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'Fields of dreams' should not be used for football.
It has come to our attention that Stafford County School Board representatives are considering an option--that we believe is the primary option--to utilize Stafford High School softball and baseball fields as designated practice fields for the upcoming 2013 football season. This decision is due to upcoming construction of the "new" SHS, which will be built where the existing football practice fields currently reside.
As SHS Softball Booster president, serving as a voice for parents, players, and coaches of the softball program, we are extremely disappointed in this potential quick-fix option. Parents, players, and coaches have invested hundreds of back-breaking hours in maintaining our softball field, most often using private funds, to ensure a safe and functional softball playing environment.
If you don't believe that using the softball and baseball fields as practice fields will have a negative impact, just walk over to the current football field and witness the destruction firsthand.
Our softball field is laid with Patriot Bermuda grass not designed for the demanding wear-and-tear that football players put on the field.
A second impact of this decision is the displacement of softball players during their annual fall softball season. Each year SHS softball forms a team to compete against other high school programs in a non-sanctioned Commonwealth District program. It affords new players the opportunity to play with each other and our veteran players extra playing time. It facilitates team spirit, improves performance, and provides coaches additional time with players in preparation for the spring season.
The School Board should exhaust all other options before approving the use of both the SHS softball and baseball fields as temporary football practice fields for the 2013 fall season.
On a personal note, I have spent the last seven years as an active baseball and softball booster. When I state that that it is back-breaking work keeping softball and baseball fields maintained, that it truly is!
Mr. Angelet is Stafford High School Softball Boosters Club president.