Thursday, June 23, 2005

Gugin' time | by Jay

Irish Eyes had an update on the Gug (no, not that one), with some good stuff from Heisler and Bernard Muir, the Associate AD who oversaw much of the construction, and who, incidentally, is taking over the athletic department at Georgetown. (Thanks to Angel at IE for the picture to the right, by the way.)

A couple of quotes:

Heisler: “Part of the motivation was not only to make sure that we could be competitive with what’s going on in the world relative to facilities, but also to try to centralize the football aspect of it...Look at our current setup. We have the football coaches’ office center here in the Joyce Center. We’ve got our locker room in the stadium. We have our weight facility in the Loftus Center. We had players viewing film in the stadium, and we had our training facility in the stadium."

Muir: “It will be state-of-the-art as far as interior design...Once [our athletes] walk into the strength and conditioning area, which just went from 7,000 to 25,000 square feet, they get the feeling that we’re turning the corner here and making a sincere effort to be the best across 26 varsity sports, and hopefully put us in a position to win a few championships.”

August 1 is the target opening date, but Heisler mentioned that they might even be able to move schedule up a bit.

Anyway, check out the whole update if you get a chance (it's a pay article, but you're a member of IE, right?). Neat to see the place coming together.

One other feature that Muir highlighted is a new Player's Lounge:

“We’re still working on some of the finishing touches on the player’s lounge,” Muir said, “but there will be a computer center that will have a little outlet for them where you can have several players check e-mails or do a little homework before or after practice. We’ll have a big screen TV, and they’ll have TVs in the locker room where they can tune into Sportscenter...or CNN, we like to hope. They’ll have a lounge-type area as well.”
Hmm. Shared computers...a place to do homework...CNN on the tube...sounds a little austere. Nothing like the luxurient "players lounges" of some other schools, huh? Doesn't Muir know there's an arms race going on in college football, and if you don't have a clubhouse full of the latest toys, you're not going to be able to recruit?

The two prime examples I'm thinking of are those of Texas and Oregon. Both were upgraded in 2003, and both are decked out like one of Saddam's palaces, featuring a vast array of Cubanesque frills. Here's Oregon's locker room:

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"We designed something that is very expensive," Tim Canfield, who has designed the last 10 Nike Towns, told the Eugene Register-Guard. The Ducks have three 60-inch plasma TVs, two of which are rigged for Xbox games, at a cost of $15,000 each. The Oregon locker room is two stories and has a door that will allow eight players to enter at once, a door that can open and shut at three feet per second. Each locker has its own ventilation system to personalize perspiration. Each also has outlets for video games and the Internet, as well as a security system that is activated by a code that includes a player's uniform number and a scan of his thumbprint.

Here's a couple shots of the locker room and player's lounge at Texas:

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Hey, neat! Pretty cool, right?

The truth is...these accoutrements are silly. Silly like Vince Neil's house is silly (as seen on MTV Cribs) -- all they're missing is a leopard skin pool table and a stripper pole. Or if you want to go literary, it's like something a hollow nouveau riche like Jay Gatsby would dream up, an expensive status symbol that he thinks makes him classy and important.

Do we need a Sony Playstation at EVERY locker? Absolutely not. Do we need a locker room that looks like the deck of the Starship Enterprise? No way. How about a door that will let EIGHT players walk through all at once? Correct me if I'm wrong Mr. Canfield, but I don't think we're losing any recruits over how many guys can walk through a freakin' door at the same time. Do we need fake horseys you can sit on that overlook the field? Actually, those would be kinda cool...

Wait, what am I thinking? Of course not. We don't need fake horseys, with or without blue and gold saddles. (A mechanical bull at Legends might spice things up, though.)

This is all over-the-top, tawdry, cheap ornamentation foisted on the universities by overzealous shoe companies and high-falutin' boosters, then sold to high school recruits as something "important to consider" when looking at football programs. It's tacky and, ironically -- considering how truly expensive it is -- it's cheap, in the Donald Trump sense of the word.

What we needed was a very nice place that was an improvement on what we had, a centralized location for the football program (instead of being spread out all over creation), an improved weight and training facility (THE most important aspect of the building), and oh yeah, a nice place for athletes to hang out and congregate between practices and classes. We got it. And it's going to be very impressive, and truly classy -- and without the silly, overblown frills.