Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Flynn: Housing Shortage in Sports Facilities

Housing Shortage in Sports Facilities

By Sean P. Flynn

The baseball team is playing its home games in Montgomery County, Md. The basketball team plays 35 blocks from campus in downtown Washington. The track team has no quality on-campus facility. Just last week, Harbin Field, home of the men’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s soccer teams, became a driveway.

Consider it a Georgetown sports housing problem.

With the building boom (incidentally for a set of buildings Georgetown cannot fund yet) going on in the Village C parking lot, the already poor living conditions of Georgetown athletics just got worse.

The men’s lacrosse team learned just two weeks ago that they would not be playing home games at Harbin Field because of the construction. They will be moved up to the AstroTurf of Kehoe Field, which they will share with the women’s lacrosse team.

While the men’s team may benefit from the turf, fan interest will certainly suffer. Kehoe Field is frankly a terrible place for watching sports. The bleachers are not centered at the midfield and sit at least 50 feet from the field. The view of the field is blocked by three huge light standards.

Kehoe Field’s location may be another problem. While Harbin Field was within a one-minute walk of the Harbin and Village C dorms, Kehoe Field is a good walk from the dorms. Georgetown students are notoriously lazy about going up to Kehoe for football, field hockey and women’s lacrosse games, especially after a night of partying.

On Harbin Field, the stands were right next to the benches, providing spectators an up-close-and-personal view of the game. en’s lacrosse’s most exciting and unique attribute is the line-changing, and fans got a good view of how that happens. And being close to the play gave fans a great view of the hard hitting and aggression that makes men’s lacrosse so exciting. When overflow crowds were accommodated by opening the east side of the field, and when tailgaters lined the south endzone, Georgetown had a formidable home-field advantage.

Georgetown Head Coach Dave Urick told The Hoya’s Karen Travers that playing on turf will not be all that bad for Georgetown, which plays most of its road games on turf.

“Our physical skills adapt well to

the turf,” he said. “But we’d rather play on grass [at Harbin Field] for the home-field sense.”

Asking for home-field advantage is a hard bargain nowadays at Georgetown. The baseball team is relegated to a baseball field in suburban Maryland, and its field will become a parking lot. The chances that any student will see a Georgetown baseball game this year are small. Baseball is now undergoing what the under-appreciated track and field program goes through. The nationally- ranked team does not even have adequate on-campus practice facilities, let alone on-campus competition facilities. The football team has had problems getting people to make the trek up to Kehoe Field, and women’s sports at Georgetown get very poor attendance, win or lose.

Even the men’s basketball team has had its own troubles drawing to MCI Center. The big crowd at the Connecticut game and the floor-rushing by part of the student section at the Louisville game makes it clear that students care about a having a good program at Georgetown. But going to home games is at least a three-hour commitment, and for Saturday noon games, a person must wake up at 10:30 a.m. to get a good seat.

Perhaps the future has an answer to these problems. A new and improved Harbin Field is proposed for whenever all this building ends. The field would hold not only soccer and lacrosse but also football, which needs a larger facility for its membership in the Patriot League.

An on-campus arena is even a dream of the Georgetown men’s hoops program, and games at McDonough Gymnasium are tools for making a case to move Georgetown games back on campus after 18 years.

“It’s a chance for us to play on campus,” Men’s Basketball Head Coach Craig Esherick told the New Orleans Times-Picayune said of the Hoyas’ Feb. 10 contest against Southern of New Orleans, “and we’re trying to build a new facility there.”

But if there’s one thing to be learned about Georgetown and its politics, it’s that you don’t believe anything until you see it, and whether or not Georgetown has a brighter future in terms of sports facilities, the current problem is pressing. With the new construction already behind schedule, one has to wonder if and when a new Harbin Field will ever be built, let alone a new basketball arena.

Student interest in sports will continue to wane if student access to games is made more difficult, and the quality programs themselves will suffer if the facilities aren’t available.

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