As towns in the area are playing on turf fields and other schools like Mansfield are enjoying their second turf field in a decade, King Philip athletic director Steve Schairer made it clear that KP now needs something similar at their school.
“We need a new field,” Schairer bluntly told the King Philip School Committee. “I think it’s gone beyond embarrassing for us. We have to do it.”
When the King Philip field hockey team eared a home game in the preliminary round of the South Division 1 tournament, it wasn’t King Philip that they called home for the day. While the team usually plays on the baseball field, MIAA rules say that a fall tournament game must start at 2:30 p.m. on a field with no lights. With their opponent Barnstable unable to make the early start time, the game had to be played on a field with lights.
Because of the weather from Hurricane Sandy, KP’s home field was left in no condition to have a game and the Warriors were forced to play their match at Mansfield High School. The incident, according to Schairer, showed the need for a new turf field.
“It was a little disappointing to have a home tournament game, which you work so hard for all season and you have to go 20 miles away,” Schairer said.
According to Schairer, the school hasn’t even been able to use it that much this year. Currently only the football team has been able to use the field along with the soccer teams in a limited capacity.
For football, the field has been restricted to game day use only with practices taking place at the American Legion. As a guest, the team cannot dictate how the field is used. For example, the lLegion is expected to host a dirt bike event this weekend that may chew up the field, making it questionable whether the field will be ready for football practice on Monday.
The soccer teams, which often play at the schools, also had to play games at the Feedman-Kennedy School in Norfolk. After a boys’ game that was played in heavy rain tore up the field, Norfolk Recreation asked KP to not use the field for the rest of the season. Luckily, there were only a few games left in the season so the last couple of games could be at the high school.
The Rice Complex was not an option this year, as the teams weren't allowed to use the fields they have often used in the past.
Rain has been the nemesis of the field. In addition to the athletic use, the KP Marching Band had to cancel an instance when they were suppose to use the field because of rain making the field harder to use.
During a recent meeting with the senior captains, Schairer asked them what they put on a wish list. A turf field was one of the, if not top item listed by most of the captains.
Fundraising is not an option for the new field. According to Schairer, he has tried three fundraisers over his six-year tenure as athletic director with none of the attempts bringing the school closer to the field. Scharier would like to see a proposal for a new turf field go in front of the town.
"If they vote it down, if they don’t want to go for it, then you won’t see me come up and hear me talk about it anymore," Schairer said. "My gut tells me that the townspeople will vote for it because everywhere I go, the common theme that’s always asked of me by everybody is ‘when are you going to get a new field?’”
A little progress should be made soon as the school committee is hoping to have a report and recommendations for how to go about getting a new field in December