It seems that artificial turf just can't be held back these days! The benefits for sports fields, for instance, are too great to be ignored or suppressed. It is quickly becoming the standard sports surface material for the most popular sports like soccer and football, but it is also gaining traction for other sports, too. One of them is field hockey. In fact, artificial turf will be installed on a field hockey field that will be played on during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The company producing the artificial turf says that the turf will be durable, very low maintenance, and supply a uniform surface across the entire field, with no ruts or shifting areas, and without requiring intervals between games for maintenance and repairs. This would have been unheard of with natural grass.
After the Olympic Games end, the artificial turf surface will continue to yield benefits to the local community, too. It will allure out of town visitors playing on the field in tournaments, who will in turn spend money at local hotels and merchants, boosting the economy. Furthermore, it will encourage physical activity among the populace, and increase camaraderie among people who visit to cheer on their favorite teams as spectators.
Artificial turf is a new hit among baseball players. One high school team in Nevada had artificial turf installed in their baseball field and the players and coach love it. It cost the school a quarter of a million dollars to install the turf. This initial cost will be recouped later on in money they save on maintenance. The coach says that he's wanted to install the artificial turf in the baseball field for years.
The main reason they installed the artificial turf is the weather. During the stormy spring season, for example, the team had to spend countless hours waiting for the field to be repaired after rainfall. Now that they have artificial turf installed, they can be playing on the field in as little as an hour after rainfall.
The players love it too. The shortstop says that the artificial turf gives the field a uniform surface so that he can anticipate where the ball is going to go and how it will bounce on the field. No more bad hops. Also, when sliding into the base, he says it's like sliding on really nice grass every time.
The coach expects the artificial turf field to last 12 to 14 years....
For many high schools, installing synthetic turf gives their teams a competitive edge. The synthetic turf surface allows them to practice on the field 365 days a year, no matter the weather conditions, and habituates them to playing on a surface material that is quickly becoming the standard material in high school sports. However, installing the synthetic turf in the field can be prohibitively expensive for many high schools.
A high school in Belleville, IL, has taken a novel approach to raising the necessary funds to pay for their new synthetic turf field. The high school has sold ad space on the surface of the field itself to local companies. The field currently has 20 ads displayed in panels in the synthetic turf itself, including a local Chick-Fil-A. Additional funding for the synthetic turf field came from clubs and donations.
The ad panels are currently sold for five-year periods, and when the companies want to remove the ads, all the high school has to do is cut out the turf with the ad display on it and replace it with a synthetic turf that matches the color of the rest of the field, or replace it with a new ad-paneled synthetic turf.
It's a proven effective option of raising money to pay for synthetic turf fields that you may want to propose at your next school board meeting....
The controversy around crumb rubber infill continues as a new in-depth piece in the USA Today was published today surveying the political dispute occurring between school synthetic turf sports field superintendents, environmental agencies, and consumer protection agencies.
On the one hand, the Consumer Product Safety commission is being criticized for publishing a headline in 2008 proclaiming that synthetic turf with crumb rubber infills was "OK to install, OK to play on," despite the fact that the tests they had conducted were not conclusive.
Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency has historically supported the use of crumb rubber infills in synthetic turf fieldsd in their effort to recycle old car tires. Due to recent political pressure, they have stated that the safety of such rubbers is not conclusive.
And on the other hand, schools are reticent to allow their turf fields to be tested for fear of negative publicity and having to pay to have their turf fields replaced, which costs more than $1 million, if the tests prove that the fields are harmful to children.
And on still another hand, the Synthetic Turf Council have touted the obvious benefits of synthetic turf, reduced maintenance costs and water savings, etc.
It seems that the debate around synthetic turf crumb rubber infill will just have to continue until conclusive tests have been completed....
Even though it "feels like" we were hunting aster eggs a few days ago, our favorite season is almost upon us... FOOTBALL SEASON!!! Whether you favor the professional teams or maybe college sports is your thing, to matter where you are you can almost smell and feel the energy brewing! Now take that feeling and multiply it by 1000.This must be what it is like for the 60+ High Schools across the United States that will be playing their first home game on a new field of synthetic turf. The list of schools is a "Who's-Who's" of high school sports and the number of teams is growing by the day! When I sat down to write this blog I soon discovered that it would be an easier task to list those who "DID NOT" install a new athletic sports field this year. And I will add that those schools on the "DID NOT" list were only there because they are waiting for their own installation of artificial grass to begin!
Like I stated, the list of educational institutions is vast, however states like Oregon, Louisiana,California, and West Virginia are but a few of the schools we will be hearing about for the next several months. Keeping in mind this list only refers to the High Schools using the amazing new playing surface. There are countless Universities and other venues popping up every single day! The schools that will have their first pitch, first touchdown, or first point on fake will witness first hand what an impeccable and refined surface they are playing on. A field that was tailor made to fit the needs of an athlete of any kind. There is only on question that comes to mind...what will you do with all of your "newly acquired" spare time? Time that you used to spend cleaning up muddy footprints. Well? I guess, lets go warm up the grill!
Say hello to A FEW of the schools and teams that will enjoy their first game on new modern turf that was designed with the player in mind...
Mountaineer Stadium, TX
University of Idaho, ID
Nolan Catholic, TX
Boys Latin, Maryland
Washington High School, Washington
DePew, High School, IN
Pomona Unified, Pomona, CA
Ouachita Christian, Monroe, LA
Jupiter High School, Palm Beach, FL...