I had the privilege of being part of something very special for a local high school football team Friday evening.
I covered the Jonathan Alder-Marion Harding game, which was the first regular-season home gridiron contest on JA’s new turf field at Volunteer Stadium.
I stopped by a few weeks ago to take a couple of quick pictures at Alder’s home scrimmage against Fairbanks.
I also covered the school’s turf dedication ceremony during the middle of August.
Friday night’s atmosphere was an entirely different thing.
There are a number of advantages to a turf field in that it doesn’t have to be mowed and the school’s maintenance staff doesn’t have to worry about lining the field before each game.
There is also not the worry of the field being worn down to a nub by the early part of October.
I remember years ago before Marysville High School built its soccer stadium.
Prior to that, all three of the high school football teams (varsity, JV and freshmen) played games on the grass, along with the boys and girls soccer squads (varsity and JV).
I remember one season in particular that I covered an MHS girls soccer game during the first week of October.
By that time, the field looked like the back 40 had been plowed.
Jonathan Alder does not have a soccer-only stadium and its field would become rather chewed up by the middle of the football and soccer seasons as well.
Now, the Pioneers don’t have to fret about that.
Monarch football teams won’t have to worry about that either, once the stadium project is completed.
I know a lot of people are grumbling about how long the work is taking, however, a very wet start to the month of June pushed the time-line way out of wack.
Once everything is completed, Marysville is going to have what I feel is a first-class sports complex with the new turf field and adjacent track.
Another advantage to the turf field is… no mud for clumsy newspaper photographers to track into the office after games.
What some folks may not know is that turf fields help said clumsy photographers actually take better pictures.
Grass fields are dark and don’t reflect the lights very well.
That makes it much more difficult to take good pictures during games once the sun goes down.
Turf fields reflect the light much better and make taking photos a much less stressful adventure.
It’s about like the feeling I had several years ago when we traveled to nearby Ohio Wesleyan University for a North Union playoff game.
The lighting was very good and reflected well off the Battling Bishops’ turf field.
It was so good that I was able to shoot pictures at night without a flash.
As such, I was able to rapidly fire photographs of play sequences for our archives.
It’s going to be much easier taking pictures now at Jonathan Alder home football games, just as it will at Marysville once the stadium project is finished.
Both schools will also be able to eventually make bids to host state playoff games.
It is costly to complete projects like those at JA and Marysville, but in the long run, I think it’s going to be worth it.
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