You can hear the excitement in the voice of Covington head football coach J.R. Kirby when you ask him about his brand new turf field.
“Huge,” he said Tuesday morning when asked about how big of a deal the new turf field is. “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but in the past I would cut the grass at midnight or 2 or 3 in the morning sometimes when it was going to rain.”
Those days are over.
“Last week there was a big storm and we were right back on the field the next morning. It’s great.”
There is still some maintenance required, but not a lot. He “swept” the field on Monday after spring practice ended over the weekend with a scrimmage vs. Crockett County. Sweeping involves using a golf cart to pull a device that picks up trash and extra “CoolPlay,” which are small green rubber particles that provide traction and keep the surface cool.
Kirby said their field, as well as the ones at Brighton and Munford high schools, are just like ones used by multiple NFL and high-level college teams.
“The fields our kids, and the kids at Brigton and Munford, play on … There aren’t any better fields anywhere.”
There was some pushback when the board approved the $3.8 million project last year to install turf at the three county high schools. Facebook posters expressed concern about injuries on turf and the cost. The funding came from the school system’s fund balance and not federal relief funds, which was incorrectly reported by The Leader.
The facts are that the turf fields that are installed these days are exponentially better than turf fields of the past and grass fields will soon be a relic of the past. Dozens of schools around West Tennessee and across the state have installed turf or are working on doing it.
“I’ve seen comments on Facebook about injuries,” Kirby said. “Injuries will happen but it’s not because of the turf. It’s like walking on air.”
Kirby said every Covington junior varsity game this year will be on turf and six of the 10 regular season varsity games will be also.
“The kids love it. The soccer team, track team and cheerleaders have been on it,” Kirby said. “There are endless possibilities.”