Wet gym floor forces Taft to cancel game against Lane in first quarter

The game was canceled after five players slipped and fell on the gym floor, which was wet with condensation.

SHARE Wet gym floor forces Taft to cancel game against Lane in first quarter
Taft’s Chino Garcia (3) slips on the court during the game against Lane.

Taft’s Chino Garcia (3) slips on the court during the game against Lane.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Taft’s small gym was loaded with people on Wednesday. There was a sold-out crowd with fans standing in every available corner.

But there was only five minutes of varsity basketball. The game was canceled after five players slipped and fell on the gym floor, which was wet with condensation. The gym walls were also coated in moisture.

Eagles coach Jason Tucker said they haven’t had the problem in the two years he’s been here. He was the first to guess at the cause.

“I think it is because there were three games,” Tucker said. “It sucks but it is what it is.”

Taft usually only plays the sophomore and varsity games together. Wednesday against Lane all three levels, freshmen included, played.

“This is my sixth year and it has never happened here,” Taft Principal Mark Grishaber said. “I was at Whitney Young eight years and it never happened there either.”

One referee guessed that it was the sold-out crowd: “The more people that came in here the worse it got.”

Mark Farina, the longtime public address announcer at Taft, said he remembered officials stopping a game once before several years ago. He said this was just the second sold game at Taft this season, but that only two games were played that night against Schurz.

Referees use towels to mop up condensation on the court during the first quarter of the game between Lane and Taft.

Referees use towels to mop up condensation on the court during the first quarter of the game between Lane and Taft.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Taft brought out a second floor fan, hoping that would solve the problem, but that only ran for a minute before stopping. Apparently it overloaded the circuit.

There isn’t any air conditioning in Taft’s gym, which makes it difficult to regulate the temperature.

“We’ve received quotes for air conditioning and it is $110,000,” Grishaber said. “We’d like to get that in our budget, we’ve been trying.”

Taft opened a new $77 million building for freshman this year. It has a gym, but the varsity doesn’t play games there.

“Parking is an issue there,” Grishaber said. “And the seating is made for a middle school.”

Taft vs. Lane is a non conference game this year, so the schools may or not make up the game.

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