Athletic Director Bob Howe provides insights and updates about Deerfield Athletics here on Bob’s Blog!
Happy New Year! I am excited to see what is in store for Deerfield in 2018. So far, this year has brought us brutal temperatures, snow and ice, and a forecast that says we will be seeing more of the same kind of weather. I am happy to report that work on the athletic complex hasn’t slowed down and things continue to progress as planned in spite of Mother Nature’s influence. In fact, a few weeks ago the steel for the tennis court structure was delivered and we will start to see that project begin in earnest very soon. This “tennis pavilion” will be another exciting addition to our athletic program at Deerfield!
Our teams have resumed their seasons, which began back in November before the winter break. In many ways it’s like starting the season all over again with the advantage of already knowing where our strengths and weaknesses lie. Our coaches have jumped back into the rigorous practice schedule of the winter term, and regained the momentum they saw with their teams a few weeks ago.
This winter we find ourselves without a hockey rink on campus, but I am happy to report that our four hockey teams are meeting the challenges of an intricate (and often inconvenient!) practice and games schedule with good energy and poise. In the off-season I was able to secure ice times at three different area rinks to meet our hockey program needs; just “up the hill” at Eaglebrook’s rink is where we have the majority of our ice time reserved. Eaglebrook’s Athletic Director Luke Williams, and everyone associated with the decision to allow us to use this rink, has been incredibly helpful in helping to meet our daily ice time needs in order to keep our programs competitive. We’ve also been using the Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield and the UMass rink in Amherst.
There are some key players right here on campus involved with our rink-scheduling matrix, and these would be our Physical Plant and Dining Hall staff. They provide me with transportation for all practices, meal times that are outside normal “business hours,” and additional staff who help maintain ice conditions at Eaglebrook. Despite the challenges of this rink-less year, Deerfield employees have shown tremendous community spirit in helping to make this season run smoothly.
So what can we look forward to in 2018? High on my list: moving into the new Athletics Complex this fall. One of the things I’m most excited about is all of the new space for existing programs. While the rink, field house, and rowing facilities are obvious highlights, the addition of exercise space, team meeting areas, and larger open spaces will do much to enhance our programs. This extraordinarily cold winter has emphasized a real need for devoted areas for teams to meet and exercise, as the temperatures keep more activities indoors and create space and scheduling difficulties. Within the year, we will have space available for every program and this will solve many of our current challenges.
Even sooner (this spring) we will have a covered and heated tennis facility that will house six of our existing courts. Having the ability to play tennis in any weather and at any time of the year is sure to attract elite student athletes while also giving us a more predictable spring tennis schedule. I’m looking forward to hosting tennis matches on those first weeks back from spring vacation!
Remember to visit our sports information page for schedules and scores. We will continue to livestream a good percentage of our home games, and we hope that this initiative is providing another way to help keep you connected to our school.
Until we open the doors of the Athletics Complex next fall, much time will be spent planning how we merge existing programs into our new facilities; these are exciting times indeed, and I’m feeling very lucky to be a part of it all! I urge you all to come back to campus for a visit at some point next year to see this facility and catch a game. I hope you’ve had a great start to 2018, and I look forward to seeing you on campus soon.
Go Big Green!
Bob Howe, DA AD