Give the Students of Virginia Tech a Place/Field/Court to Play Soccer
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We, the student soccer players at Virginia Tech, have been driven out from every place we could play soccer without risk of injury. We have listed below every place from which we have been evicted (as of January 28, 2016).*
- Varsity Practice Turf Field
- Intramural Turf Fields
- Roller Hockey Rink
- War Memorial Gym (basketball courts)
- War Memorial Gym (racquetball courts)
- McComas Gym (basketball courts)
- Club Soccer Fields/Softball Field (next to IM turf fields)
The following are places we have attempted to play but stopped doing so due to the quality of the field (i.e. bumps, knots, mud, etc. that naturally resulted in a loss of ball control but more importantly cramps and injuries).
- The Drillfield
- Prairie Quad
- Ag Quad
- Presidents Quad
- Dietrick Field
- West AJ/Cochrane Plaza/Quad
- Grassy area next to IM Turf Fields
On Fridays and Saturdays, we are given 2-3 hours each day in War Memorial Gym. These twice-a-week sessions are often crowded to the point where we are waiting to play a game for nearly an hour (with over 150 people trying to play on two futsal courts).
Our Proposed Solution(s):**
- Tennis Courts by Cassell Stadium
- Building an Outdoor Court
- War Memorial Gym
- Open up Intramural Turf Fields
- Encourage the playability of soccer and allow for more people to play the sport they love
- Inspire the creation of friendships and bonds as people meet others who share the same passion
- Prevent cramps and injuries that result from playing on unlevel, poor surfaces (such as the Drillfield)
- Improve the quality and competition of both Club and Varsity teams by attracting soccer recruits
- Promote diversity at Virginia Tech by attracting more people who are avid soccer players
Special Note: This petition in no way or form represents our intention of going against current policy or the rules in place at Virginia Tech. What it does represent, however, is our disapproval of the stringency and inflexibility of these rules and the “by-the-book” way in which they are enforced. More importantly, this petition represents our desire to bring this issue to the attention of our students and faculty here at Virginia Tech in the hopes of resolving this concern. We are willing to compromise with many potential solutions, and are completely willing to engage in discussion with Virginia Tech, Rec Sports, and other authorities to reach a conclusion that is fair and acceptable to all parties involved.
We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens and/or student soccer players who urge our leaders and Virginia Tech to act now to provide more opportunities for the growth of soccer, its playability, culture, and the sport in general at Virginia Tech.
*Detailed explanations of the circumstances in which we were evicted from each location listed in the petition: (Note: not all details are listed, but a fairly detailed overview has been provided for each circumstance. All quotations are exact.)
- Varsity Practice Turf Field: We understand and recognize the importance of varsity sports. In fact, we wish our Division I athletes all the best in their endeavors and would not ever attempt to limit them from reaching their potential. However, we were kicked off from this location at times and days when the team was not even practicing. We understand the situation for grass fields. Turf fields, though, are much more durable, so it does not make sense that we should not be allowed to play/train here.
- Intramural Turf Fields: Again, we understand and recognize the importance of intramural sports, athletes, and their commitments. However, we have been evicted from these fields as well, even when we were on a vacant field (or area of turf outside the field, for instance, when there were games) and took special care to not interfere in ongoing games. VT Rec Sports has expressed its stance on this issue: even though we have paid for intramural memberships, we are not allowed to play/train on these fields for insurance reasons, etc. Rec Sports has stated that they would “need to have someone out there, watching us 24/7…as well as the means to take care of us if we were to get injured.” [Rec Sports representatives, War Memorial office, Oct. 25, 2015]. Ironically, we were told to go play on the Drillfield and specific quads (places where people had already gotten injured previously). According to Rec Sports, it is difficult to do so given the monetary and time constraints they have currently. Considering these viewpoints, regardless of our own opinions, we are willing to pay a reasonable amount of money in turn to VT/Rec Sports for the privilege of being allowed to play on these fields.
