an attempt to illustrate the fact that there is a problem, that it should change, and the school needs to focus its efforts in providing aid to the issue.

But it is not so easy to simply fix such a problem. It involves logistics — lots and lots of logistics. Is there any one word to describe the whole process?

“Complexity,” Healy said. “And I think that applies to all of the organization of Rec Sports.”

The job, when explained, sounds like a circus act — a chaotic juggling of frantic communications, organization and planning. Healy said that he was aware of these challenges coming into the job, and therefore wanted to get an early start on discussing the issue with the softball field. He met with Krysiak early in the semester to begin plans in order to prevent what happened last year.

Not only was the softball field trashed, but the damage to the surface of the playing field was also noticeable.

“Last year we actually had to reorder a new base set,” Krysiak said. “We had to re-clay the mound and the boxes … and recondition the field.”

That money, according to Krysiak, comes out of the Athletic Department’s budget, and while the cost — about $1200 — is not necessarily astronomical, the time and energy the softball team puts into repairing the field is more of the issue.

“The field maintenance crew is the softball team and myself,” Krysiak said.

She reported that the team would spend hours of valuable practice time cleaning up and preparing their field for play. The issue, she believes, is a matter of respect.

“I think clean-up would help, but it’s more of a spirit of respect,” Krysiak said. “It’s not anyone specifically’s fault. Changing that spirit will kind of just take time.”

Both Krysiak and Healy emphasized that no one individual was responsible for the mess, but that they would have appreciated a bit more help from the school. Krysiak suggested boosted aid from the facilities crew and a possible reconfiguration of the intramural softball schedule, better accommodated towards the softball season, as possible solutions.

Healy, meanwhile, hopes for larger improvements.

“Lights … we need lights big time,” Healy said.

Adding lights to previously existing practice fields would help not only with intramurals, Healy said, but also with club and NCAA sports.

Another possible solution, according to both Healy and Krysiak, would be an additional field for intramural sports.

“I think another field would solve all the problems,” Krysiak said. “But I certainly think there are other options.”

Healy, too, was on board with adding more fields, but realized the complex nature of trying to place a large field somewhere on our woody campus.

“If we could work out a better agreement on sharing fields, then I think it might help things,” Healy said.

Indeed, it seems that a perfect solution to this problem may be very complex, but it should not stop the school from attempting to solve the issue at hand. It is clear that both the Rec Sports program and the Athletics Department need help — certainly not due to negligence or error, but due to the limited capabilities we have here at the University of Dallas. Whether it consists of new lights, new fields or a new schedule, change needs to happen, and the school needs to help facilitate this change.

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