By Gabriel Selbig
The track at Homer High is abominable. This is no secret. In recent years, twenty plus students signed up for the track team despite not having a meet at home. In fact, it is now illegal for any school-sponsored activity to take place on the rundown track. However, as students and staff alike have protested through the years, preparations for a new track this summer will be made. However, this answer to the hopes and dreams of many may spell doom for a team who’s made their name known.
They beat odds, won hearts, made history, and went to a state championship. One year later, and the Homer Mariners football team are likely to not host a home game according to district representatives and head coach, Cam Wyatt. A new track is long overdue, but in the process, the football field will have to be dug out and condemned throughout this coming season.
“A turf field would pay itself off in less than a decade”, said Coach Wyatt. He realizes the huge expense, but Wyatt also expects a new field to pay for itself by bettering the community. “There’s some bad thingsthat happen in this town, down at Bishop’s, behind McDonald’s, and in the bushes above Hornaday Park. A modern turf field would at least brighten the idea of playing sports for the school.” The interest and prestige of football and other sports would likely amplify. Thus, the curiosity of less desirable habits in town would likely dwindle.
With only weeks left before summer, and $800,000 gap is obstructing the vision of a new turf field. Realistic thinking is silencing any strong hope. Currently, there is $1.1 million on the Governor’s approval list. Enough for a track, but not for a field. After a district representative told Coach Wyatt the field project would “never” happen, he had to search for realistic alternatives. “The middle school field will probably have to do for practice, but not a chance for games. There’s no bleachers, no electricity for a scoreboard, and no bathrooms.”
“I do track in the spring but in preparation for football season.” declared Mark McGregor. “We got half the town to drive up to The Valley, and now we hear we might play our home games in Kenai.”
As rivals Kenai and SoHi celebrate new turf fields, the Mariners must weigh their options of a middle school home field or home games in a rival town. Which is the lesser of two evils?