This semester, Hillsdale College students and faculty have been adapting to the temporary closing of the George C. Roche Sports Complex.
In previous years, the Sports Complex, or “Splex,” as it’s often called, has been a staple in the lives of physically active students. Although it re-opened on Wednesday, some students have found a new routine in Hayden Park.
“I did go a good amount of times last year,” sophomore Jason Cimponer said. “I usually used it to work out either in the main workout room or downstairs. I also used the pool a few times, and the rock climbing wall, as well as the basketball courts.”
Other than classes and sports teams that require its use, the Sports Complex has been closed to students and the public, affecting many students’ typical workout routines.
“It’s ruined it,” sophomore Ben Hanson said. “I lift weights on a daily basis, or when I can at least, so when you lose something that you do for an hour and a half every single day, it definitely feels weird.”
Far from an ideal situation for students like Hanson and Cimponer, many students have looked for creative alternatives to stay fit.
“For me, it has just been doing calisthenics — pushups and pullups — every day,” Cimponer said. “I try going for runs around Hillsdale as much as I can.There’s also an off-campus house that I go to where they have a kind of makeshift gym with a bench press and a few free weights to use.”
For many of those without access to free weights, running has been a go-to workout. Many students run on the many trails at Hayden Park.
“I’ve begun running on trails and doing calisthenics through Hayden Park,” Hanson said. “It has big, open trails, there’s plenty of different paths, and it’s a pretty good distance.”
Hayden Park has been a common solution for a lot of students to stay physically active.
“It can be a bit frustrating when you don’t have the things we’re so used to, or these common spaces or places that we use,” Bill Lundberg, director of Hayden Park, said.
The 190-acre park just a half mile east of campus consists of wooded trails, a driving range, soccer fields, and sand volleyball courts. Students can borrow the equipment as needed to enjoy all of the park’s activities.
“It’s totally available,” Lundberg said. “If students need something, we can provide it. We have yard games and standard stuff, like a sand court for volleyball, or the driving range, or the mountain bike trails. We have 15 Trek mountain bikes that we can issue to students.”
Hayden Park has long been a hotspot for students to play intramural sports, but the park has received a new level of activity due to the Sports Complex closure.
“We utilize it not only with coaches training their team members, but also for classes like the Physical Wellness Dynamics course,” Lundberg said.
Lundberg recognized quickly that Hayden would be the perfect escape for students looking to safely exercise.
“I saw early on that Hayden was a place that was going to be thriving,” Lundberg said. “We had families coming here back as early as March or April when we were finishing up last year. They’re coming out and they’re enjoying the park, and there’s a respect of social distancing.”
Lundberg is ready and willing to help make the park as accommodating as possible for both faculty, new and returning students, and outside visitors.
“I’m available for whatever the needs might be,” Lundberg said.
Lundberg said he is more than excited for the new school year and expects students to get a lot of use out of Hayden.
“The park is busy, and we want to just promote the fact that we want more and more people and as many people as we can,” Lundberg said.