SUNY Morrisville and Catholic University had better hope for rain or early fall for their noon kickoff in Morrisville, N.Y. on Sept. 16. If there are any remnants of summer in the atmosphere then their cleats had better come with air conditioning because the field is going to feel like hot coals.
The Morrisville State administration has decided to color its home field black. That’s right, on top of the already hot tire rubber, the plastic grass will be painted black as well. I would have considered this cruel and unusual punishment for the players, but a YouTube tour of the football facility revealed an indoor space. Daily August summer football practice on a black football field is making my back droop just thinking about it.
Also not only is the football team going to play on that field, but so will all of their outdoor field sports. To the women’s soccer team that has a 1 p.m. EST home game on Sept. 6 and the men later at 3 p.m., slide tackle at your own peril. Whatever thigh meat touches the turf that afternoon might be lost forever.
In the school’s statement about the new turf, Director of Athletics Matt Grawrock said that he has been asked “many times” why change the field black and his reply was, “why not?”
That is leadership ladies and gentlemen. I don’t care if it’s Division III athletics or the halls of the United States Congress, that answer needs to be the tenant that guides the path of anyone who ever finds themselves in charge.
Why not? How does anyone respond to that? People who might have expressed uneasiness about a field in which every centimeter of it absorbs heat at an enormous capacity, but “why not,” certainly boxes someone in with those concerns. With that logic, not only is it a logical person’s job to make Grawrock see it, but do so in a way that actually grabs his attention.
Why not, yeah a statement that surely hasn’t been made before a disaster. I’m sure that every time anyone reading this story has used the phrase “why not” before acting has never regretted the consequences. It’s a foolproof life philosophy. Why not put a trip to Hawaii on a credit card when a month behind on the electric bill? Why not go to that party instead of studying during finals while on academic probation? Why not melt the cleats of your school’s athletes for the sake of attention?
The stop-and-think sign in my first-grade teacher’s classroom is a better guide for decision-making than “why not.” At least the word “think” is a part of it. Think implies that a pause is necessary to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. “Why not,” is something best said before eating one more slice of pizza than originally intended.
So athletes of SUNY Morrisville, and those who will be visiting, hope and pray for the earliest winter that central New York has ever seen. Because, the heat from that field is going to cook you all so thoroughly that the athletic trainer will be able to stick a fork in you and it will come out clean.