Sports Utopia

Castleton University currently has 26 varsity sports offered and now will be adding women’s rugby and women’s golf. The Spartan sports complex was built in 2009 to modernize the gym and workout facilities. Many schools around the country continue to put money into their sports departments to incentivize recruiting. Along with the sports complex, Spartan Stadium and a newly formed football team made their debuts in 2009. And in 2010 Castleton, the baseball and softball teams got refurbished fields. Castleton athletics were booming. With the new facilities, Castleton became a contender in the arms race that is recruitment.

Since the late 2000’s, Castleton has continued to add sports at the varsity level and now the question is where do we go from here? Indoor track, one of Castleton’s recent additions, doesn’t have a true facility to practice and compete in.

So that got me thinking. If money wasn’t a factor, what would you add to the school to improve the athletic experience on campus?

A fieldhouse was the most frequent answer I got when asking the question. Athletic Director Deanna Tyson said it was an easy choice for her. She liked the idea of a field house because it would be “something that everyone could use” and would also benefit the indoor track and field teams.

When I asked the question to Tyson, her eyes briefly lit up. She’d definitely thought about this one before. In an almost Walt Disney-esque way, she started detailing the plans for her fictional project. A road would continue from the parking lot adjacent to the softball field across the river and into the open lot. The building would house a full-sized track with locker rooms and offices, based on Tyson’s dream field house.

As Castleton University advances toward being a well-known competitive force, we must try and accommodate all of our student athletes and make sure they have the resources to be successful. I think Castleton does a great job helping athletes get and maintain a competitive edge, but in my fantasy world of Castleton, some things can change.

My addition to Castleton athletics piggybacks on Tyson’s idea. In addition to the field house that would include a track and turf field, I would also add an ice hockey rink.

Having all the sports on campus would be ideal, said assistant professor Marybeth Lennox. She laughed and smiled from ear to ear when asked the question. Like a kid in a candy shop, she paused and thought intently about her answer. Locker rooms were something that she emphasized saying that home and away locker rooms were a must in her Castleton fantasy. Although many teams train year-round, only teams that are in season get to use the current locker room.

Lennox also emphasized the preparation and planning that would need to be put into a project like a new building. Although fun to think about, Lennox said many things would need to be considered like finances and environmental law requirements. She said that although it might be nice to have a new building, we should preserve the things we love and that make us Castleton like the trails that run along the campus boundary

The most interesting answer I got was from Amber Lees, a senior health science major. She’d like to see more access to sports psychologists for student athletes. Lees mentioned specifically how some athletes returning from an injury can be impacted psychologically. The uniqueness of her answer caught me off-guard. In a time when most athletes want the nicest newest equipment, some might want something totally different.

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