Non-traditional sports at campus rec left idle

    Registered nurse at the Health Center Cheryl Strange prepares a pre-filled seasonal flu vaccine shot Thursday night. This week the univesity received 28 percent of the 10,300 doses of H1N1 vaccine it had ordered and will administer them to certain students starting Monday.

    Squash. No, not the gourd. The sport akin to racquetball. Great, now we’re on the same page.

    There are several sports under-utilized at the University Recreation Center on campus. Among them, we have rock climbing, billiards and the fun-loving, but tacitly skill-involved table tennis.

    Now why have these particular activities been so long neglected in the short five-year history of this building? Mainly, it’s due to their locations.

    They are located in the nether regions and underbelly of what some may not realize is actually a three-story building. Hidden in this basement is a trove of labyrinthine hallways, rooms for spin class and namely, the specific recreation tables for these sports. There’s even a big screen television! Thus, while honing one’s adaptability to spin and speed with a ping pong paddle, the Cowboys game can be stealthily observed with peripheral vision.

    This leaves us with the climbing wall. Unbeknownst to many is the fact that this wall is one of the largest at a university in Texas. A former deterrent was the cost of scaling this monster crag – yes, $10 for an entire semester. A shame. An utter shame. However, this cost has been deferred elsewhere (probably due to lack of revenue) and we may now all climb for free! So why was there no Spartan rush for the wall on the day this sign was posted?

    Alas, poor positioning once again. This ‘outdoorsy’ portion of the Rec is tucked away in the farthest annals of the first floor, and though in plain sight, is quite easy to miss. The wall itself, extending easily to the ceiling, is turned so that it is hidden from view. Unless one has positioned him or herself directly in front of the scaling footholds and belay lines by wedging between the shoe rental counter and the windows for the outdoor pool, there is no way to see it except by accidental glance.

    Now you may ask why these things are so important. Well, for the same reasons that golf is such a long-standing tradition amongst the generations. Yes, these aforementioned activities are in fact part of the beloved category of “lifetime sports.”

    Tennis, golf, table tennis, rock climbing, billiards, squash, racquetball and the Wii. These are all legitimate opportunities to maintain health and wellness long after our sprite, lithe, athletic bodies have bade us farewell. The racquetball intramural champion two years ago was the chair of the English department.

    But why not extend these competitions to speed climbs using only the red holds on the climbing wall? There is, after all, a harness.

    Ping pong, preferred by its official name, table tennis, holds high esteem in a variety of international cultures, so much that it has been included in the Olympics for the past several Olympiads.

    By embracing such non-traditional sports and perhaps a little less time in front of the mirrors by the free weights, we are investing in our futures: a time when we can impress our children and grandchildren with our stunning athletic prowess and sports knowledge acumen. Now, isn’t that something worth considering?

    Matt Boaz is a senior political science major from Edmond, Okla.