(With more than 55 years as an athlete, coach, official, parent and spectator, I’ve gained some insights and perspectives regarding athletics. In this weekly column, I share what I’ve learned about sports from these multiple points of view.)
The athletic facilities at Siuslaw High School are some of the best in the state. The school district takes pride in providing safe viewing for the spectators.
Coaches know their fields and courts will be ready on game day. I have been to hundreds of schools and very few measure up to the Siuslaw School District sports complex.
I was the head football coach at Spray High School in 1975. Our football field was an all dirt rodeo arena.
My PE students picked up rocks from the field the first week of school.
The custodian and I lined the field each game day.
The county water trunk watered the field before and at halftime of each game to cut down on the dust.
I knew we had a home field advantage as visiting players pointed to the field and would say, “We are playing on that?”
Most schools had regulation football fields. However, Long Creek High school played on a farmer’s field cut short. We arrived and saw people removing cow pies from the field.
The uneven ground definitely affected our players’ ability to run smoothly.
During my first years at Siuslaw, we played at Myrtle Point. In their end zone was a giant Myrtlewood tree that overlapped into the right end zone. Running pass plays into that end zone needed caution.
With those experiences in mind, I’m proud to say members of the Florence community are fortunate to have excellent athletic complexes for their daughters and sons to experience.