It's not built.. AND THEY'RE
By Beau Poppen-Abajian
December 21, 2007
I've never before written on SitNews and have to be honest and
say I rarely keep up with Ketchikan happenings or discussions.
Back from college I thought it was appropriate to check on what
was being talked about and where better to go than here.
I want to put in some input on the turf field debate since it
was the one thing I always wanted in Ketchikan growing up and
always had to go without. In particular, I'd love to respond
to Mr. Johnson's comment about there being no need for a modern
field in Ketchikan.
1) Unfortunately, many things in Ketchikan have fallen behind
the times. The lack of an appropriate field for soccer, as well
as other outdoors sports, is one of them. For decades Ketchikan
has had both recreational and competitive soccer. Yes, Ketchikan
does have competitive soccer. It even competes with Juneau. To
me, saying that Ketchikan players shouldn't have an appropriate
field because they can't compete with soccer powerhouses like
Juneau is like saying the Great Alaska Shootout shouldn't take
place because AAU gets pounded by huge schools like Texas Tech.
If anyone is talking about soccer competition between Ketchikan
and Juneau I'm sure they know that Juneau's high school team
has been several times been ranked nationally, so I feel it's
hardly fair to compare the two programs.
2) I don't know how many hundreds of thousand dollar projects
has been funded by raffle tickets, but my guess is that it's
zero. A turf soccer field is not something that can be created
through car washes and pasta feeds. There has been an effort
on the parts of many avid soccer enthusiasts to get funding from
outside sources and as of yet it hasn't worked. There's a rumor
that there was a grant to build a soccer specific turf field
in Ketchikan that had to be declined because the Borough was
not willing to offer the space. No other sport is required to
pay for it's own playing field, why would it be any different
for soccer? High school soccer players, parents and coaches already
do numerous fundraisers year-long just to be able to afford to
travel to play games. As much work goes into playing games as
it does to getting there. No one complains. But, I think asking
kids to spend their entire lives fundraising to pay for a field
is a little excessive. Team spirit is a great concept, but let's
try and apply it to beating our opponents, like Juneau.
3) As a fan of all Ketchikan and Kayhi athletics, I don't like
to argue who is the best in their respective sport. The achievements
of last years softball team are impressive. I do struggle to
remember the last time any other Kayhi sport team- outside basketball-
won southeast... Yes, all the teams play on less than ideal fields.
The difference is that baseball and softball teams all over southeast
play on the same kind of fields. Juneau football and soccer play
their games on a great TURF field. I wonder if there's any correlation
with this and these teams dominating state, or if it's just their
large population? I suppose we'll never know until we have a
turf field for our young football and soccer stars.
4) Let's try and remember that there are more than just high
school competitive sports. Here, the Ketchikan must beat Juneau
idea becomes a little intense. As well as being for football,
track and field, events etc, the field is for recreational soccer
as well as competitive. There is no age requirement for a turf
field. I'm sure there's many long-time Ketchikan residents who
have been dying to try out soccer but have been too scared of
the bad wheel causing them to fall on gravel. Problem solved.
Kids leagues, adult leagues, summer tournaments and sack races
are all possible. A turf field is beautiful, but it also opens
up a whole new realm of possibilities.
The fact is, Juneau has a school three times our size with, presumably,
three times the number of athletes. Ketchikan struggles to provide
athletes for all its sports and the newest sports like football
and soccer just happen to get shorted (that doesn't stop the
soccer program from sending many numerous players on college
scholarship). Maybe a turf field will help tap into the talent
pool and inspire those couch potatoes to get involved without
them having to worry about getting three layers of skin torn
off by gravel. Soccer on gravel, what a concept.
Would you wait for a baseball team to get good before you give
them baseball gloves? Personally, I don't think that's the best
approach. But, if that's what must happen in order to get a turf
field, then I think it's time Ketchikan gets one. Soccer has
long since arrived in Ketchikan and regardless if it's at the
caliber to beat Juneau consistently, there are at least hundreds
of brave young people who are willing to go try their hardest,
rain or shine, gravel or turf. But, if they must lose, they'd
love to lose in style, on soft turf.
If you'd like to help the soccer team Mr. Johnson, or anyone
else, I believe they are currently selling coupon books at a
About: "Lifelong resident
of the great city of Ketchikan, now attending school out of state.
Former member of varsity x-country, basketball and soccer."
Received December 20, 2007
- Published December 21, 2007
you build it . . . . they won't come! By Billy Johnson
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