Make Home Field Great Again

Gopher+pops+up+on+the+football+field.
Gopher pops up on the football field.

Gopher pops up on the football field.

Prowl photo by Manuel Carlos

Prowl photo by Manuel Carlos

Gopher pops up on the football field.

Cheyenne Yodong, Opinion Writer

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By Cheyenne Yodong

After being swamped by long-awaited rain, our Weston Ranch athletic fields were unprepared for another season of competition.

Although, our football field has always been in a mediocre state at best, there are tentative plans being made to fix it. Plans so very tentative that they can’t be discussed.

The problem is four different sports teams use the field, so tending to the field would or should be done more often than just when it’s in dire need.

The need has long passed dire.

“The current state of the football field is that it is unplayable due to the weather,” Weston Ranch Athletic Director Jason Furtado said last week after rainstorms reigned down on South Stockton.

The ground couldn’t take the deluge.

To be clear, we aren’t looking for perfection, but something more tolerable than the uneven lawn with sporadic patches of brown currently available. That would be appreciated.

Instead of being Home of the Cougars, our field is Home of the Gophers. 

The condition of the field had a significant impact on soccer players throughout their season.

“The conditions of the soccer field were terrible. They were the worst I’ve seen all three years,” said a Cougar soccer player who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“There were specific spots that would get extremely muddy,” the player said.

“Once it rained, it would be so muddy that during the games, the balls wouldn’t roll in those muddy spots. We would have to go into the watery mud and push it out.”

By the end of their games, the players’ socks would be caked with mud, and splatters that would reach as high as their jerseys. The player also stated that “The players from the other schools would complain about our field too.” Due to the dreadful shape of our field during the rain, games would have to move to the opponent’s school, so home games were rarely ever played at home.

Originally, the track and field team had a home meet scheduled for April 6. It likely will be moved to another high school site, school officials said. Why? The reason is our home field isn’t an advantage to anyone.               

Not only does the field’s condition affect the sports, but also the physical education classes. CAJE Adviser Mr. Torrente is concerned about the safety of the students when running not just the track itself, but the fields around it. The potholes slow down the runners from going full speed, and consciousness of safety is always present.

Taking this into account, the baseball field has also gone through minor renovating.

“After four years of working diligently to improve, it has finally gotten to a status where it is a safer field to play,” stated Coach Hager. Among other things, our ever-present gopher holes hold responsibility for some injuries, though most of the gophers themselves have been taken care of. The unevenness of the ground leads to bad hops (on the baseball) ultimately causing the players getting hit. The ground has been leveled, and over seeded so grass can grow.

At this point, Hager said, “the baseball field is in a situation where the players are proud of it.”

There’s no doubt that our fields are in terrible conditions. Safety poses caution for the likely injuries that could occur. With new fields, we can stop worrying about getting caught in a pothole or breaking something. It’s about time having them fixed becomes a Manteca Unified School District priority.  

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