Eli Fishman and Sofie Paternite, Co-Sports Editors
A common pre-game, or should I say pre-performance, phrase in the arts is “break a leg.” Though for students of the arts this is simply metaphorical, for athletes at Columbia High School (CHS) and in the towns of Maplewood and South Orange, breaking a leg is very possible.
While tons of money and support from the towns go to the musical, band and orchestra departments, the athletic fields have fallen into disrepair. At Underhill Field, home of CHS athletics, athletes are forced to deal with pieces of turf coming up from the field. Many athletes complain, some have been injured by the conditions, and it has even been rumored that other high schools have refused to play at CHS due to the poor field quality.
And athletic uniforms, oh, do not get me started.
Athletes at CHS have mentioned feeling envious of surrounding schools’ sports programs. Millburn and Livingston high schools both have two turf fields at their athletic complexes, West Orange High School has five soccer fields of turf on campus, and CHS just has a singular, crumbling turf field enclosed by a neighborhood and elementary school at its disposal. Half of the time one wants to use the field it’s occupied by various groups of elementary school kids playing touch football, claiming that they need a 40×20 yard area for 10 people to use.
So maybe, just maybe, us athletes at CHS can get some of the money and attention that goes to the arts. Instead of coaches, how about we call them directors? Then, maybe they will receive a healthier stipend than the athletic coaches currently do and will become as beloved as some of the school’s theatre leaders.
Instead of uniforms, maybe athletes should call their clothing costumes, so that they can get new ones each year for their “performances” on the field or court. And how about we call the locker rooms dressing rooms, so that AC units can be added and the Underhill locker rooms will feel less like saunas.
At a minimum, Ritzer field could be redone so that athletic teams could use it and athletes would not have to travel so far to get to their practices. The girls basketball team has to travel over a mile to South Orange Middle School to practice on a gym floor that hasn’t been swept of dust since SZA was a freshman. The same goes for the girls soccer and softball teams, who use Meadowlands Field to practice and play games.
So next year when you CHS athletes go canning in the villages to raise money for your team, try pretending that you are an aspiring artist, part of a debate team or part of the school musical. Then maybe you will be treated better than you are by CHS.
Design By: Jack Griffith