Shalhevet’s first court is a slippery one, players say

Colleen Bazak, Staff Writer

In its first months of use, Shalhevet’s Sport Court has provided students with day-to-day enjoyment and a nicer place for P.E. However, some sports teams are finding it too slippery to use after school because of dew.

After sundown, moisture builds up on the polyurethane tiles, causing players to fall, they say.

Shalhevet’s Athletic Director, Mr. Joel Fisher, admitted this was a problem, but defended the new black-and-red tiled sports field, which opened at the north end of the faculty parking lot on Oct. 27. 

“I don’t know if there’s anything to do to fix the problems of the court being wet and slippery, but for fall, spring, and summer those problems won’t emerge, and the court will be valuable,” Mr. Fisher said. 

Some students have discovered the more slippery characteristics of the arena the hard way. 

“I was playing football on the court, and it was slippery,” freshman Rony Shemtov said—referring to an incident that happened during his P.E. one day. “I ended up falling backwards and injuring my wrist.”

Sophomore Shir Alkoby has also been a victim of the slippery court.  

“I was playing on the sports court, and I flipped backwards and hurt myself because it was so slippery,” said Shir.

Junior Sammy Badreau, a member of the soccer team, described an incident where he fell on the sports court and severely bruised and scraped himself in just two words: “I died.”

Although junior Toby Bern, also a soccer team member, does not like the fact that the court is so slippery, he says the falls are not always so bad. 

“There was one soccer practice in which I fell several times,” said Toby. “Falling on the sports court doesn’t hurt that much worse than falling on blacktop unless you fall on your hands. Since it’s made out of waffle shaped plastic you end up with waffle shaped welts on your hands.”

Steve Marsh, the account manager of Sport Court, the company who built the court, says that in terms of the slipperiness of the court, the only problem is dew. 

“If water gets on the court, it goes away if you just wipe it off,” said Mr. Marsh. “Dew you can’t wipe off, so it’s a challenge.”

Steve Marsh also pointed out that the court is much safer than regular concrete, or the asphalt that paved the area before. 

“It has a little bit of cushion so it is easier and safer on knees and ankles,” Mr. Marsh said. “When you fall, it is less abrasive, so it hurts less.”

The slipperiness has reportedly caused teams to compete with each other so that they don’t have to use it. Lowest on the totem poll, the boys’ junior varsity basketball team holds regular practices there.

“Varsity gets first pick and priority,” said freshman Jordan Banafsheha, who played on both the junior varsity and varsity basketball teams this year (because of an injury on the varsity team, he was temporarily promoted). The varsity team played mostly at the Westside JCC, Shalhevet’s official new home court on Olympic Blvd.

“They always pick the JCC because it’s an actual gym, and also the sports court starts to get dark and cold,” Jordan said. “Then, the girls’ varsity gets the gym because they’re priority number two, leaving us outside in the sports court. We have a shorter practice because it starts to get too dark, cold, and wet.”

Regardless of the complaints people have, there are many students who are pleased with the court.

The new court has mainly been used for P.E. classes, but students also come and play during free periods and lunch. During a regular lunch break, students can be found playing basketball, relaxing, and even doing homework on the court. 

“I really like it,” said junior Meshi Amazalag, who spends time on the Sports Court during breakfast and lunch breaks. “I think it looks nice and I go there to hang out with my friends.” 

P.E. teacher Coach Ray Bieda likes it as well.

“I think the court beautified the school, and it is definitely better on everyone’s limbs when they run,” she said. 

Despite the sometimes-slippery surface, Mr. Fisher sees the court as key to achieving some of the school’s long-term goals. 

“I also think it will enable us to run summer sports camps, and in the long run, it will potentially improve our sports program,” Mr. Fisher said.