Over the summer Eastern’s Athletic department went forward approving plans to reinforce the turf fields. What most of the campus community does not know is the measures taken in order to accomplish the new turf installments. Come and take an exclusive look with Athletic Communicator Dan Mouw about the process that goes unseen.
Long hot and sunny days rule the summer. Residency on campus is calm and collective with noise solely from preparations for the upcoming semester. But with a quick peek out of Kea-Guffin or Gough Halls windows, anyone can spot what looks like a sports summer camp? An army of kids about 400 all retreating to their teams fill up the turf, they glare at each other in anticipation to guess their opponent’s strategy for a friendly (or aggressive) game of soccer. The afternoon stretches to its final minutes of daylight before the evening comes, and the kids begin to walk off the field (some victorious and others defended) to rest. By nightfall the turf slowly recovers from “wear and tear” for another day of games. The story repeats itself on and on every summer, or at least that’s how it use to be until now.
In 2005, Eastern University installed turf on the fields that were expected to last up to 10 years according to Mouw, but over time the sunlight absorbed and constant use caused for the turf to weaken. The turf fields lasted up until Spring 2018.
“For us it became an issue of we need to replace these, because of player safety and due to the Universities agreement of usage to receive revenue from summer camps and clinics”, says Mouw.
A two to three year process of new turf installments began in 2016, beginning with last year’s realization of endangerment to players’ health if reused any longer. This decision became popular among EU coaches to benefit their sports teams. One coach himself Kevin Wallace, lacrosse, participated with deciding the final product to be installed. An outside company began working two days after graduation last spring, cutting the turfs and racing against deadlines. For turf to be installed workers have to layout a series of layers: big stones, smaller rocks, and “crumb rubber” to top it off (this gives them a bouncy feel and reduces injuries). The project was completed within a two to three week period.
Each of the turf fields have designated material that support the teams such as field hockey or soccer during their play. This summer the workers faced challenges of extreme weather, even a flood sweeping through the campus days after. But the turf experienced no damage due to its ability to absorb water. The rain only caused for the workers to have to refill the gravel and it lay even.
“We made a decision to limit some lines. So we will be doing some painting of lines during the season, particularly for lacrosse. The point of that is the fewer curved lines you have creates fewer seams which increases the durability,” says Mouw.