April 3, 2001

Get Off the Court

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As a sports enthusiast I came to Cornell four years ago with dreams of playing basketball every night. Soon after dinner I imagined I imagined hitting the hardwood for an hour of good ole’ fashion hoops. Unfortunately those lofty aspirations were squashed quickly into my college career.

For four years I have waited on the sidelines of the Helen Newman basketball courts patiently waiting my turn. Now, I am partly to blame because the court is designated as winner-stay-on, so if I am part of a winning team, my playing time continues. Still my inability to win should not translate to a “blockade” on the rest of my intended basketball night. It sometimes seems that the Helen Newman administration is indirectly punishing the winless players by making us sit on the sidelines while we enviously watch at least three more games before we get another crack at a win.

The problem is that the far side of the split gym in Helen Newman gives preference to badminton and volleyball. I would not have qualms with this policy if there were an approximately equal number of participants looking for a pickup badminton/volleyball match as there people desperately awaiting a shot at a basketball game. From what I have observed, though, the numbers are heavily slanted on the basketball side. If the numbers were measured on a balance, the small number of badminton/volleyball players would be catapulted so high off the measuring apparatus that they would be propelled for a complimentary skyride around Ithaca.

The peak basketball hours are from 7-10 p.m. Therefore, from these hours, I suggest that the badminton/volleyball deference be revoked to allow the overflow of potential basketball participants to play on the other side of the divider. Though this might aggravate a small percentage of badminton/volleyball players it would make the Helen Newman courts much more enjoyable for the larger majority of its participants. To compensate for this inconvenience to badminton/volleyball players, I recommend a time slot dedicated solely for volleyball and badminton to control the both sides of the gym.

Let’s imagine for a second that the administration takes my suggestion and changes the system. The court’s shoddy floor would then be the next problem to fix. The floor is the most slick, injury prone one I have ever stepped foot on. I know that the Cornell brass is obsessed with its beloved hockey team, but trying to make amateur players play basketball on a court as slippery as Lynah rink’s ice is downright vengeful. Games end up being played not to see which team can score the most points, but rather which team can have the most players last the longest without taking a spill. With the 10% increase on statutory tuition, I recommend putting some of that money into redoing the Helen Newman floor.

I am sure many others have a similar opinion and I recommend that they jump on this basketball bandwagon. For when we basketball junkies unite, we will all be able to relish in the sweet smell of new lacquer on the Helen Newman floor. Then we can drop our hockey skates off at Lynah and lace up our basketball shoes and let the winless and hapless players battle on the far side of the blue divider.

That will be the day.

Archived article by Jason Skolnik