New lights complicate practice schedules

In an effort to maximize the practice time for all athletic teams, this coming year there will be the first evening practices ever held on Ted Slavin Field. Due to the extended stay on campus for student athletes attending evening practices, a mandatory study hall will be implemented. The athletes will not be allowed to leave campus to get food, rather eating at the cafeteria which will stay open later.

Evening practices also raise the question of transportation, as the commute for many students will force a late night after practice.

The idea of study hall was developed from a past optional after-school work period for athletes who wished to do assignments before rather than after practices. However, the policy of a completely mandatory work time is flexible.

“If a student has another obligation, he or she would go to that instead,” Head of the Upper School Harry Salamandra said. “Originally, students would go get food before practice, which with an added commute I believe is not the best use of time. We’re just trying to be fairer to the students with a big workload.”

Football Coach Vic Eumont agrees with the concept of study hall, as long as the main purpose of the time given for it is to study.

“I’m not a fan of study halls when they include bad students, but if they are good students then they will study,” Eumont said.

Attendance coordinator Gabriel Preciado will proctor the study halls. Salamandra addressed the issue of food before evening practices, noting the athletes’ need for an energy source before working out. As of last Thursday, he, the athletic directors, and other administrators met to discuss plans to ask the Cafeteria to pre-make sandwiches and make other items, such as chicken tenders, fruit juices, and string cheese available. This is an attempt to nourish athletes and provide them with enough energy to perform up to their daily standard, regardless of what time they practice.

In order to make the commute more convenient for athletes without their drivers’ licenses, as of last Thursday Salamandra and the athletic offices have agreed on a 7:45 shuttle to take students who live on the Westside to the Middle School campus. Still, even with the extra help of a shuttle bus, many students will still need to commute another hour to their respected homes.

Jordan Tolson ’10 lives in Inglewood, and is one of the many sophomores on the football team without his driver’s license.

“[The commute] will definitely take time off of my studying time at night. It will also be an inconvenience for my parents,” Tolson, the linebacker, said.

But even with the potential defects, Salamandra and the Athletic Office are confident that fluctuating practice times from afternoons to evenings will be a better concept than commuting to off-campus facilities.

Both the field hockey and football teams will utilize the lights for practices this fall season, with field hockey practicing Wednesday nights until 7:30 pm and the football team practicing other nights until 7:30 pm. On the days where one team practices during the evening, the other team will practice right after school.

“Overall the convenience is nice. We’re going to get a lot more practice in on much better field conditions,” Erin Creznic, varsity field hockey coach, said. Last year, the field hockey team held practices at Franklin Field and Valley College. The squad was eventually forced to practice during eighth period at Ted Slavin field, before the football team’s slot.

Eumont also expressed excitement for the upcoming slew of practices and games. Though the team will have to adapt to practicing at later hours, he is confident there will not be a change in the effectiveness of each session.

“We do a certain thing on Monday; we do a certain thing on Tuesday, and so on. When and where we do it won’t matter. Eumont said. “But the fact that we’ve got a field turf here and now having lights to go with it really gives us everything we want.”

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