South Football roars back on new home field

By David Han
Published: September 2009

The Lions Varsity Football team faced a disappointing defeat on Saturday, September 26 against Concord-Carlisle. Despite holding their opponents scoreless in the second half, the Lions were unable to recover the 21 point gap. The Lions, however, fought hard and proved themselves worthy of their new home field.

After five years of debate and discussion, the first of South’s four new fields opened, hosting a close loss for the Boys’ Varsity Football Team 21-19 against Concord-Carlisle.

Independent of the game’s outcome, the football team, who trained on the questionable practice fields of Oak Hill Middle School was excited to be the first team to play on the school’s new synthetic turf field.
“We’d seen the construction going on for a while on the fields, and we were just really happy to finally get on and play on it for the first time, co-captain and senior Isaac Freedman said.

During practice, Freedman noticed his teammates were more focused and determined to succeed, partly attributing the shift in mind-set to the possession of a new home field.

“The turf provides a sense of unity for our team, he said. “We take pride in our field. Now, we want to defend our home turf.

Athletic Director Scott Perrin hopes that, with the completed installation of two synthetic turf fields and two grass fields, athletes will develop a greater sense of pride. He notes, however, that a team’s playing environment should not significantly influence a team’s competitiveness unless field conditions prove to be safety concerns.

“It’s not about the field or track you play on, senior and Cross Country runner Alex Pearce said. “It’s what you bring to the game and the pride your team builds that matters.

Freedman expects the team to perform better now that the synthetic turf cleared the original field of unsafe playing conditions like divots and uneven areas of land.

Perrin believes the opening of the first synthetic turf field is the first step toward success after years of dispute.

Alderman Guive Mirfendereski, a chief opponent of synthetic turf, led an opposition group and issued an appeal to the Department of Environmental Protection on the completion of the first synthetic turf field, where the Lions played last Saturday.

Because the far end of the stadium is a buffer zone of wetlands, the appeal questions the synthetic turf’s effects on the environment. The delays in construction inhibit South’s soccer and track teams from playing on the field.

Mirfendereski, who vouches for natural grass fields, is also concerned with athletes’ health if they play on possibly dangerous field material.

“The ultimate question is not whether real grass is good enough for our kids; it’s whether our kids are worth real grass, Mirfendereski said.

Perrin, a proponent of synthetic turf, does not believe synthetic turf poses a threat to athletes’ health.
“When you want to talk about health issues, we should maybe examine the stuff we clean the floors with, the amount of food with preservatives that we eat, the amount of time we spend on our cell phones, the amount of time we stare at computer monitors, and so forth, he said.

Synthetic turf leaves behind a “huge and often unmitigated carbon footprint as well as other chemical hazards, according to Mirfendereski.

Whether such claims hold true, Perrin is confident that all four fields will be fully completed.“We’ve won the battles, we’ve continued to win the battles, and we’ll win the war, Perrin said. The other synthetic turf field will be in use this week, and all construction will end in at most a month, according to Perrin.

In regards to South being named the best athletics program by Sports Illustrated in the 2008-2009 year, Perrin believes the new turf fields are “facilities deserving of the programs that we have here.

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