Basketball, track lack facility space, make adjustments

Neya Thanikachalam, Editorial Editor

At Naperville Central, basketball is the only sport where both the girls and boys teams play during the same season. With so many players and teams, the need for sufficient space to practice arises. Add indoor track to the mix, and a problem emerges.

There are eight basketball teams in total, four for each gender. The girls and boys varsity teams practice in the wood gym, while the six other teams practice in the field house.

When track season starts, the indoor track events must also find space to practice.

“It really comes down to communication,” Meghan Howard, senior and varsity girls basketball player, said. “I mean, there’s 24 hours in a day. I’m sure we could all find a time to practice.”

There have been times when multiple teams have come to practice at the same time in the same place.

“Some days we’ll have games, so maybe there’s an assumption that we’re not practicing at all, but in reality, if we have a late game, we’re most likely going to practice in the morning as well,” Howard said. “So, like I said before, communication between coaches and players [is key].”

Senior and varsity girls basketball player Caroline Brock says that practice and work space are worse in the field house.

“When we were freshmen and sophomores in the field house, there were so many teams there, and you really only get one section, and sometimes the boys are on the other side of the curtain from you, and it’s really distracting,” Brock said.

According to varsity girls basketball coach Andy Nussbaum, practice times are divided up for all the teams at the beginning of the season. Some coaches start creating a schedule as early as October.

“We kinda settled into a routine,” Nussbaum said. “There’s times when there’s a conflict, but we’re pretty good about working it out. [For] the lower levels, [Coaches Ed] Watson and [Heidi] Heslinga work out that schedule in late October. [Overall], I would say it’s pretty equitable.”

The practice time slot changes throughout the season, with time slots gradually shortening.

“The standard slot is two hours,” Nussbaum said. “As you get towards the end of the season and indoor track gets some time, so then we scale it down to an hour and a half. Early in the season, the varsity teams go two and a half hours […] until they have a game.”

Sophomore boys basketball coach Ed Watson’s team has to practice in the field house, and he does not believe that the current situation is beneficial for indoor track.

“It’s not ideal,” Watson said. “We don’t have a field house. The concept of indoor track is very difficult when you don’t have a field house. I know that we call that box that has three basketball courts in it a field house, but a true field house would have a true track that you could run around.”

Nussbaum agrees that the space in the field house is cramped.

“It would be nicer if there was more space [in the field house],” Nussbaum said. “[…] It’s difficult for them to practice in there, because if you’re running full speed that wall comes pretty quick. We have to put those curtains down so no one runs into anybody else and gets hurt.”