As a freshman who doesn't go to the gym, I’d be lying if I said I knew how the Plex ran on a day-to-day basis. I had no idea it was closed on game days, and only found out about this monstrosity of a practice when Serena Williams lost the U.S. Open and a friend of mine, who loves tennis and all things Serena, was devastated. He decided he needed to take out his feelings by rage-hitting a tennis ball. He, along with my roommate, trekked all the way from Upper to the Plex—only to discover that it was closed for game day. I had to listen to them complain for 15 minutes about this injustice.
I did not, and still do not, understand the point of closing down the Plex on game day. Keeping it open on those days might seem trivial, but if BC did it I think it would make a huge impact.
One of the first responses I hear when questioning why this happens is to “improve school spirit.” This makes no sense! If someone didn't want to go to the game, the fact that the Plex was closed wouldn't change their minds. And if someone did want to go to the game, the knowledge that they could go to the gym would also have no impact.
Sure, this policy allows the employees at the Plex to watch the games, but it also significantly cuts down on the hours that they work. Weekends, especially Saturdays, are perfect days to get longer hours and some more income coming in. By shutting down at least seven Saturdays in the fall semester, the Plex is depriving their employees of a lot of money. If this was actually about allowing more people to be able to attend the game, they could simply shut down during game hours, not the entire day! This seems like just another way to cut corners and try to save some money.
This is also incredibly unfair to students. We are paying over $70,000 a year not just for our education, but also for access to the various resources on campus. It's completely unreasonable to shut down one of the most basic and most used facilities for an event that one has to pay to even be able to go to. It is depriving students of a resource that they pay to have the option to use, to try and force them to pay to go do something else.
If anything, the Plex is missing out on a day where even more people would be able to or would want to go work out. What could be a better motivator than watching a bunch of athletic gods dominating on the football field? I know that any time I watch a sports game, I'm in awe of their abilities and inspired, albeit for five minutes, to get myself together and go to the gym. And on the flip side, what better way to deal with a loss than by running on a treadmill, or as my friend tried to do, aggressively playing tennis? And Saturdays are peak gym days, whether it's to work off the calories you drank the night before or to prepare yourself for the calories you’ll inevitably consume later in the day.
This also brings up the question: why football? I understand that it's the biggest sport on campus and its game days are part of the culture but if the point is to try to raise school spirit, wouldn’t it make more sense to close for sports games with lower attendances? It still would be a misguided policy, but at least the concept would be more understandable. Instead, it just feeds into the idea that football is more important than any other sport and does not actually accomplish the goal it sets out to fulfill.