Thursday, September 27, 2007
Home at last
Following up on my column from two weeks ago, the Holly Springs Hawks will finally be “home sweet home” this Friday night.
“It’s definite,” a happy coach Clifford Brown told me Monday afternoon.
The Hawks are 1-3, all four games on the road. The first home game is great news - particularly for the players. No doubt they’re road weary. And this week they finally get to experience the excitement of taking the field at home.
Hopefully this long-awaited game, which is also homecoming, will help turn the Hawks’ season in the right direction. Momentum is what they need. As I wrote back on September 12, this team deserves this community’s support. A big home crowd this Friday would be a big boost for the Hawks.
The Holly Springs field situation was a topic on the sideline last week when Holly High played at North Panola. Walking onto the field at Sardis made me wonder whether or not the Hawks really got a fair shake.
As you know by now, scheduled home games to start the season versus Lafayette and Water Valley were changed to away contests.
That’s because Mississippi High School Activities Association representatives deemed the field unplayable because vandals used a vehicle or vehicles to put ruts in it.
I agree, the playing surface was not good. I walked it, because I wanted to see for myself. But, the MHSAA may need to start inspecting all fields.
If the Holly Springs field couldn’t be played on, neither should North Panola’s. I think it was worse than the one I walked across a few weeks ago at Sam Coopwood Park.
At least one of last week’s game officials confirmed the dangerous field conditions at North Panola High School.
He said he was worried about possible injury while running across the high grass and scattered ruts.
Then suddenly rethinking all of this, I’ve about decided - bottom line - let them play.
I mean I watched a National Football League game a week or so ago from Miami - where the football Dolphins and the baseball Florida Marlins play in the same venue this time of year.
The football teams had to deal with the dirt infield mixed in with the outfield and infield grass.
And growing up, we played football, tackle and tag, without pads, on some rough terrain. We didn’t care. We had a homemade basketball backboard nailed to a tree, too, in a gravel driveway.
I know it’s too late to get those Holly High home games back, and they actually won one of the two. But perhaps the MHSAA needs to take a look at its procedure and guidelines for taking away a school’s home football games.
And maybe it should consider allowing a public school team to play in a private school’s stadium in the same city, if for any reason a game must be moved.
And as far as Sam Coopwood Park, I really think the city should consider turning it over to the school district (if it wants it) and building a new complex for kids elsewhere. Either way, Sam Coopwood Park needs more improvements. We’re slipping when it comes to providing the best in recreational facilities. Other nearby communities are far ahead. And thus they’re in better shape for economic growth.
Holly Springs High School should have its own football field - maintain it and continue to upgrade it - for example, more and better seating and a new, nicer, bigger pressbox. And the Hawks should get back in the baseball business, too, and resurrect the field at Sam Coopwood Park. And the Lady Hawks need to field a softball team and utilize the present park.
I know most of these thoughts have nothing to do with the nuts who damaged the football field.
And most importantly, this 2007 group of hard-working Hawks get to stay home this Friday. They deserve it.
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