The best spots for sports: Our favorite places in the Athletic Complex

Sports Staff

With the opening of the Sumers Recreation Center last year, a whole new athletic world opened to students at Washington University. To put it quite simply, there are a lot of different places you can get a workout or play a sport or two. There’s the basketball courts, the tracks (both indoor and outdoor), the pool and the racquetball courts (or maybe they’re for squash? Who knows? Not me!). With all the choices available, it can feel a little overwhelming. To help out, here’s a brief list of our favorite spots in the Athletic Complex.

Francis Field

To be more specific, this entry refers to Francis Field on a day when no sports team has a practice, something that will unfortunately be pretty rare for the next few weeks. But when the field does open up, there is no better place on or around campus for what I consider to be the most fun pickup sport—soccer. If the weather is nice and the Wash. U. Bears have vacated the area, I can almost guarantee there will be a group of people kicking around a ball on Francis. Whether you were the star of your high school’s varsity team, have never touched a soccer ball in your life, or peaked as a junior varsity left back (hello), you will be welcome onto the pitch. The games may get fairly competitive, but they are always friendly and by the time it’s over you’ll have accidentally had a pretty good workout.
—Jon Lewis, Senior Sports Editor

Rec Courts

There’s nothing better than shooting some hoops after a long day of classes, and there’s no better setting to do it. When you enter the gym for the first time, you’ll probably spend some time marveling at the beautiful, shiny hardwood stained by a trio of St. Louis-themed silhouettes. Once you get past the initial spectacle, what you’re left with is a pristine arena complete with six basketball hoops, plus easy access to volleyball and badminton nets. That means you can just shoot around with a friend, or maybe join one of the always-running full-court five-on-five games. Whether you just want to practice your skyhook or take part in some high-energy competition, the rec courts are the place to be.
—Rohan Gupta, Senior Sports Editor

The Sumers Recreation Center stands on the west end of the Danforth campus. The building houses various recreational facilities for Washington University students to use free of cost.Bread Lee | Student Life

The Sumers Recreation Center stands on the west end of the Danforth campus. The building houses various recreational facilities for Washington University students to use free of cost.

Racquetball Courts

College is a stressful time, so it’s very important to find a way to blow off steam. Some people party, others do yoga. Me? I like to wail on rubber ball as hard as I possibly can. Oddly enough, the Athletic Complex has the perfect space to do that. Hidden in the basement, down a long hallway, past the field house and past the swimming pool is a half dozen or so racquetball and squash courts. These claustrophobic fluorescent-white boxes are perfect for working out your frustration for a couple of reasons. First: They’re the AC’s hidden gem so you’ll almost never have to wait in line for a court. Second: Since they’re out of the way you can grunt to the high heavens without anybody hearing you. Third: There may be nuanced rules and strategies to both racquetball and squash, but there’s nothing stopping you from imagining that rubber ball is your last essay and whacking that sucker into the next county.
—Aaron Brezel, Managing Editor

The walk out

The best thing for me after a hard workout is the relaxing walk into the blisteringly hot sun outside the sparkling new walls of Sumers Recreation Center. On the walk, you might catch a glimpse of the neon rainbow mural by Katharina Grosse on the wall above the doors. To your left and right, you might be lucky enough to see some sweaty people still busting their butt to exercise, while you, an intellectual, started your workout earlier in the day, and are done. Hurray! Strike a “Rocky” pose on your way out and gloat.
—Aidan Strassmann, Senior Forum Editor

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.

Subscribe