SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Fawn Mountain Track and Field
By Miguel Torres


April 05, 2010

I remember arriving in Ketchikan during the summer 0f '06 and looking forward to the upcoming Kayhi football season. Having lived in Texas for many years and enjoying quite a few Friday night football games, I inquired into the Ketchikan football tradition. I was referred to Blaine Ashcraft, high school football and commissioner to the Ketchikan football youth league.

I found Blaine to be passionate about the football he was involved with and asked him to help me put on a pep rally at the Plaza Mall for the opening game of the season. Little did I know that football was not as popular in Ketchikan as basketball, baseball or soccer. I recalled looking for cheerleaders and a pep band to perform during the pep rally, but was told that the season began before school started so there were no cheerleaders or band members available to support the team. I found that odd but continued on with our pep rally.

Only around 10 - 15 people showed up for the pep rally, but they enjoyed hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy and met our Kayhi football squad along with the visiting team from Sitka. An avid football fan did win a pair of tickets to a Seattle Seahawk game compliments of GCI. Blaine proudly showed up at the Mall with his team. I admired him that day for that and saw in him a caring and loving supporter of these kids.

Two weeks later I was introduced to Walker Field. I remember asking where was the grass and did the kids really play on that gravel field. Of course, this question was asked while I stood in a heavy downpour and it was then that I knew that Ketchikan kids had to be the bravest yet craziest kids I had ever met. Blaine just smiled at me and chuckled.

Weeks went by and I came to the games to cheer on Kayhi, although the scores were not in our favor. I had many conversations with Blaine about Ketchikan and our field. Of course, I naively said, "Would be nice to have some grass on that field!" This was followed by "Would be nice to have a bridge over that water!"

As I became Blaine's friend, I was made aware of the challenges he faced as head coach and commissioner. However, he was always enthusiastic about the possibility of Ketchikan having a turf field. When it was announced that Barrow received a new turf field, Blaine kept saying to me, "Just wait and see, we are working on a few things"

Today, I watched my son run in his first high school meet at the Fawn Mountain Track and Field. As I walked on that turf, I had a flashback to the first time I met Blaine Ashcraft. I felt proud knowing that he was one of many local residents that believed in the dream of Ketchikan getting a turf field. I looked around at all the people on that field today - the cheers of the fans, the smiles of the participants and I could feel the joy that our city will now experience when our children join football, soccer, track and know that we have a first class facility. "Would be nice to have a roof over our heads" I thought, but that's for another day.

Thank you, Blaine, Robin and the entire Ashcraft family, for your support of football in Ketchikan. Thank you for continuously promoting a turf field to our legislators in your capacity as Executive Director of our Chamber of Commerce. Finally, thank you for always saying yes to those in need and for the love you show for the youth of Ketchikan.

Miguel Torres
Ketchikan, AK

About: "A proud father, a football fan and Ketchikan resident."

Received April 03, 2010 - Published April 05, 2010


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