With many teams competing for gym space, some players and parents are unhappy about their team practice schedules
By Allison Trampe, Current Staff
Sixth grader Ryan Roehl comes home from a long, demanding day of school to finally relax and unwind–except for the fact that he has the burden of basketball practice on his shoulders until 9 p.m.
This is the same cycle for the nine other boys on the sixth grade East Junior Suns basketball team.
With the busy schedule of winter sports the Junior Suns have a late Monday and Wednesday practice. This has created some complaints from players and parents.
“I’m not very happy that the sixth graders have practice from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on school nights,” said Wendy Roehl, parent of Ryan Roehl.
“Ryan needs to get up at 6:15 every morning in order for me to get to work on time and by the time he gets home and showers he’s not getting into bed until 9:45 or 10:00,” Roehl said.
Not only is Wendy upset, but so is her son. “I do not like practicing late at night because I don’t get enough sleep on nights when I have practice and I’m always tired in the morning,” Ryan said.
This issue not only occurs for the players, but also the parents and coaching staff.
“It’s not so much the bedtime, but it’s just tough for the adults because by that time we have stuff that we need to get done, you know, work and laundry and stuff like that. So by the time we get home, get [the kids] to bed and everything like that, it’s like 9:30 and then we get to start our stuff,” said Dave Gawrych, head coach of East Junior Suns sixth grade team and president of East Junior Suns League.
While Gawrych is not a fan of the late practice time, he knows that his team is getting older and understands they get pushed to the later time so the younger kids can have the earlier gym times. “I’d like it a little earlier, but it is what it is,” Gawrych said.
“I’m not very happy that the sixth graders have practice from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on school nights.”
– Wendy Roehl, parent
This problem of gym time troubles springs from gym scheduling which is a difficult process done by the WBHS athletics department.
“At all the other schools that I’ve worked at, scheduling is always difficult because there’s so many community groups and youth groups that want to use the facilities. We have the high school programs, but here it’s doubly as difficult because there’s two schools looking to use the same amount of facilities,” said Shane Hansen, East athletic director.
With ten winter sports teams and many community groups, the process involves a lot of back and forth between high school coaches and the East and West athletic directors.
“What’s done is that we just try to work together with East and West High School with the coaches and with the athletic directors from both schools and look at a schedule,” Hansen said.
The district uses a software program called Facility Scheduler. The program is an online calendar that allows users to look at any gym in the district calendar.
It’s not as easy as just plugging teams into open slots. There are limitations regarding many of the spaces. For example, in order to preserve the new facilities at Silverbrook Intermediate School, the district has decided to allow only certain sports to practice there. Baseball teams, according to Hansen, might damage the Silverbrook gym.
“There’s so many little nitpicky things that go into all of it,” Hansen said.
If a team that is in season has a game or meet, the team gets the gym space before any other teams or community groups. Right now at the high school the winter sports teams have the priority with gym time.
With the facilities being used constantly, all day for physical education classes and all night for sports, it is hard to find times for all the teams.
“Ideally we’d love to have the younger kids get in and out earlier as much as possible, but for all the reasons I mentioned before that’s not always possible, specifically to the Junior Suns,” Hansen said.
Many parents, players and coaches believe that there needs to be a change to create a better system of scheduling.
Hansen also believes that there needs to be more space for teams to go practice. He said there should be a “do it all sports arena” that can allow any team to go practice there.
(Top image: Dave Gawrych coaches the East Junior Suns in the fieldhouse Wednesday night. Photographs courtesy of Brian Trampe.)