For User-Friendly Tennis Court Access
Prior to January 11, the Caltech tennis courts were accessible by entering a code in the tennis court gates. This code was changed periodically and could be obtained by presenting a Caltech ID at the Brown front desk. Reservations could be made by calling the Brown front desk. To play tennis, one simply called ahead and then showed up at the courts. As of January 11, the gate codes have been inactivated, and access to the courts is available only during Braun Athletic Center hours by picking up a key at the front desk. In our view, these changes (as we understand them) present substantial disadvantages:
1. Courts are only available during Braun hours of operation. On weekends, this means no tennis after 6pm, whereas previously courts were available until the lights turn off at 10. Finding time for physical recreation is always a challenge, and removing that possibility during weekend hours (when hardworking Techers are more likely to actually have free time) only makes matters worse. Furthermore, tennis courts would not be available at all during Institute holidays when the athletic center is closed. Unlike swimming pools, for instance, where risk to participants necessitates some level of supervision, tennis courts do not require direct supervision. Thus, this policy seems difficult to justify.
2. Walking back and forth from the courts to Braun to get a key is a substantial inconvenience. Courts 1 and 2, for instance, are about a 5 minute walk from Braun. If someone has an hour to play tennis, then 10 minutes at the beginning and end of that hour spent walking to and from Braun consumes fully a third of ones playing time. This is inefficient and not a good use of anyone's time. Imagine if checking a book out from Millikan 9th floor required walking to the SFL front desk. Such a situation would not be acceptable to library patrons.
3. It is no longer possible to reserve a specific court. Admittedly, this is a lesser concern, but it was useful to be able to specify a court, as some have better lighting than others.
These changes make it more difficult and inconvenient for Techers to get much-needed physical activity. Moreover, we are unable to discern any advantages to the new rules. Thus, we advocate a return to the old reservation system which, while containing some room for improvement, was considerably more user-friendly than the present system.