By Dana Mate
Collegiate Staff Writer
Tony Annese doesn’t let little problems like lack of a practice field distract him from organizing a football program. Annese, head coach of the Raider football team, takes it all in stride as he informs player after player that they will be able to return to Housman field just one hour before the set start time for Tuesday’s practice.
Practices that are usually held at Houseman field on Lyon and Diamond, were moved to MVP Fitness for the first seven days of spring ball.
“We exchange facilities with GRPS (Grand Rapids Public Schools) we use Houseman field and they use our facilities,” Annese Said. “It’s worked out mostly in the past.”
This verbal agreement of sorts has proven to be a source of stress for the football program as of late, considering many of the players are without vehicles, arranging the transportation of approximately 80 football players and their equipment has the department in upheaval.
With no contractual agreement the football team received no warning that the field would be out of commission for de-winterizing and any other agenda the GRPS had.
They had to use community connections at MVP for seven practices before returning to the field.
Hosueman Field is conveniently located within walking distance to campus, while MVP Fitness is located near Burton Street and East Paris Ave on the opposite side of the city. “Personally I didn’t think it was that bad,” GRCC sophomore Antonio Etter said. “If you’re dedicated you can be there.”
Etter, a defensive back in his second year at GRCC, has no problems making it to practice even with the location change. “After the weekend, over half the team neglected to show up to practice,” Etter said. “I think maybe being at a junior college they don’t take it as serious as they would a DI college, but it all goes back to dedication.”
This dedication is a common trait in the football program as evident by Annese’s blackberry attached to his hand.
Over 90 text, email, and phone calls that started at 2:56 am Tuesday morning, he has been laboring all day to make the proper arrangements for his team and keep calm in the process.
“It’s their field, we just have to cope,” Annese said. “For now, I have to make sure my players know where were going.”
Update: Houseman Field is now open and the football team has been regularly practicing there. The GRCC Spring Game will be held at Houseman Field on April 8, 2011.