UI students take advantage of Field House

BY MATT COZZI | JANUARY 27, 2010 7:30 AM

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When the Field House opened in 1927, Iowa basketball was home.

Fans gathered in droves to see the Hawkeyes play. But when Carver-Hawkeye Arena opened in January 1983, they moved. Still, basketball remained.

The Field House has become one of the most popular student facilities on campus — a gold mine for pickup games among occasional players and avid gym rats.

Many UI students said they appreciate the setting the building provides and take advantage when they can.

“Whenever you have free time, it’s nice to get a game of basketball in there,” UI senior Matt Kemp said.

One thing that makes the Field House unique is the culture. Many people note the difference between the games on the West Campus and the ones played in their hometown gyms.

“It’s definitely different from anywhere else,” UI senior Kyle Swanson said. “It can be pretty competitive.”

The Field House is also arguably one of the most diverse places on campus. Not only are there different faces, there are a variety of résumés as well.

On any given day, a UI student may run into basketball players from other schools.

Former college athletes have stepped onto the Field House hardwood, adding to the great competition that can be found.

Travis Rhone, a Cedar Rapids native who played college football for Division-II Wayne State, ventures to campus once or twice a week to play.

After successful junior and senior campaigns for the Wildcats, Rhone was even invited to two smaller professional combines, scouted as a possible NFL prospect.

Rhone mainly plays at the Field House because, according to him, it is just good basketball.

“A lot of people usually go, most of those having played at least high-school ball,” he said.

However, on the South Gym courts, a different version of the game exists: intramural basketball, which allows anyone affiliated with the university to participate.

During intramural contests there are officials and game clocks, as opposed to the “honesty policy” on fouls used in pickup games.

The little things also count when playing pickup instead of intramural basketball. Sometimes, players have a hard time acclimating to competing against strangers.

“In intramurals, you’re playing with more people you know,” Kemp said. “In pickup, you have to find out quickly each other’s strengths.”

For the time being, the Field House will remain when the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center is finished during the next academic year.

“The Field House is just a different type of environment,” Rhone said. “It’s by far the best competition in the area.”

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