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The real faces of synthetic turf

March 23, 2009  - By

By: Rick Doyle, Synthetic Turf Council

Synthetic turf is about more than a versatile playing surface. For the people who use it every day, synthetic turf creates opportunities, helps sports teams improve, enables student athletes to win scholarships by honing their games and brings communities together.  Over the past few months, a number of individuals have reached out to share their stories with us. Now, we are making that information available to the public with two initiatives.

Share the experience firsthand
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then our new “Creating Fields of Dreams” video is a novel about the benefits of synthetic turf. Featuring the compelling stories of end users nationwide, the piece highlights key factors such as the positive environmental impact, increased playability, improved team performance, safety, cost effectiveness, convenience and more. Like Lockland Schools in Ohio, where community pride soared with the installation of their playing field, or Forsyth County Schools in Georgia, who saved thousands gallons of water in a drought stricken area. The video will be posted soon on the STC Web site at

The stories behind the schools
Through the end of March, the STC is conducting our Search for the Real Field of Dreams. High schools from across the country are submitting their stories about the positive impact a synthetic turf field has made on their school, its students and the community.

We’ve received some outstanding entries. Take, for example, Colerain High School in Cincinnati, OH. This public high school was, and still is, struggling financially, but they were determined to get a synthetic turf field so they could provide a reliable and safe playing surface to their athletes, students and the community year round. They raised money for their field through phone calls, letters and “sales pitches” to anyone who would listen.

Colerain High installed the field in 2004, and their football team won the state title that very year, going 15-0. Since the field was installed, the team has not lost a single home game. This year, they paid off the field without using any taxpayer dollars or any major contribution from a foundation or corporation.

Then there is Moses Brown High School in Providence, RI. With little space to add extra fields, their grass field was used by four football teams (for practices and games), eight lacrosse teams and lower school recess every day. The field never had a chance to rest, and subsequently could not grow grass. The crown of the field was so high because of endless adding of material to help grass grow that, when standing on the sideline, they couldn’t see the lower legs of their opponents.

After installing synthetic turf in 2007, all of that changed. The lower school now has a clean and safe recess area — and the teams that play on the turf have won three state championships and two division titles. The school has also reduced water use on their fields by more than 700,000 gallons per year

If you know of a field that has helped a team go from worst to first, brought an entire community together, or had another kind of major impact, encourage them to enter — or nominate the school yourself — at before March 31. The grand-prize winner will receive $2,500 for its school’s athletic department.  Second place will be awarded $500, and eight national finalists will receive $250 each.

We hope you enjoy seeing the real faces of synthetic turf, and look forward to sharing with you the story of the winning field in the April issue.

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