Junious Smith: Stop messing with the playing fields
Seriously, vandalism isn’t cool.
So, Monday I was following my usual procrastination ritual of scrolling through social media when I caught a video from North Lenoir football coach Jim Collins, who was upset about the Hawks’ practice field, which had been recently defiled by tire tracks. During the 80-second Twitter video, Collins was distraught about the damage, asking whoever did it to stop and talking about how his players — student-athletes who dedicate themselves toward a football program North Lenoir can be proud of — needed a safe place to practice.
If you don’t wholeheartedly agree with this, there’s something wrong with you.
It didn’t matter which school this was, what location or anything — there’s too much preparation that goes into the preservation of a field in order to keep it ready. This isn’t artificial grass here — crews take the time to cultivate it and make sure it looks great on Game Day — devoid of divots, dips and anything unsightly. Numerous teams across the area take pride in their fields and going to the games, it shows in their work.
Unsung heroes indeed.
Anyone attempting to make an argument will ask “it’s the practice field, so what’s the big deal?” Well, it’s the equivalent of putting a virus on your work computer and forcing a lot of time and effort toward fixing the problem. Eventually, it will get handled, but the hassle was far from worth it and in some cases the damage could be reprehensible. For example, if a player was to get hurt in practice because of an awkward cut on the damaged field and miss games on Fridays, then what?
What I appreciate the most from this video is Coach Collins’ demeanor. He could’ve easily gone on a rant (which would’ve been justified) but he placed the focus toward what North Lenoir is trying to accomplish. The man genuinely cares about his players and I believe he will do great things following in the footsteps of Kim Brown, who helped guide the Hawks to two of the best seasons in a long time in 2016 and 2017.
Whether the vandals were in-house, rivals or just random individuals, respect the playing field. Let's have a safe 2018 football season, which includes keeping the fields in proper condition.