No place to play for ballers or shot callers

State Gym is a landmark. The red bricks cause it to stand out next to the newer buildings on campus. Pictures of athletes on the north side of the building were sculpted by Iowa’s most famous artist, Grant Wood. Walk up the marble staircase to the third floor and there is a court resting there beneath the rafters. Years ago, the building was home to the Iowa State basketball team. But those days are no longer. Today, State Gym is a hot spot for weekend warriors, I-ball champs, and competitive basketball players alike. Court space is generally abundant, and most days there are pick-up games to join. This environment is ideal for a wide range of players, including high school athletes. However, State Gym has been enforcing an 18-and-over policy the past few years, much to the dismay of AHS students. “It’s ridiculous,” junior Ryan Kenyon said. “Most of the things I have to say about State would have to be edited from the paper. They can kick me out every day, and I will come back the next day every time. There just isn’t anywhere else to go.” Kenyon’s complaint is very valid. In the Ames area, there are no gyms open to the public for free. Across the street from State Gym is Beyer Hall, which also enforces the 18-and-over policy. Other gyms on campus are closed to the public, as are gyms in the Ames school district. The city hall gym has limited open gym hours available, though it comes at a cost of one dollar. Currently, there is no good location for basketball players to play. This month, some hope was given to this situation. Officials from the city of Ames, Iowa State University, and the Ames School District met to discuss the possibility of building a joint recreation center. “I think it would be very well used,” senior Jayne Strand said. While the idea seems to be very attractive to Ames area athletes, it is unclear at this point whether the proposal will be accepted by the public. As it is now, the best option for basketball players is the tandem of State Gym and Beyer Hall. Both have a good deal of court space, enough for high school players and college students to share without battling for floor time. “I get in on the pick up games when I go to State,” junior David “The Legend” Tim said. “I never have any problem with the other people at the gym. I’m just one of the guys.” Unfortunately, the policy-makers at ISU don’t see eye-to-eye with Tim on this issue. Although only 18-and-overs can use the gym on their own, minors are technically allowed to use the gyms when accompanied by an adult. This loophole is been taken advantage of by some to avoid being kicked out. “One time they were going to kick me out, but I pointed to some random guy and told them he was my dad,” Strand said. Until State Gym changes its policy toward high school athletes, players will have to continue being creative to hold their court space. Tim admits that being kicked out is becoming old. “I know some other places that I could play, but I still go to State,” he said. State Gym remains the first choice for basketball players, but if they continue enforcing the 18-and-over policy many high school players will be left with no place to play.