By FARHAN PATEL, sophomore
The sports budget often gets muddled within all the debates over investments in school renovations, textbooks, and computers. But early this year, the Board of Education approved the replacement of our school’s patchy grass field with brand new turf, vividly painted with a logo of a hawk. Now, with the new turf in place, the start of the 2013-2014 school year marks the advent of a reinvigorated faith in and regard for not only for academics, but also for athletics.
The decision to switch to a turf field may have been ironic after we garnered praise for our grass field in the Home News Tribune’s poll honoring grass fields in the Greater Middlesex Conference. But, as many of the players, coaches, and spectators who follow sports can agree, the benefits the turf field brings outweigh the recognition from the title. One of the major advantages of the turf field is its increased “playability”. Whereas the grass field would be vulnerable to rain and prone to have potholes and puddles, the turf field is much more durable, letting many of our teams host games without worrying about inconvenient weather ruining the field. Unlike the worn and often torn-up grass field, the flat and even surface of the turf allows players to move more quickly, making crisper passes and more accurate shots.
The cost of the turf might have raised concerns because of the initial high cost, but many calculate that the long-term costs of maintaining the turf will be less expensive. Each square foot of turf costs about $5.00, a low price considering the costs of the upkeep of the grass field. For instance, a grass field requires an average of 50,000 gallons of water per week to in order to stay in good condition, an amount both ecologically harmful and economically wasteful. The efforts to install this turf field have heightened people’s anticipation and have translated to a greater attendance at games.
Next time you find yourself with some time to spare after school, pay a visit to whatever team has the privilege of playing on the turf that day and see for yourself its appeal. As gym classes, sports teams, and spectators all reap benefits from the new field, it may also represent the first step in a long line of future reforms for better sports programs. For now, though, the turf will display our school’s refreshed attitude toward our athletes’ work.