The Compost – Outdoor track afraid of outdoors


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With multiple All–Americans in residence and the potential for a conference championship, Allegheny Track & Field is likely to be a formidable opponent on the conference stage… but only if they can run inside.

As the weather continues to warm, the outdoor track team has begun to move their practices up to the outdoor track surrounding Frank B. Fuhrer field.  However, the track and field team has shown resistance to the new practice space due to an often underestimated threat: the weather.

With the weather changing rapidly from the brittle winter to the turbulent spring, track and field teams throughout the northeast are beginning to develop feelings of caution towards practicing and competing in the inclement weather.

This fear has only been enhanced by the recent formation of the Association for Ridiculous and Irrational Aversion to Climate (AFRAIATC), a group which prides itself on serving the interests of those affected emotionally and spiritually by climate change.  However, the message has only seemed to affect one fraction of the athletic department.  For the AFRAIATC’s Allegheny branch, membership currently stands at 53 members, which, incidentally, has the same head count as the track and field roster.  Requests to be a fully recognized student club by ASG for the 2010–2011 school year will be determined after the budget hearings conclude in mid–April.

“This is a serious issue,” said Chip Flarker, ‘11, two–time All-American in the 1800 meter run. “I mean, do you know where we live?  Have you seen the Meadville weather?  It’s like one minute there’s crazy amounts of snow falling all over and then all of a sudden it’s sunny. That s–t is mad creepy.”

“Mother Nature is a crazy lady,” added Laramie Barker, ‘11, track team member and anticipated president–elect of Allegheny’s AFRAIATC branch. “Sunburn, wind chill, hailstorms, tornadoes…  We don’t want to risk the success of our team on her womanly whims.”

Since the appearance of AFRAIATC on campus, athletes have begun to realize that the danger may not be limited to weather.

“With the changing seasons, there has been a bit of apprehension,” said Associate Director of Athletics Tony Cipollone.  “After spending the entire winter indoors, the athletes are getting a little nervous about the threats of flash photography and the occasional carefully aimed bird turd.”

Although the athletic department is doing their best to accommodate the desires of the track and field team, the other spring sports are miffed by the idea of track receiving preferential treatment.

“In lacrosse, we have to deal with risks like getting smacked in the eye with a 95-mph ball,” said Jillian Red, ‘13.  “I feel like if the track team is worrying about a little goose poop gone awry, they should step into our shoes for a day.”

Regardless, AFRAIATC and its sudden popularity have caused the Athletic Department to examine the logistical possibilities of finishing up the track season indoors.  Although there has been some concern expressed about what will happen when the National competition is imminent.

“We feel that our message is so important that the national track and field community will adjust all of their plans to suit our needs,” Barker said. “If worse comes to worse, we’ll host our own NCAA meet.  Here.  By ourselves.”

The first official AFRAIATC meeting will be held this Monday in the basement of Alden Hall at noon.  Activities will include staring into the sun (welder’s goggles will be provided) and watching the seismograph for potential earthquakes.  Please contact Laramie Barker for more information.