This time of year, if you head out for a walk around 7:30 p.m., cross Tom Braniff Drive and look to the west, you can enjoy the Texas sunset outlining the Tower. You’ll also be standing on the rocky surface of the MacNab rugby pitch.
This sunset was a particularly memorable view during my freshman year. At least twice a week I would note the scene from ultimate practice on the field from 6 to 8 p.m. Over three years, the sunset has stayed constant, but the field itself might not.
According to the expected transition of ownership, rec sports and club teams will require a new place to practice, play soccer and carry out powderpuff rivalries. The Guptas have informed Interim President Dr. John Plotts of their interest in purchasing the rugby pitch to use for an as yet unrevealed type of community center on the land.
Arguably, the rugby pitch has been a major piece of student life for any number of classes. On the old pitch students have run miles, worn out cleats and dashed touchdowns.
Teams have trained for hours together, from rugby to ultimate to spikeball. In our college experience, we’ve all gathered there at some point, but, classes after ours will not have that opportunity.
The bittersweetness of the sale will mark the end of a good, well-used field. More importantly, I hope it brings the anticipation of a new piece of land on which to hold flag football leagues and to host Saturday morning rugby games — one without some of the shortcomings of the MacNab pitch.
I’ve torn up my knees and elbows more times than I can count against its rocky dirt. In the winter, three-quarters of the overhead lights refuse to power on and light the pitch. In the spring rain, it pools water all across its 12,000-odd square yards.
Administration: here are my hopes. I hope it is tended to as diligently as the athletic fields; watered, mowed and maintained. I hope the rugby team gets a clubhouse space. Most of all, I hope club and rec athletes never have to cross four lanes of traffic to reach their designated field ever again.
These are just a few of the challenges I hope rec sports and club teams will not have to face on the future rugby pitch.
I hope the administration doesn’t stop here. As Provost Dr. Jonathan Sanford has said, students are looking for places to participate and compete playing tennis, run track workouts and play soccer. While we enjoy an intellectual richness here at the University of Dallas, challenging ourselves physically should be just as necessary.
Physical competition is part of a well-rounded education. To participate in the joy of being healthy is to challenge oneself physically. The Greeks we study did the same.
To have the opportunity to compete in a fashion that best suits one’s talents is a privilege, and is one that should be encouraged during our college years.
I’m grateful that the UD administration has made note of the need for suitable spaces to practice and compete that rec and club teams represent. I look forward to seeing them follow through.
I hope they meet this need promptly by providing a well-lit, easily-accessible field. Preferably with more grass.