About that turf


To the Editor,

To all voters and leaders on Martha’s Vineyard,

I am a high school soccer coach at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. I coach the JV girls soccer program, and assist with the varsity women’s program. I have been an educator at the high school for over 18 years, and I am so proud of the staff, administrators, and students with whom I share most of my life.

Our school has an opportunity to improve the safety and standards for athletics on Martha’s Vineyard. As many know, there has been a three-year debate about the athletic campus at MVRHS. I appreciate the concerns, and believe in open debate and respectful disagreement. I am one of many coaches and players who are on those fields day in and day out. I personally have firsthand knowledge, experience, and observations of the conditions and standards of the fields. They are in poor condition.

This debate has gone above and beyond scrutinizing the concerns, many of which I believe have been hyperbolized from both sides. We are in a place where compromise and concessions need to be made in order to move forward. We cannot remain in a place where we continue to debate, and debate, and debate. The extremists from both sides will continue to draw this out, but at some point, the middle has to make the decision. Neither polar side will get everything they want; it is impossible. Therefore, we move forward with a compromise.

Many want multiple synthetic turf fields, while others want none. Synthetic turf fields have their advantages, especially living in a region like New England. That’s probably why so many schools, towns, colleges, and athletic organizations are building synthetic turf fields all across New England, including Cape Cod and Nantucket. Natural grass fields have their advantages too, and I don’t disagree with many of the points made by proponents of all-natural grass fields. But this is not an either-or debate — as much as the extremists want you to believe it is.

One synthetic field and five natural grass fields seems to me to be good common ground, and a proposal to move forward. Our athletes cannot play on these fields anymore. A track needs to be built, and our campus needs to comply with ADA standards and codes. I implore the voters and leaders on this Island to allow the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s use of E and D to move this proposal to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and for the MVC to objectively look at the science and data in the Huntress proposal. Our athletes deserve to have a place to play that is safe, and our spectators deserve to have a place they can access that is compliant with their needs. Thank you for reading.

Matt Malowski
Oak Bluffs


  1. If our schools playing fields are in poor condition it’s because they’ve been poorly maintained. Public schools that have natural green playing fields achieve that by investing in professional field maintenance, whether they sub it out or do it themselves. Artificial turf also requires maintenance, so either way, our problem of field neglect needs to be addressed, probably by creating a budget for field maintenance, from fence to shining fence. Frankly, the field is a mess half the time, doesn’t the school own a rake?

    • Ever check out the baseball field? It’s thing of beauty. That kind of maintenance isn’t happening for the rest I f the fields. The football field would be nearly impossible to maintain as a grass field. It sees 3 seasons of hard use.

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