8 Essays: A Case Against Artificial Turf in Geneva

Yes, Geneva Patch gave a lot of positive pixels to the Burgess Field turf issue, but there is one argument against it that hasn't been brought up—until now.

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.

Here's why.

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.

Jan July 09, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Bob: I agree. As any business owner in the downtown will reiterate, people are destination oriented today. They go where they are going in the car, and then drive back home. Extracurricular shopping or dining, unlike school sports, does not happen. Anyone who makes the argument that visiting sports teams bring spending consumers to the business district needs a reality check.
Cindy Rittenberry July 11, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Can I point out that people should quit using the word "fieldturf" to described artifical fields. Fieldturf is a manufacturer who monopolize the market because people tend to think they are the only company who does artificial turf. In fact, I do not even think that Geneva put their field out to bid, and would only entertain "fieldturf" as a possible product. Wouldn't we all like in our business to be "given" contracts just based on our names!! I liken it to Kleenex, and when you need a tissue, you automatically refer to it as "kleenex" which again is a manufacturer that is being promoted not just a product. I have alot of family paying taxes in Geneva, and would have loved the opportunity to show the School Board and taxpayers an alternatitive product that could of been used for a lower cost, higher quality product than the "fieldturf" field that was installed.
Katie Rose July 11, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I would just like to say that I go to Geneva High School and I felt that most students did not want turf. Many students and clubs were offended because it is so clearly obvious that the turf is for the football players. Other sports, students, and clubs were not taken into consideration.
Lily October 18, 2012 at 04:55 AM
I feel that the new turf, costing about $1.1 million, and as money saving as it will be in the future was used in the wrong way. It does shows that Geneva can pull together and create fundraisers for what they support, but can I add that millions of children live in poverty and the positive impact that money could have made if not wasted on a artificial turf? Next time Geneva, lets look at the bigger picture of the needy and donate the money to a better and more worth while cause.
Marc Nickels June 13, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Father Ryan sues companies over alleged defective synthetic turf on football field http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/father-ryan-sues-companies-over-alleged-defective-synthetic-turf-football-field


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