Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fake turf watered as supplies dry up

Hockey fields need soaking, officials say; Duke coach: We conserve at home

It's not even real grass.

But in the midst of what may be the worst drought ever in North Carolina, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are watering the synthetic turfs used by their field hockey teams.

The International Hockey Federation insists.

The universities are not breaking any rules. But like clockwork, as residents in Durham and Chapel Hill see their plants and lawns wither, the sprinklers go on at the UNC-CH Francis E. Henry Stadium and at Duke's Williams Field.

Brad Schnurr, a Chapel Hill contractor who does work in Durham, saw the sprinklers go on one afternoon recently at Duke and drove around the block to make sure he was not seeing things.

"Sprinklers aren't even the right term, they're like fire hoses," Schnurr said. "I was like, 'What is that? What is that?' I couldn't believe it."

The International Hockey Federation requires the college teams to saturate the synthetic turfs before each practice and all games.

It's not just the way the ball bounces, athletics officials say, although field hockey balls do bounce better on saturated fields. When the turf is wet, coaches add, field hockey players have better grip on the surface and report fewer injuries.

Beth Bozman, Duke's field hockey coach, said she understood why passers-by could get all worked up over sprinklers going full blast amid conservation pleas.

"I drive a hybrid, and I recycle," Bozman said. "I'm as green as anybody. I understand."

Whew. Had me on pins and needles there, but that makes it okay then. And for real now, who in their right mind would want a tussle with the (cue scary music) International Field Hockey Association?

It sorta figures doesn't it. Duke being so liberal and so weepy and so politically correct when it comes to other peoples behavior.

No comments: