The Baker Orange

A wrestler’s perspective on overcrowding in Mabee gym

Story by Kyle Wilson

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Mabee Memorial Hall has been through the ringer. It was burned down and rebuilt in 1947. It has undergone two renovations and hosted President William Howard Taft as he delivered a speech on world peace.

Age may have changed the appearance of Mabee, but its functionality as the core of Baker athletics has never changed. Mabee is the hub for many athletes here at Baker. It holds the weight room, athletic training center and an overused gym.

The gymnasium in Mabee is where Baker’s Forest C. Allen beat Kansas University, before he decided to coach the Jayhawks. Although the gym is no longer used for basketball, it is home to seven other athletic teams. These team have to share the gym space and available times.

Scheduling for the gym is similar to a game of dodgeball. It is a wild free-for-all to get the balls, or in this case, practice slots. In other words, practices are rarely at a routine time. One day a team’s practice is at 4 p.m., and then the next day it’s at 6 a.m. This makes it hard for athletes to compete at a high level when there is an inconsistent in-season routine. All sports are negatively affected by the room-sharing, and many struggle to find optimal successes because of it.

As a member of the wrestling team, I see some of the problems firsthand. Before every practice, we wrestlers have to pull out six mat sections for our two-hour workout and then stack the mats when we’re finished.

When we put the mats on the east wall of the gym, it blocks the collapsable batting cage. Pulling the mats to the west wall will then disturb how the cheer mats will be placed in the gym. Leaving them in the middle takes the dance floor away from the dance team. Call it a lose, lose, lose situation.

Unlike other sports complexes on Baker’s campus, Mabee isn’t fully equipped to accommodate all of the needs for these teams. Baker doesn’t provide a locker room for the athletes who use the Mabee gym, so students have to bring their gear daily. Athletes only have access to three dreadful, barely functioning showers in the bathroom below.

This underlying problem is an unfair disadvantage to all athletes using Mabee gym. Frustrated athletes flash their tempers at their fellow athletes over who is kicking who out of a practice room. These conditions indirectly take a toll on athletes who know that they aren’t being provided a proper workout environment to ensure productivity.

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