- Roller Hockey Rink: After being driven from the aforementioned fields, we decided to put away our cleats and turn to futsal, in particular, outdoor hard court futsal on the roller hockey rink. (In fact, we believe that in the modern game, futsal is nearly a different sport from the actual game of soccer, as it is played on a different surface with a different type of ball and altogether different type of shoes. But we will not debate over that now. Our sole purpose here is to express disapproval for being kicked out of this location as well). Although the Virginia Tech roller hockey club team and other roller hockey players use the roller hockey rink, after consulting with a few players one day who had just finished practicing, they allowed us to graciously use the court. We were, however, told by the police that night that we were trespassing, and were not allowed to play here since “there is a fence around the court and a lock on the gate.” When the hockey players left, they did in fact lock the gate. However, persons unknown in the past had torn a hole in a side door of the fence and that was how we planned to leave. The police were suspicious that we had torn the fence and let us off with a warning.
- War Memorial Gym (basketball courts): Finally, we resort to an indoor facility in the hopes that we would be allowed to quietly play the sport we all love without fear of being caught, evicted, or told to leave. However, once again, as we attempted to play during open-rec basketball time (when we had empty space and the courts were unoccupied), we were once again told that we could not be passing a soccer ball around or even juggling alone since this was open-rec basketball time. We conceded that we would leave if basketball players showed up and wished to play (since naturally, they do have first right to the court if the time is set aside for them), but nevertheless our efforts were futile and we walked out of a nearly empty gym many times with nowhere else to go.
- War Memorial Gym (racquetball courts): In the end, we turned to the last place we could think of: the racquetball courts. Many of us go to indoor gyms in our hometowns, and these gyms have specific courts designated for racquetball. However, we all conferred and realized that all of these gyms had in fact allowed us to juggle/pass around in these courts with a couple other friends before, provided that we weren’t causing too much of a ruckus of course. Thus, we (apparently wrongly) decided that it would be okay to do so here, as a soccer ball, even if hit against the racquetball court walls cannot really do any damage (certainly no more than an actual racquetball). Once again, we were removed from these courts, and told that they were only to be used for racquetball and wallyball.
- McComas Gym (basketball courts): At McComas, we have been told to leave (in situations when there were only a few basketball players on the court(s) and we were not interrupting them, but simply juggling and/or passing on the side) multiple times. We figured that it would be okay, since the courts were mostly empty, but supposedly, we cannot do so.
- Club Soccer Fields/Softball Field (next to IM turf fields): We understand, the fields are grass, so naturally we wouldn’t be allowed to play on them. This was our second choice after being removed from the IM turf fields. However, being removed from these fields isn’t such a big issue, and we totally agree that a lot of money is spent on keeping the grass in top condition for the club teams. Thus, we concede our case as it relates to these fields, but have listed them for the purpose of recording the history of this struggle.
**Our Proposed Solution(s):
- Tennis Courts by Cassell Stadium: Using the predominantly vacant tennis courts and turning two or three of them into a futsal court – simple, cheap, and the asphalt surface is already perfect for futsal
- Building an Outdoor Court: Similar to the outdoor basketball courts in Lee/Pritchard quad, the design of an outdoor futsal court includes laying down asphalt and placing two goals at each end – simple, convenient to the students, would require some construction
- War Memorial Gym: Replacing ONE of the basketball courts at war memorial with a futsal court – There already exist multiple basketball courts at War Memorial Gym, McComas Gym, and outdoor courts. Placing two futsal goals under the hoops and reserving it for futsal whenever people wish to play would be simple, fair, and at no cost
- Intramural Turf Fields: These fields lie empty in the winter and spring seasons (since after the fall season, with soccer and flag football, there are really no other intramural sports left that have to be played on these turf fields). Opening it up to Virginia Tech students would be simple, fair, logical, and at very little cost (especially since we are willing to pay a reasonable amount for any monetary constraints the Rec Sports department or Virginia Tech may have). IN ADDITION, all sports players (including soccer, football, field hockey, ultimate frisbee, etc.) would be able to play on these brand new turf fields.
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