Editorials and Opinions

Turf delays put South at home field disadvantage

By Lucas Walker
Published: September 2009

Home game. For many South athletes, these two words represent something unfamiliar and new. Some South teams have never played a home game or felt that rush of adrenaline when the home team fans begin to cheer.

The need to fix the fields has been acknowledged for years, but there has been a heated argument over the best way to do it. After in-depth research was conducted on the fields and field alternatives, the Board of Alderman finally agreed to a plan for the installation of new artificial turf fields.

Guive Merfendereski, a local activist, and a small group of Newton residents, however, decided to appeal the decision, based on the fact that the backstretch of the track is within 100 feet of the wetlands behind South.
Even though the turf fields have been successfully installed, the residents are continuing to appeal, which has stopped the completion of the track. The group of local residents also claimed that artificial turf fields might be dangerous for players.

But turf fields can be found all around our country, our state, and yes, even our town. For those who are not aware, there are turf fields located at the West Suburban YMCA, Lasell College, and Boston College, all of which are within the city of Newton. As well, turf fields were approved for the Newton North construction.
The delays have certainly done little for our health. Many teams have been forced to practice at Brown and Oak Hill’€which I can say from personal experience are uneven, filled with holes, and unsafe. For instance, Willie Allen, a football captain, hurt his knee when he stepped in a hole while running.

What is more, the postponement has caused more than just physical harm. It has forced teams to continue playing their games at off-campus sites. This hurts school spirit and attendance at the games. I personally can usually only attend home games, and understand that it is convenient to be able to watch a game at South. And because I (and many other students) do not have a car, traveling to off-campus games can be complicated and frustrating.

Home field advantage is something that all teams at South deserve, and the delays have robbed athletes of this advantage and source of pride. For a town that always strives to give its students all the tools necessary to succeed in the classroom, it is a shame that such a small group of people can hinder it from giving athletes the means to succeed on the field.

It’s bittersweet, knowing that we should have gotten the fields long ago, but we are all extremely excited nonetheless.

The football team recently played its first home game on the new turf field, a moment that my teammates and I had been awaiting for years. We finally have a playing field equal to that of our opponents, one that we can proudly call our home.

It’s bittersweet, knowing that we should have gotten the fields long ago, but we are all extremely excited nonetheless.

I hope, in the future, that South students will appreciate these new fields. South parents, coaches, players, and faculty put in a tremendous amount of time and energy fighting to bring our games home to our own fields.

For those of us playing and practicing on the new fields, let’s use them to become better teams. For others, make good use of the fields located in South’s backyard by attending games and cheering on your classmates. And let’s use the new fields to show everyone in Massachusetts why Sports Illustrated rated our athletic department number one in the state.

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