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Athletic Director Paradzik says no other on-campus games are scheduled.

What took so long?

“Teams won’t agree to play us at Shalhevet,” explained Athletic Director David Paradzik.

Lost in the euphoria of Shalhevet’s first on-campus sports event against Summit View West Oct. 11 was the reality of the Firehawks’ continuing lack of a stable home court.

Shalhevet’s Sport Court, 8,400 square feet of black, red and gray plastic tile with basketball hoops and volleyball poles, was dedicated Oct. 27, 2009 – almost exactly a year ago. But designated home games have continued to take place at Fairfax High School and the Westside JCC.

At the time of this writing, no future games were set to be played on Shalhevet’s Sport Court, and Mr. Paradzik did not expect to add any.

“I’ve tried to convince every other school to play here,” he said, “but they don’t agree because you can’t slide on the surface.”

In fact, Mr. Paradzik shared that he “had to warn the referees” to sign off playing the one volleyball game on the Sport Court.  He told them they’d be playing on a non-wooden floor, that there was no scoreboard, and that the equipment would not be quite up to date.

Shalhevet’s own athletes are similarly dubious about playing on the plastic. “It’s difficult because of the surface, since it isn’t made to slide on,” said volleyball player Laura Melamed.  “It’s frightening to play there, and others definitely play differently on it.”

“I wouldn’t dive for the ball if we had a game on the sport court,” said junior Yossi Halpert, a player for the varsity basketball team.  “I wouldn’t run as fast because if I fell, it would hurt a lot more.”

Summit View West said yes. But for now, Firehawk teams will still head out to makeshift “home” courts for designated home games against everybody else.

Barely two weeks after the Summit View West game, the Firehawk volleyball team wore their bright red home-jerseys while hosting this year’s rival game against YULA – at the JCC.

Ideally, Mr. Paradzik would like to convert the Annex some day into an all-purpose gymnasium with an athletic field on the roof. But he does not dismiss more temporary, creative and affordable ideas for now.

One idea is rolling out a turf over the parking lot after school for the soccer team to practice on.  And if anyone else has a suggestion, he’d like to hear it.

“I’m open to anything,” Mr. Paradzik said. “We have to be creative here.”

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