Home sweet home: Eagles return to brand new Nest
ARLINGTON — After the Arlington gym was rendered unusable after a water-main break last winter, the boys and girls basketball teams spent a lot of time on school buses, forced to practice at other local schools and traveling to games all moved to opposing gyms.
Fast forward nearly a year, and the Eagle basketball teams have a brand new Nest.
"We're back at home," said Arlington girls coach Larry Andrews during the opening day of practice on Monday. "It's beautiful. There's new lights and a new floor and the dead spots are gone. The kids love it and they're glad to be home."
Monday wasn't the first day that the players were in the gym, they'd participated in open gyms over the last few weeks, but it was the first official day of practice for basketball teams in Vermont.
Andrews said the best part of the new facility is not having any question marks on where his team would be on a given day.
"We know exactly where we are, what time and where," Andrews said. "We never knew last year and if there were cancellations at BBA or MAU, that affected us. Ashley [Hoyt, the former athletic director] did a fantastic job with the scheduling."
"It's honestly amazing," said senior Gillian Calkins. "I saw video of the old gym a couple days ago, and we thought that was a nice gym, but this is so incredible. I'm glad we don't have to travel so much, it was a pain in the butt last year."
Andrews said he thought the players handled the adversity of a year ago very well and he was complimentary on the help from the other local schools.
"Whether it was BBA or MAU or Southern Vermont College, they couldn't have been better to us," Andrews said. "They opened it up for all of us, the whole program. But we're happy to be back playing basketball."
Calkins said with practice in its normal place on Monday, she was late on Day 1.
"It's just here [in Arlington]," Calkins said jokingly. "I don't have to hop on a bus to go to practice. It always felt like going to a game. We did a lot of team bonding, which I think benefited us last year, but the new gym will bring the community back together. The Nest is back."
The Eagles will compete in a Jamboree on Saturday before opening their home schedule on Dec. 19 against Woodstock. The Arlington boys home opener is Dec. 17 against Proctor.
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