The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Field Hockey Field Usage Contested

Recently, the field hockey team reported the unauthorized usage of their field after practices. According to the varsity girls’ field hockey coach Mary Donahue, unauthorized persons come at the end of high school practice to play soccer on the short grass-field and wear out the grass.

“For the past couple of years, we’ve had a group of adult male soccer players who like to come and play after school practices are done,” Donahue said. “This year, they started showing up again and we asked them to leave…to try to make them understand that you have to have a permit to use the field, and in no sense can they use the hockey field because it’s during season, and we need [the field not] torn up.”

Field hockey plays their games on turf, so it is vital that they have smooth, short grass to practice on. When the field is overused and the grass withers in certain places, the field becomes uneven and keeps the girls from practicing proper techniques needed to play well in games. Also, the uneven grass poses a safety concern in this particular sport.

“If the ball pops up, or doesn’t roll true…it really messes with how you’re playing the game…if the surface is really uneven, then you can get balls popping up that…hit you, so it turns into more of a danger element,” Donahue said. “The other problem is once the field’s torn up, you know you have to be completely off it to grow the grass back again, and for example right after [field hockey season is] done, soccer season starts and the soccer teams need the field. So if the grass isn’t maintained while we’re in season in the fall…by the time they get to winter it’s really messed up when it starts raining and stuff so that makes [it] so there’s no chance for the grass to recover, basically.”

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The fields are also used daily by private sports teams like MVLA soccer after high school practice finishes. Such teams renting the field are authorized to use the field by the school, and following high school teams, have a higher priority than other members of the community to use our facilities.

Conflict with the unauthorized men playing soccer has been on and off through the years, and has “not been a new issue,” Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg said. “Fields are generally a scarce resource in all communities, because people…want to play some games, soccer, or whatever other sport…and it’s not unusual there’s sometimes conflict about who gets to use the facilities when they’re in such high demand, and they just want to resolve it in a [friendly way]…as quickly as possible.”

Rosenberg stresses that misunderstanding and miscommunication about field usage rules leads to situations like field hockey’s, and with proper communication with the violating party, tensions can be resolved. He and Principal Wynne Satterwhite have been out on the field hockey field several times already, making sure the conflict was minimized and any disagreements were resolved about where and when the men could play on the field.

“ I haven’t had any problems last week…so I’m hopeful that with [Satterwhite and Rosenberg’s] help [the issue] is getting resolved,” Donahue said. “[Satterwhite and Rosenberg] also said the district might be sending a security guy…every now and then just to make sure that the rules are being followed, so hopefully its a problem that’s done.”

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