The Fitness Center is Closed? Are You Kidding Me?

Last Tuesday, blessed with a recovery day and consequently a shorter practice, I headed from Track practice to lift some weights in the fitness center before going back home. I was anxious, considering that I hadn’t lifted in nearly a week and was looking forward to getting back into a routine. So around 4:20 pm that afternoon, I sprinted into the weight room ready to lift. I only had about 40 minutes or so before I had to go home, so I needed to begin my workout immediately. I opened the door to the fitness center and jogged in. However, impeding my progress was an adult supervisor riding a stationary bike. The man asked me sternly, “Are you with Basics?” I responded with a truthful “no” not knowing why he was asking me such a question. To my shock, I was soon kicked out of the weight room. The grounds for kicking me out? Apparently, ONLY Basics participants are allowed there between 3:15-5:00 PM on all weekdays except Wednesday. The news was and still is outrageous to me. Suddenly, I have to change my entire workout schedule to fit the restriction, and on certain days I do not even have enough time to workout. I can not believe that the athletic administration, which promotes a healthy lifestyle, has made it harder for students to stay in shape and exercise. Does the cage close down between 3-5 pm for Track everyday? No. If there is room on the track, anyone is welcome to use the facility, so long as they do not disturb the team practice. Allowing a few extra people in the fitness center will not disturb Basics. If a machine or dumbbell is available then anyone should be able to use it; the weight room is a student resource. However, the number of athletes who are affected feel the consequences severely. Those who have specific workout routines are forced to decide between schoolwork, fitness and dinner. Day students, who have to go home early on certain days, simply can not lift or run the treadmill. For those who play a team sport but still wish to lift, the restriction is even worse. How can a JV2 basketball player eat dinner from 4:30-5:15 pm, go to practice from 6:00-7:15 pm, lift after practice, and still get their work done? It’s a shame that the athletic department is denying us students our right to exercise. Cotton Harrold ’04 has already attempted to enlighten our administration to this injustice. By collecting the signatures of nearly 700 students who disapproved of the fitness center restriction, he hoped that the department would be persuaded. Apparently, support from almost 70% of our entire school population was not enough convincing, as he was shot down without even any compromise. What is the argument supporting the restriction, anyway? Are there not enough machines available for a few extra people? Maybe not, but the answer to the problem is not denying a student resource from the students. Perhaps the administration should look to enlarge its weight room in order to accommodate the large crowd. Isn’t a healthy lifestyle more important than a few crowded elliptical machines? Furthermore, why is Andover catering to Basics, a “sport” for those not interested in actually playing a sport, while ignoring the needs of the Andover students engaged in an interscholastic sport? Maybe we could reach a compromise? How about if the restriction is shortened to 3:00-4:00 pm? That change would allow for Basics athletes to have their own facility for an hour, and still give other students the opportunity and time to use the equipment. Thursday, after Phillipian presstime, a student-organized sit-in was held in fitness center between 3-5 in the afternoon. Hopefully, real action from the student body can convince the athletic department to change its unjust restriction.