The 2015 Spring Semester signifies an ongoing struggle for space with the various organizations at Lesley University; a collegiate “turf war.” The various “gangs” here all desire the use of the athletic facility underneath Stebbins Hall. “Stebb,” as it is often referred to, is a multi-purpose athletic facility, equipped with batting cages, a rubber floor surface, and studio-style mirrors. Any collaborative team may use this wonderful space to great effect; however, there is simply not enough room for all of us.
This issue represents a large issue for student athletes here at Lesley; as a member of the Men’s Soccer Team I can personally attest to this conundrum. Though still in its infancy, our program has been quite successful, with an already well respected reputation in our conference. Program founder and former Head Coach Paul Vasconcelos, as well as his former assistant, current Head Coach Jim Costa have established a program that caters to young men seeking an exceptional educational and athletic experience. More than anything we have a group that is passionate about soccer.
If space permits, a group of players head down to Stebb and play futsal (indoor soccer) for two hours, at least 4 days a week, in addition to the two mandatory sessions a week we have at Baldwin Gym during our off-season. We just love to play, plain and simple. All of that competitive fire, passion, and spirit, is present on other teams in the school. Women’s Soccer, fresh off of a three-peat in the NECC, frequents to Stebb for yoga classes and futsal. Not a day goes by where the batting cages aren’t used by either the Baseball team, a program even younger than Men’s Soccer that has already made a name for itself, or Softball, who epitomizes the word “dynasty” with six consecutive NECC titles.
The unfortunate reality is that these NCAA sports have to compete with other school organizations, like Cheerleading, Yoga Classes, and the Dance Team. The studio style mirrors are perfect for these different groups, so it comes as no surprise that they too look to utilize Stebb just as everyone else does. This can affect not only the quality of athletics but these organizations as well. According to junior Bryanna Laughlin, captain of LU Cheer, “Cheer has been forced into situations where we use small rooms that could potentially put us at risk, and hinder our ability to grow and learn as a club. It is hard to retain members when you don’t have the space, and it is hard to get better and achieve more when you can’t try new things because the hanging lights are in the way.”
However, there is a silver lining to this conundrum. Lesley University finds itself in a crucial stage in its development, and because of that this community finds itself embodying its very own mascot. Though the Lynx is not a large predator, it is cunning, independent, and packs a punch, asserting itself as a powerful presence in the food chain. Lesley University mirrors that, with our development as an institution and a community of diverse people taking Cambridge by storm. With our recent success and high ceiling of potential, the future is enticing.
The opening of the Lunder Arts Center should be a symbol of optimism for not only members of LUCAD, but even us Student Athletes as well. Lesley could enhance its reputation not only in the Northeast, but nationally, drawing students from all over the country and affirming itself as one of the most unique provides of higher education in the nation. With some sports programs struggling for members, it only makes sense that investing in this demographic could be beneficial for the university as a whole. We must be patient and work hard for advancement. For fellow athletes reading this who feel passionate enough about this subject, attend a Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meeting. It is an opportunity for Student Athletes to voice their thoughts, opinions, and ideas with an end goal of implementing them into action.
My final piece of advice stems from the motto of the University itself- Perissem Ni Perstitissem, Latin for “I Had Perished Had I Not Persisted.” So as I conclude, I simply ask for you to be patient. I guarantee that if we continue to persist, there will be no “perishing”, but rather a golden age of prosperity for Lesley University and us as student athletes.