The Baker Orange

A dancer’s perspective on overcrowding in Mabee gym

Story by Krista Porter, Guest Writer

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Mabee gym may be the busiest area on campus. The gym is constantly full of athletes. With wrestling, dance, cheer, baseball, softball or golf, there is always some kind of activity. Though it is nice, the gym is not ideal for all the sports trying to use it.

“The supply and demand is the biggest issue with Mabee gym,” Assistant Director of Athletics and Communication Tyler Price said. “The space isn’t big enough for three to five teams to practice in, and that’s something we need.”

The three teams that use Mabee gym as a main practice area are there at least four days a week. In addition, the softball and baseball teams occasionally use the nets for inside hitting practice, and golfers use the cages in the gym as well. Transitioning between different sports practice times is not an ideal situation for the teams.

“It’s a challenge,” head dance coach Lynsey Payne said. “Wrestling has to keep their mats down to keep them nice, but then we have to have a hardwood floor to dance on as well, so they are constantly having to move them for us.”

Not only does the gym not house enough space for the athletes to practice, but it also does not provide the necessary facilities for support. There are two classrooms connected to the gym. Instead of classrooms, there should be a locker room that all teams can use.

“We have to have adequate facilities,” head wrestling coach Cody Garcia said. “Right now, we don’t have a locker room to change in so we have to change out in the open while the dance team is starting their practice.”

Wrestlers have no other place to practice on campus. They cannot constantly move the mats or they will be ruined. Not having everything they need in the one area where they practice is a concern.

I am a member of the dance team, and we occasionally have to practice in the racquetball courts of Collins Gym because there are not enough open practice times in Mabee Gym. However, the racquetball courts do not provide enough space for us to have a productive practice.

“Ideally we would like to have our own space but so do the other teams,” Payne said. “The gym is beneficial to us because it has the size we need, but we can’t utilize it when five other teams are needing the same space at the same time.”

No doubt about it, Mabee gym is overcrowded and under-supplied. None of the teams are getting the time or space they deserve. With two BU wrestlers winning national championships this season and dance continuing to go to nationals consistently, the teams of Mabee gym deserve better.

“All the coaches work really well together in figuring out a schedule for practice times,” Payne said. “But that still doesn’t account for Mabee Gym just not benefiting all teams in the way it could.”

There are many ideas about what would make Mabee Gym more efficient. For starters, locker rooms are sorely needed. Moving the dance team to its own practice space would allow the wrestling mats to stay in place, which will help them last longer. The cheer team members could then roll their mats on top of the wrestling mats during their practice time. One less sport using the gym will free up time and space for when the outdoor sports have to practice inside during bad weather.

“We aim to give our coaches and athletes the best possible situation,” Price said. “Right now, that is hard with the facilities we have available, but we are working toward getting the teams the space they need to succeed further in the future.”