This time of year is one of my favorites. I get to see our seniors eagerly anticipate graduation and learn about their pending college plans, I am able to get outside and enjoy the great springtime weather, and I always enjoy the NCAA basketball tournaments and the exciting play on the hardwood. Going into this year’s college basketball tournament, I have given thought to the hoped-for construction on the CA athletic facilities that are targeted as part of the “See it Through” campaign. Do you wonder how the new facilities will positively impact the CA community? I put that question to the heads of CA’s basketball program, Steve Hyatt and Cyndi Graziano. They say new spaces could provide the ability to enhance the already outstanding experience that our children and students receive.
Steve Hyatt, who has a highly decorated coaching resume, can be found working with the Varsity basketball team on a daily basis during the winter as well as the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth graders who will eventually move up to his Varsity team. Hyatt also coaches club basketball in the CA gyms with one of his assistants, Sean Nolan, during the off-season. Hyatt suggests that, “The whole regular season is geared towards the postseason,” and that “the practice facility should enable the team to prepare for the big games on the big court.” (CA’s gymnasium is actually ten feet shorter than a regulation-sized high school court.) Says Hyatt, “There has to be some progression of skills and talent throughout a season, and doing so on a similar court that you will be competing on during the postseason is critical. Practicing on a smaller court and then playing on a bigger court can hurt players physically. Your body isn’t used to that extra 10 feet, especially when you multiply that length by the 40-50 times on average a player can run up and down the court during a game.”
Being on a bigger space allows you to practice different styles of basketball. Coach Graziano says that “having the new gym space would allow for more room to incorporate specific drills for post/perimeter skill development as well as room to ensure the safety of players during such drills.” On a 94-ft. court, practicing on one half, which is sometimes necessary given the number of teams CA supports, would prove more beneficial because of the extra space that would be created on the practice courts that run perpendicular to the main competition court. Graziano, who also has an illustrious basketball-coaching career, has built the girls program to be a perennial league contender and legitimate postseason threat. New facilities would enable Coach G to provide opportunities for further growth and development in her players and in her program.
Enhancing and expanding the sports medicine facility and the strength and conditioning room are essential to the health and care of CA’s students and staff. It is well documented that preparing for a season through dynamic strength training will reduce the number of in-season injuries. An enlarged and modern weight room that would be positioned in the front of the new building would provide much more accessibility and oversight for students and staff. The new climbing facility, which will also be on the north side of the new building, will be an exciting upgrade from our current climbing room and would support a cross-section of the CA population, especially in the winter, that currently has to travel off-campus to practice.
As a whole, in today’s society, when prospective student athletes and their parents are shopping for schools, facilities matter. The school and the athletic programs of the school are partially represented by those facilities. Buildings and facilities are an expression of how important a program is to a school. Best-in-class facilities can be game-changers. It would also be fulfilling to see a larger percentage of the CA community positively impacted through physical activity in new and expanded athletic spaces. I hope you’ll consider supporting CA’s “See it Through” Capital Campaign! Go to www.caseeitthrough.org for more information.