This letter is in response to Aston Lim’s opinion column, (“Why Must Rec Sports Punk a Truly ‘Model’ Club Program?” Daily Nexus, May 13). I want to start by thanking Lim for his enthusiasm for rowing and for the sport clubs. The sport clubs need more dedicated and politically active participants to voice their concerns to the wider student population and the school administration. However, Lim needs to focus his energy on positive action, rather than casting blame where it is not deserved.
There are a few points that need to be corrected about Lim’s column. First, all of the student fee initiatives to improve this campus’ fields have failed. The new turf on Rob Field was implemented after the school administration deemed natural grass on a field as overused as Rob too great a liability. The Rob Field improvements were funded by UCSB, not the student body.
Second, Rob Field is highly impacted by intramurals, sports club practices and outside programs that pay for the privilege of using the fields. Field space is allotted in as fair a manner as possible, and the men’s lacrosse team does receive its fair share of that time. I have personally witnessed the players practicing out on Rob on a weekly basis. It is ludicrous to say that they “cannot use it.” I concede that the men’s lacrosse team may not get to use the turf as much as they would like to, but with such limited space all groups must make do with what they get. The men’s rugby team – of which I am a member – as well as the women’s ultimate frisbee team are only allotted the small strip of extra turf beside the two large soccer fields for a number of their practices. If anything, the lack of space on Rob Field highlights the need for more turf which can be used in any weather at any time of day, and the folly of the student body for defeating fee initiatives which would have provided that space.
Thirdly, and most importantly, Rec Sports is not the evil space-hoarding demon that Lim makes it out to be. The loss of space for the rowing team’s practice machines is part of a larger problem that has been going on for several years.
I am unsure as to the level of involvement Lim has had with this issue, but his comments suggest that it has not been much. Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) and the recreation department worked together to pass student fee initiatives to build a new complex for the IC athletes and Rec Cen II. In exchange for support from Rec Sports on this issue, ICA agreed to give up their current weight room and training room. Of these two, the sport clubs were allotted the training room, but the weight room was reallotted to ICA. This was a decision that surprised and dismayed many of the people involved with Rec Sports. It also took away the space Rec Sports had designated for the rowing machines. I do not wish to question the decision to give the weight room to ICA in this column; that is a separate issue, but one that is being addressed. The sport clubs are working with ICA and the UCSB administration to find space for a club sports weight room, and the need to find a place for the rowing machines is a top priority for the sport club leaders.
I understand the frustration that Lim and the rowing team must feel on this issue. I am a sport club athlete as well, and every sport club has had to tighten their belts because of the limited resources Rec Sports has to work with. But it does no good to bite the hand that feeds you. Rec Sports is not trying to “punk” you; it does the best it can with the resources available. Just look at the article by Michael Long (“Club Sports Thrive Despite Small Budget,” Daily Nexus, May 5). Please, in the future, use your energy to build on what you have instead of breaking it down.
Kyle McBride is a junior film studies major and the vice president of the UCSB rugby team.