Third in a series of dream-scapes for athletic construction: Tennis and Rowing
I know what you're thinking.....we have a tennis team?
Yes, we do. And, like all the other teams, it is in the Big Ten. Which means.....well, you know what that means. It's the reason I'm writing these pieces.
At one time, there were 12 outdoor courts behind the stadium. Then it was decided that parking for football and the stadium area needed to be expanded. Now we have six courts. Kinda tells you where tennis was on the priority list. And this is what it looks like:
No seating, no scoreboard, and the "Tennis House" is a building about, oh, I'm guessing 400 square feet. As for the indoor tennis facility, well, there isn't one. For matches indoors, Rutgers rents court time in nearby tennis clubs. So you know what's coming next.....
The indoor facility is, in essence, a tennis club. Students and staff can use it like a regular club. And, of course, it provides year round space for the tennis team.
Seating, scoreboards....it is a true facility, not just a few courts placed inside a chain link fence.
We used to have crew, the men's version of this sport. That was cut for financial reasons, despite significant outcries from alumni and others. There have even been efforts to fund it privately, to no avail. But we do have women's rowing and it still uses the Class of 1914 Boat House off Route 18 on the Raritan.
It is primarily a storage facility for the shells and office space. From the Rutgers website:
For land workouts, Rutgers offers a 16-person indoor rowing tank which allows rowers to maintain their feel for the water during the winter training portion of the year. We have a total over 50 Concept II rowing ergometers which we use for building cardiovascular endurance and fitness. For weight training, Rutgers rowers receive personal attention from the University's professional strength trainers and use state of the art equipment located in the training rooms on each campus.
"....use state of the art equipment located in the training rooms on each campus." Which means the team doesn't have its own training area. Okay, now the other guys.
Wisconsin Porter Boathouse
Did we mention that Ohio State is the two-time defending national champions? Did we really need to?
What to do? Dream big!
The Boathouse is a boat house. Could it be dressed up, expanded? Absolutely - it must, along with better indoor training facilities. Dedicated facilities for the rowing team. And we'll put that on our list. Check.
Tennis is another story. We need a proper practice and competition site. And it can be available to the general public, students, and staff. And we need both an indoor and outdoor set up. So we move it out of the stadium area and over to Livingston to the area by the RAC. Like so:
Priorities! Where are the priorities?
I'm not putting a timeline or a priority number on this project. And maybe it's one of the last to be built - though I hope not. But somewhere down the line, Rutgers needs to create a sense that there is a desire to be great. Just as Dave White wrote that there needs to be a commitment to basketball, there needs to be a commitment to the other sports, as well. And we're not done.
Oh, and last thoughts coming tomorrow.