I have an issue with artificial turf on Burgess Field.
"What?!" I hear you saying, with multiple question marks and exclamation points and odd use of italics. "Isn't Geneva Patch the site that encouraged all those votes and ran check-passing photos and video arguments in favor of the turf field?"
Yes. Yes we did.
But my gripe isn't with the dollars and sense of artificial turf. It is with the prospects for Geneva Viking football.
"Yikes!!" I hear you saying. "Are you off your nut, Nagel?"
Yes. Yes, I am.
First off, I'm a little nutty because no one is supposed to say "football" in connection with the field turf, because that's too easy a target for opponents. "Mighty football rules all in Geneva," the conventional wisdom says, but I don't think that's the story here.
Yes, football is the money-maker, but the "dollars and sense" reference above—in my opinion—holds true. Synthetic turf is a good idea, and it is as valuable—possibly even more so—for the band, the soccer team, Geneva PE classes, a million-and-one Park District opportunities and for Geneva taxpayers, as it is for Viking football.
And, arguably, less so for football.
In the past two years, Geneva football's record on artificial turf is abominable.
You can count on six fingers the number of Geneva varsity football losses in the past two years. Geneva's record was 8-3 in 2010 and 7-3 in 2011.
Guess how many of those six losses were on artificial surfaces. I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's five. Geneva lost at , and in 2010—all synthetic turf stadiums. The Vikings lost to at Burgess Field, plus on synthetic tracks at and in 2011.
The truth is, the sloppy, quirky, funky Burgess field was more often than not a friend to our Vikings. There were weird (but familiar) bounces, deceptively slippery spots (which players and coaches knew to avoid) and a good chance for at least one mud-fest a year (which generally doesn't hurt when you have a bunch of 300-pound linemen.)
Yes, was a sloppy place to play, but it was our sloppy place to play, and it provided a sort of homefield advantage we're less likely to see come fall.