Midwood Never Sleeps: Athletes Maximize Space After Hours

By Natalia Wiater ’16

Just because the school seems empty after 10th period, doesn’t mean it is. Teams practice, students go to night school, clubs meet, SING rehearses, and the custodians clean up.

During the cold winters, many teams use the school as a place to practice; Girls’ Track, Girls’ Lacrosse, Football, cheerleaders, the Step Team, and Wrestling. Girls’ track, the cheerleaders, the step team, and wrestling all have to share the cafeteria. It’s predominantly the track team on one side and wrestling on the other, practicing from 3:00 to 5:00. These aren’t the best conditions for the teams: the cafeteria floor is not made for running, neither short nor long distances, and the pillars and limited space hinder the wrestling team’s practices.

“The conditions are awful,” said Mr. Michael Dowd, the assistant coach of the wrestling team.

The boys have to be careful of the concrete pillars in the cafeteria, and whenever someone walks across the mats, the mop has to be taken out. Even taking the heavy mats out is tedious, since they are kept in a large container on the opposite side of the lunchroom, and it takes time to roll each mat over. Sometimes, when the step team or the cheerleaders have their practices, it gets so loud that the coaches have to make a tight circle with the wrestlers just to be heard.

There’s no space to run in the cafeteria either, though it does help that the wrestling team runs around the annex for their exercises, but that floor isn’t a track either. The cafeteria floor hurts the girls’ feet, causing knee pain or shin splints, which are caused by swollen shins or even small fractures in the bone. The turns aren’t easy to make either: the sharp turns force the girls to slow down in order to not hit a wall. The girls track team takes up the most space in the cafeteria, but even then they are forced to run up stairs just to get a good distance workout in.

The girls’ track coach, Mr. Bret Cohen, does try to make light of the situation: “Don’t tell anyone that we have an Olympic track here, it’s our secret,” he jokes around with them.

Sometimes, on days when the weather is particularly bad, the girls’ lacrosse team also practices inside the school, instead of at the field. From 2:30 to 5:30, they run, do abs workouts, or cardio in the annex, or go to the first floor weight room, which the football team usually occupies. Sometimes the sprinters on the boys’ track team also join the weight room, easily causing overcrowding. The boys’ lacrosse team also practices in the school from Mondays to Fridays in the G Gym.

In the middle of the winter, SING occupies many students’ afternoons and evenings. They use classrooms, hallways, and the auditorium to rehearse for the big show, and the closer SING came, the longer they stayed.

Some teachers and students stay behind and participate in night school, geared towards seniors who need credits to graduate. Night school runs from 3:30 to 5:30, and offers a variety of courses, from math to social studies and even physical education.

The security guards have to stay in school as well, and leave whenever the custodians lock up, which sometimes can be later than 11:00. Around five to six custodians clean up the school: sweeping the floors, taking out the trash, and cleaning the bathrooms among other things. Each person takes a floor in order to get the job done faster. However, it is still a long process, because each floor takes about eight hours, according to Mike, one of the custodians.

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