To the Editor:
After 30 years of teaching and coaching field hockey, basketball, softball, and lacrosse at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, I feel that it is my time to speak out. I have over 70 girls each year for field hockey practicing and playing on one field. I cut the grass very short on our field myself, so that it plays like turf and so that my girls are not at a disadvantage when we go off-Island and play on artificial turf.
I have taken my team off-Island for 17 years, where we have played on turf. Our home field has been a disgrace in so many ways. Here are some examples: The exposed sprinkler heads are causing sprains and broken bones; the paint for lines does not adhere to dirt, which causes many questionable calls or no calls; divots are a risk; goose poop is all over the place; and there is zero watering on the grass. Many times I have taken my team into the gym to practice because it mimics turf. We have lost many crucial semifinal games because of our inability to play on turf as opposed to the opposition.
The injuries on turf fields are basically nothing more than abrasions, and the heat issue is taken care of because as a coach, I address it and keep them cool. The organic infill will also not cause much of a rise in temperature as opposed to the crumb rubber. When I watch my student athletes arrive at a complex that has turf fields, their eyes pop with excitement! This new field and track will also allow me to bring the Special Olympics to the Island, which I have been a part of and have been trying to do for many years now.
The thought of this plan and gift from MV@Play will keep me at the MVRHS for years to come. I will stand on the fields with tears of joy for this community. The thought of a real softball field, real natural turf fields, artificial turf fields, a trainer’s room, visitors’ locker room, real bathrooms, and bleachers and lights above, for all to witness the play, is amazing! My freshman, sophomore, and junior players are overjoyed by this proposal. We must support MV@Play and their proposal. Thank you so very much for this unbelievable opportunity for our entire community.