Editor’s note: Will Morristown High School’s turf field–built thanks to a major fundraising campaign–become a victim of its own success? An MHS football booster weighs in with a proposal.
By Tim Heaton, co-president MHS Colonials Touchdown Club, Football Boosters
Light Memorial Field NOW!
We have all witnessed unauthorized use of the Turf field. During a recent Football Booster meeting, we caught a couple of pick-up soccer matches that occurred during Marching Band practice. Rounding out the festivities was a private fitness class, sand-castle building and, of course, skate-boarders. After dark, soccer continued under the security lights.
My first thought was, “I need to open the snack stand during the week!”
Seriously though, the Turf has a limited life. There are plenty of no-trespassing signs, but no compliance. During the booster meeting it was discovered that the turf was ripped. The likely cause was the townsfolk dragging the soccer goal over the Turf’s seams – MHS coaches require their athletes to carry the goals.
So then problem #1 is: Unauthorized use of MHS facilities.
This summer I wrote an article that some credit as the catalyst of the Jr. Colonials and Wildcats merger. However, the actual catalyst happened weeks earlier: that was giving the Jr. Colonials practice time on the MHS campus. My theory is that the prime motivation for choosing either program is geographic.
Now the Wildcats have been relegated back to the Woodland School field because the MHS fields are booked until 7 PM. This allows only 1 hour of practice before dark. Parents are again forced to drive to through town during rush hour and so the motivation for the merger is nullified. I predict that if a central practice location is not found that the merger will be reversed next season.
And problem #2 is: Limited practice field availability in a central location.
When the Wildcats (or any youth program) are not practicing on campus, MHS is losing recruiting opportunities. I believe that if we do not actively promote MHS, we will continue to lose a large percentage of the best student athletes to the preps. When those students become successful alumni, their support goes away from MHS and Morristown forever. Note: According to a recent poll, 95 percent of EVP’s in the Fortune 500 played HS sports – the preps must know this, ‘cause they ain’t offering scholarships to poets.
Solution to unauthorized use of MHS facilities and field availability? Light the Turf!
Lights would increase Turf use by 30 percent in some estimates, while simultaneously decreasing unauthorized use (assuming Wildcat parents are scarier than the Marching Band). Additionally, lights would concentrate upcoming student athletes on the MHS campus and to the MHS coaches, thereby increasing positive awareness of our school.
One solution, lighting the field, solves several problems. The field is already wired for lights. The benefits are manifold; and one would think, overwhelming. For football, time is critical. The lights must be installed before next season or youth football backslides.
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