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Friday, August 8, 2014

The "Urbana Gets A New Coach and Field" Story

My granddaughter Courtney holding a piece of
the new synthetic turf that is being installed.
It was an ordinary day.  Talking to my son-in-law about the new synthetic turf field that was almost finished at the school where he teaches and is the head football coach.  After many years at Quince Orchard High School in Montgomery County, MD with over 100 wins and with three trips to the 4A State Championship game, Dave turned in his resignation and began a new teaching job and head football coaching job at Urbana High School in Urbana, MD which is close to Frederick, MD.  Well, the school had scheduled to have their football/sports stadium field changed from regular grass, which requires a tremendous amount of maintenance, to a synthetic field that will require just about no maintenance.  Many say that they did it in order to get Dave to move to the school, which is where his two daughters attend and which is only 10 minutes from his home, and coach their football team.  
Standing on the 50 yard line at Urbana's new field.
Not entirely true, but it speaks well for his ability as a head coach.  Dave told me some of the basic features of the field and I found them rather interesting.  They first remove all the existing sod and dig several inches below the surface so they can install a new drainage system.  On top of the drainage system they place layers of stone, starting with larger stones and finishing with a very fine ground stone size.  
Worker stretches the turf into place.
On top of that goes the turf with looks exactly like grass which is about 3-4 inches high. The shreds of green material are attached to a woven mesh which goes on top of the last layer of stone.  After that is placed, stretched and fastened over the field, a couple inch layer of finely ground old rubber  automobile tires are spread over the grassy surface.  On top of the rubber is then placed a layer of fine sand.  
The white bags are filled with rubber pieces which are used
to spread over the green surface after it is laid.
I can remember a few years ago, after the school where I taught forever did the same surface on its field, walking on the new field and seeing the black rubber pieces sticking to the bottom of my shoes.  Pretty neat to see someone running and having the rubber flying from their cleats as they motor down the field.  Courtney, my oldest granddaughter, and I made a trip to the field to see exactly what it will look like when it is complete.  Must tell you that it looked beautiful.  
This is a better look at the line markers.  You also can see
the strips of color that are being place on the field to incidate
the sidelines and goal areas for other sports which will also
use the field.
I'm sure the football players will love the surface.  Will be rather "spongy" and easier on the body when being tackled or tackling someone else.  When Courtney and I walked into the stadium and stood on the 50 yard line, we could see the workers stretching the surface while others were cutting the surface and inserting colored strips of the same material that indicated the side lines and goal areas.  
End zone look at the field of the Urbana HS Hawks.
The bright white numbers to signify the yard lines in football were really neat.  Easy for the fans as well as the players to see and they will not disappear when someone get tackled or someone runs over them.  The cost of the field ….. slightly under $1 million!  Worth it?  They will save on maintenance costs and after a few years the field will pay for itself.  Now all Dave has to do is bring a winning team to Urbana.  No doubt in my mind that he will do it this year.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

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