Last Thursday morning, with rock and rap music playing in the background, the Munford High School football team was running through a two-hour summer workout.
And what a change it was from summer and spring workouts of the past with a new turf field in place.
Though it hasn’t rained much at all lately, Munford head coach Slade Calhoun recognizes how much more convenient everything is. The days of practicing on the old practice field down the hill seem like ancient history.
“If it rained on Sunday you couldn’t get on it until Thursday,” Calhoun said. “We had some serious rain a while back and it doesn’t even matter. You can get on it instantly. Normally, this time of morning your shoes are wet and the footballs are wet because of dew, but that’s not an issue anymore.”
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 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.
“It’s not 1987 Three Rivers Stadium,” Calhoun said, referring to the old-style turf used in a lot of pro stadiums in the 80s and 90s. “People talk about it all time. It’s not the indoor/outdoor carpet that’s on your mamaw’s back porch. You can lay and sleep on this stuff. It’s not your grandpa’s old Astro turf.”
And then there’s the money and manpower saved, which is just beginning but will continue to add up in the future. The coaching staff would have to spend multiple hours every week cutting the grass and painting the grass.
“Segment clocks (used to time practice sessions) cost about $3,000,” Calhoun said. “Ours quit last year. You’d have to use an extension cord and a generator. Now your scoreboard does it. We don’t have to paint anymore. We would spend thousands of dollars every year on paint. We don’t have to worry about that anymore. We have numbers, hashes, all that stuff. We can play music. It’s just so much better.”