By Jazmine Remache ’17
Midwood field may be closed this spring to repair the bleachers. Many teams rely on this field to hold their practices and home games. Lacrosse, track, and flag-football teams will have to look elsewhere if it gets decided that the field will be closed. The Athletic Department, administration, and Department of Education will have the final word on this matter. It is currently being discussed by the DOE as they need to consider funding and several other matters.
Since mid-October, entry to the field’s bleachers and everything below them has been prohibited due to the safety hazards it possesses. There was a problem with the structural integrity of the stands which marked the bleachers as unsafe and had to be closed (find out more in the November 2015 Argus issue: Bleachers, Locker Rooms at Midwood Field Closed Down).
Student-athletes have lost access to the locker rooms and bathrooms. Coaches are unable to retrieve sports equipment from the storage space. Fans no longer have the bleachers the watch home games and support Midwood Hornets.
The administration is considering several options on how to deal with this dilemma. If it is decided that field will be closed, facilities would have to be rented for every assigned home game. One possible facility would be the Aviator Sports and Events Center. However, it may not be accessible for every date that a home game takes place since their facility are also being rented to other schools. This situation has occurred in before when the field was under renovation in 2013.
“My freshman year, a similar incident occurred. Practices were often held at marine park, which is quite a distance from the Midwood,” recalls Omer Omer ’16 of the Boys’ Lacrosse team.
They may also be able to hold their “home” games at the opponent’s field only if it is available at that date. Teams will have to look to gym spaces or other public parks to hold their practices. However, there will be competition to acquire practicing space since several teams will be needing it. Access to public park fields with turf have been denied. Practicing on turf is essential for teams since it’s what games are played on. This will have a negative impact on the teams performances this season.
Student-athletes would have to travel an extra mile for their practices and home games. Closing the field would be an inconvenience for many of our student-athletes.
“If the field closes, our team will be put at a disadvantage,” said Briana Casimir ’17 of Girls’ Track team. “There aren’t many outdoor facilities that we will be able to use. We will have to compromise.”
Sabrina Gorodetsky ’17 of the Girls’ Lacrosse team said, “Not having a home field would mean longer travel time, carrying our heavy duffel bags, and only a few spectators who will be willing to travel for our games.”
Evan Burgos ’17 said, “It’s really unfortunate. Longer travel time means less time to focus on school. My friends and family can no longer support me and my team which is a huge hit to an athlete’s confidence.”
Brandon Tingle, former member of the Boys’ Track team said, “This will prohibit the team from preparing well for the outdoor season. Being on the track team takes a lot of dedication and transportation to go to meets.”
A more beneficial option is keeping the field open. Despite having the bleachers closed, the field remains accessible. Therefore, portable bathrooms and changing areas will have to be provided for the teams. Spectators will be able to view the games from E17 Street behind the fences.
“We hope our voice and concerns are heard,” says Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse Coach Michael Giordano. “It is particularly concerning because Seniors and underclassmen alike, create a bond, routine and memories on Midwood Field”
Being their last year in Midwood, seniors may not be able enjoy this year by playing on our home field.
“As a senior, possibly not having any games to play on our home turf would be frustrating,” said Omer. “Although it’s upsetting that I might not finish my senior year on the field I’ve been playing on for seemingly forever and at the end of the day, I know that playing alongside my teammates one last time will be meaningful no matter where we play.”
The field has not only served as a place for athletes to improve their skills but also for them to create bonds with one another.
Many still remain hopeful that the administration allows the field to remain open.