Field fiasco

Marching band and football team must share field this year due to construction.


Courtesy of Mr. Wall

Members of the Spirit of '76 marching band practice on the lower field. This year the band had to share the lower field with the football team.

Because of geothermal construction on their normal practice field, the marching band has had to hold its practices alongside the football team. 

In February of 2018, the school started work on replacing its normal HVAC system with geothermal heating and cooling doing test drilling. After the baseball season ended in the spring of 2019 they tore up the rest of the softball and baseball field as well as the field behind it. Both of these fields are used for both spring and fall sports. In the fall the band and softball teams use the fields and in the spring the baseball team uses them. 

“Some season would be impacted. We chose to wait until baseball ended, so it ended up impacting the band because the field wasn’t ready,” athletic director Pat Burns said.

Because the backfield is still unusable, many sports are having issues–the biggest of which is scheduling. 

“The band moved to the lower field and is sharing it with football, field hockey is on the turf and softball is using their normal fields,” Burns said. 

The football team and the band sharing the field has caused some frustration at not being able to use the fields to their full potential since both teams can only use part of the field at a time, but the turf is the ideal place to practice for all the teams.

Abigail Teska, senior Color Guard co-captain, said, “Being able to practice on a different field after 3 years of marching and practice definitely keeps things interesting and fresh. It creates an almost level of excitement, but then it’s also stressful because we’ve had to share the field with football, and I’m not saying that one deserves the space more than the other. I know we are a small band, but at the same time I believe that we all deserve our own practice space.”

Junior football player Mali Walton feels similarly about having to share the football field with the marching band.

“It’s a little tough not having the whole field, but as long as we can get half the field it’s not that big of a deal. Sometimes having the band there is a little annoying but that’s about it,” Walton said.

One of the hardest parts of sharing the football field for Teska is the quality of the practices. 

“It was hard for me last year and previous years to focus on practices when softball was playing right next to us, but now it’s even harder because there’s football next to us, field hockey or soccer in front of us, and people and cars passing by, and it disrupts rehearsals for everyone, it causes a loss of focus. I can only imagine what type of disruption the football team has to deal with because while they’re very distracting to us I’m sure our loud music is very distracting to them as well,” Teska said. 

Some say that all the stress is worth it because of the amount of energy South High is saving through the geothermal system. The geothermal energy works with pipes running from under the band field to the chiller, and since the underground temperature is constantly at 56 degrees the system doesn’t have to work as hard to heat and cool the building.

“It’s been an issue for us short–term athletically, but at a district level, they’ve talked about it saving money long term,” Burns said. “Once the field grows in and the fencing comes down it’ll be resolved. It’s just a matter of waiting.”