My attitude towards sports and their organization can be easily summarized in one scene from the movie Hoosiers. After arriving at Hinkle Fieldhouse (the still-home of the Butler Bulldogs), the Hickory team looks around the gym in awe of its sheer size. Noticing his team is overwhelmed, Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) takes out a measuring tape and has his players measure the length of the foul line and the basket.
Later, in the locker room, he tells his team to ignore the crowd, who their opponent is, what they wear, etc. He does so under the premise that at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is putting the ball in the bucket. It's something I try to carry with me: it doesn't matter who has what by way of facilities. It doesn't matter what is on the uniform or what the team on the other sideline says or does; all that matters is the way you play the game.
All of that said, Boston College has an immediate need to address by way of facilities. After watching the issues surrounding the Alumni Stadium Bubble this year—its deflation, reinflation, and impact on practice schedule—there's a part of me that has come around to one single, incontrovertible fact. Boston College needs to build an indoor practice/multi-purpose facility for its athletics, and it needs to do it yesterday.
The need for the practice facility is obvious, especially to a team situated in New England's volatile climate. It provides them a place during the winter, during the spring, during the storms, during the bitter cold. From a pure football standpoint, the ability to run different schemes and practice areas for different unit drills is severely limited when there's only one 100-yard field to play on.
Steve Addazio alluded to this need in his post-Spring Practice remarks when he said the following:
We need a permanent indoor facility. That's a priority for us right now.
Perhaps more than anyone, I understand the restrictions and limitations to building one of these edifices. I've witnessed hurdles for necessary buildings at multiple schools in multiple sports. I've witnessed years-long processes where schools seemingly dragged their feet while wading through political processes. I know all about the background struggles and how it's a very real give-and-take. There is almost always a hesitation to spend money when it is obviously going to be a major cash investment.
Along with that thought, Boston College built the Yawkey Center to address the majority of their needs. It houses the football offices, the weight room, sports medicine, and locker room. It has "Learning Resources" for its student-athletes, and it's 72,000 square feet of absolute beauty. It fits seamlessly into Alumni Stadium.
But it's not helping practice and development.
Since Steve Addazio made these comments publicly, I believe there are very real conversations taking place on the back end. I believe the athletic department is actively addressing this and trying to find the right way to fund, the right location, the right method to operationalize the project. Talking about it publicly puts it on the forefront of our minds; the head football coach wouldn't do that if the athletic department hadn't already had those discussions for a long time, at least not in my opinion. As a result, I think this is further along than we sometimes think it is. That's just one man's opinion, though, and I could be entirely wrong.
I also don't think this has anything to do with the way the team plays on Saturday. I think the team is performing to the best of its ability, and there's no doubt that Coach Addazio has his team ready to play each and every week. I believe the team is putting its best foot forward, but as the program grows, it eventually will outgrow its current situation. It maybe already has. Boston College has to be able to recognize that and be able to adjust to the next step. During the season, it's not an excuse why they lose to Florida State or beat Virginia Tech. In the offseason, in the quest to get better, it becomes a larger factor.
It's confusing, but I believe Boston College can go out and beat anybody in a football game; why wouldn't you then give the team something it might need to put it in a better position to go out and achieve that goal?
This isn't the last we will talk about this, and this isn't the last time it'll come out in the press. What are your thoughts? Weigh in and let us know what you think the next step is for Brad Bates and his team.