It's a field house of horrors at OPRF

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By Brad Spencer

Sports Editor

It's ominous, oversized and drafty. It would be more suitable to house the overspill from Waste Management. It's so ridiculously big that Arena football would fit right in.

It's time to address the monstrosity that is the field house at OPRF High School.

Dim lighting, constant echoes, and somewhere there's a faucet running, or maybe it's a drain pipe — who knows for sure.

It's not big; it's large. Too large. Too gargantuan for a basketball game. It's so lengthy that if the ball goes out of bounds on the south end of the court, it has the potential to roll 50 yards or more. Someone has to jump in a golf cart to go fetch it.

Forget about cheering for the Huskies from atop the east side bleachers. The folks four rows down hear you, but your boisterous holler has petered out way before reaching the floor. Bad call by a blind official? Better invest in a megaphone.

An upgrade is due for this forlorn outdated airplane hangar. A paint job at the very least. You literally feel like you're walking into a dilapidated warehouse.

It's so dog-gone enormous, it never feels like there's a large crowd at a game. "The Huskies played to a huge, yet sparse crowd ..."

I realize it's a big school and the facility is used for much more than basketball games — pole vaulting is certainly not out of the question — but couldn't the school use some of the millions it has socked away for an overhaul of this building? State-of-the-art is a phrase I'd like to hear someone use to describe the field house at OPRF. A renovation could even revitalize school spirit.

Imagine, a well-lit, more compact — state-of-the-art — facility for basketball games. Concession stands, apparel kiosks, maybe even a jumbotron above center court.

Right now it's a gloomy place where you walk from shadow to yellowish hue back to shadow and then slip into a cavern of darkness before finding yourself back yet again in that yellow glare.

I don't know much about interior illumination, but an upgrade might lead to better shooting by the basketball teams and folks might recognize their neighbors in the stands. A renovation could include new locker room facilities so the players don't have to go to Wisconsin for the halftime pep talk.

Hey, it's not like I'm demanding there be a massage parlor or a temperature-controlled lounge reserved solely for the local press, fully catered by Chicago Cut Steakhouse before the games. And it's not as if I'm suggesting that this spacious room — you know what, let's go ahead and refer to it as the VIP suite — be equipped with large flat-screen televisions, a three-tier chocolate fountain and leather barcaloungers.

But it shouldn't be out of the question either.

Email: Twitter: OakParkSports

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