Stick with what works, keep the good old reliable grass field


Photo courtesy of @dawgssports on Instagram.

The WCHS field hockey team plays on their very on grass field which has grass that is very well manicured.

By Justin Greenzaid, Sports Editor

WCHS has made attempts multiple times to switch to a synthetic turf field in the stadium but for various reasons has never come through with the idea. Now, at least for the foreseeable future, it is looking as if WCHS will stick with the classic grass field. Although many people want WCHS to switch to a turf field because it is more “modern”, sticking with the grass field is the right call. 

Grass is just a classic; it has literally been here since the beginning of time. How could you not like grass? But really, grass fields are truly the best to play on for sports. There is nothing better than playing on a pure grass field and with the upkeep from the WCHS athletic department the field is always kept in pretty solid shape throughout the year although it may face some challenges here and there.

The most significant reason to keep a grass field is because it is much safer than turf. Grass provides a cushion that synthetic turf cannot come close to replicating. Turf fields cause many more injuries than grass fields do and even falling or sliding on grass vs. turf is much more comfortable as turf fields cause extremely painful burns and scrapes. In fact, a study done by the NFL Player’s Association showed that “players have a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf. Of those non-contact injuries, players have a 32 percent higher rate of non-contact knee injuries on turf and a staggering 69 percent higher rate of non-contact foot/ankle injuries on turf compared to grass.”

Many WCHS athletes have torn ACLs or sprained their ankles on the horrendous turf fields of BCC, Whitman and Richard Montgomery. In fact, Whitman has been fixing their turf field this entire spring sports season as it was deemed unsafe for use by the county, forcing all of their sports teams to be limited to away games. 

Athletes have to bring multiple pairs of shoes – cleats, sneakers, turf shoes, etc. – when traveling to away games at many Montgomery County Public Schools because they are not sure which soles will provide them with the best footing. This problem does not exist on grass fields as cleats are always the sophisticated choice and hold up superbly on grass fields with supreme traction. 

Not only do grass fields feel better but they look better. The MCPS schools with turf fields are much more unappealing than the WCHS grass field. For starters, the turf fields are not allowed to have logos on it so they are just strictly colorful lines for various sports. The WCHS field on the other hand has school logos on it and can be repainted to change designs. This is the same situation for the boundary lines. The turf fields have many different lines on the field because they are necessary for the various sports. The WCHS field is much cleaner as it only has the boundary lines for the sport that is in season which makes it much easier for the athletes to know what is in bounds. 

WCHS has been able to paint on many different logos throughout the past year. Usually there is a “WC” interlocking logo or a bulldog logo or even both but on occasion special graphics are painted. For October, there are pink ribbons painted on the field for Breast Cancer Awareness month. For homecoming, as this year’s theme was USA for the homecoming game, the 50 year line for the football game was painted as the USA flag. In the past, WCHS has honored the late Jake Cassell with a symbolic dedication to him on the field. 

The multitude of designs that can be put on the grass field truly enhances the experience when compared to that of a plain turf field. At the end of the day a field with no logo is essentially just anyone’s field. But when the WC logo is on the field it is undisputed that the field is home to the bulldogs. 

Another inconvenience to mention with turf fields are the small black pellets used on the fields. These small black pellets can be a true annoyance as they get inside of shoes, clothes, stick to bodies and can even cause cancer. Having to empty out a shoe that is full of turf every single time before and after playing can be exasperating. These black pellets also cause marks on shoes and cleats, turning them black as well. 

Overall, a traditional grass field is definitely a lot better for sports than synthetic turf. Turf fields have a lot of delusional hype around them because they are a newer innovation but at the end of the day grass fields reign supreme. They may be harder to maintain but the special care that goes into grass fields is what makes them even more special to play on.