By JESSICA HO, freshman
Breezy, sunny days of autumn are ending and chilly, snowy winter is picking up, which means another wave of new sports lockers must be reissued to the winter sports teams. And as if the locker rooms weren’t crammed enough with spare t-shirts and shorts during the fall, bulky Northface coats are now going to clutter the floors as well. For those newbies who, have never set foot in the chaotic locker rooms between the times of 2:30- 2:45 and feel like they want to give it a go, here are a few tips and warnings to help you during the inevitably irritating time you’ll spend fumbling in the sweaty caves of the putrid, week-old sportswear monster:
– Practice breathing through your mouth: Luckily, the hallways that lead to the locker rooms are relatively open. So take a deep breath before diving into the locker rooms. Make sure it’s enough to last you for a while, since the moment you take a whiff inside, your nostrils will be flooded with the sticky, sweaty stench of far too many people packed into an itty-bitty space; or worse, the pungent odor of someone using Old Spice as air freshener. Your mouth is there for a reason other than talking in class; save your nose and use it.
– Get an outside locker: Or bargain with a friend who has one. Ten dollars is worth spending if it means you don’t have to squeeze down the row and into your corner locker. Being on the outside means you have extra swing space for your locker door, extra changing space to wriggle out of those skinny jeans, and most importantly, clean fresh air that has not yet been contaminated by those poor middle and inside locker guys and gals.
– Prepare yourself: If you’re a personal-space freak, then you better learn to get over your fears quick. Those dreams of having grand, professional changing rooms should be already flushed down the drain. Your privacy bubble has no meaning in the JPS locker room world, where you can barely stretch an arm out without accidentally punching someone in the face. A good strategy to use? Pretend you’re in medieval times, where groups of families shared a dirty, one-room shack, and you won’t be able to sprint into the locker rooms fast enough.
– The early bird gets the worm: The worm that helps prevent claustrophobic attacks, that is. Get to the locker rooms before everyone else, and you might have some downtime to change by yourself; though know that this might mean getting your instrument after practice ends or cutting down on some afterschool chit-chat time with your 12th period buddies. Whatever the case, rush down to the locker rooms as fast as possible; you can laugh at your friends as they struggle to change afterwards.
Nevertheless, don’t let the locker rooms intimidate you into not trying out for your favorite sport. By all means, go for it! Once you’ve changed and broken past the locker room door, you’re free to go and get that first place trophy for your team.