Underwater Basket Weaving, Parkland’s newest sport

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Zach Trueblood

Staff Writer

Parkland College has been in full preparation mode for many sports that are starting with the warmer weather. One sport in particular seems to have flown under the radar. That is Parkland’s newest athletic endeavor, Underwater Basket Weaving.

Underwater Basket Weaving is generally offered as a noncredit course at many colleges and Parkland’s own Community Education division has contemplated including it into the course offerings. One proponent of the program is Community Education Instructor, Dan Wheelings. Wheelings is an avid swimmer and craftsman. He has pushed for inducting the program into the course offerings but is happy that the college has settled on at least including it as a competitive sport.

“I remember underwater weaving from back in my college days. We’d clear those pools out and throw on our snorkels. Nowadays they’re using fancy scuba gear and more pliable reeds for the weaving. I’d love to teach some kids the art of it but I guess I’ll have to settle for sitting on the sidelines,” Wheelings stated.

Wheelings brought up a valid issue. What are the expenses of this new Underwater Basket Weaving program? Many factors must be considered such as scuba gear, crafting costs, pool rental fees

Photo by The Internet | World Wide Web  In this 2015 file photo, several baskets are presented by Parkland College’s pool. These baskets were weaved by Parkland’s newest athletic league, Underwater Basket Weaving.

Photo by The Internet | World Wide Web
In this 2015 file photo, several baskets are presented by Parkland College’s pool. These baskets were weaved by Parkland’s newest athletic league, Underwater Basket Weaving.

or pool construction itself. The new coach for the team Brian Basquette was able to tackle some of these issues.

“As of right now we don’t have any plans to construct a pool at the college. If the program ends up taking off we can see about doing that. Right now we really only have the funds for the scuba gear itself. That runs about $600 per weaver,” Coach Basquette remarked. “For the time being, we’ll be renting out pool space locally for training, locations like Sholem or the ARC.”

Many at the college are also worried about the longevity of the program and how it can bring in any revenue. Interested parties wonder how weaving reed baskets underwater can possibly build skills of any kind. Coach Basquette attempted to put some of these fears to rest.

“Honestly, underwater weaving is one of the best sports to promote hand-eye coordination. The resistance of the water is also great for weight training. To all those naysayers out there, we’re going to show them that Cobras can swim and do crafts,” Coach Basquette exclaimed.

When it comes down to it, Underwater Basket Weaving is more than simply a sport or activity. It provides team building exercises and an outlet for hard work and determination.

To be able to weave heavy, wet reeds into an object that can actually hold items is a feat not many can accomplish. One new member to the Parkland team is Reed Weaver. Weaver has been making crafts and swimming since he was a young child. He felt that it only made sense to combine the two.

“One day I was swimming in our backyard pool and my mom’s basket fell into the pool. I remember being so amazed by it and the way it felt underwater. I’ve been doing everything in my power to recreate that feeling ever since,” Weaver said. “Joining the Parkland Underwater Basket Weaving team seemed like a no-brainer to me.”

Coach Basquette and other team members like Weaver are going on a campus-wide campaign in the next few months. The goal of this campaign is to bring Underwater Basket Weaving to the forefront of talk at the college.

The team is encouraging anyone with crafting and swimming skills to try out. The team is also determined to convince everyone that Underwater Basket Weaving can be on par with such sports as basketball and baseball. After the Parkland Women’s Basketball team did so well this past season, Coach Basquette is planning on developing a women’s team as well.

For more information about Parkland’s Underwater Basket Weaving team contact 217-You-Got-Pranked or visit www.aprilfools.com.