July 2015

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 6 of 51 July 2015 | SportsTurf 7 Allen Johnson, CSFM. Direct Mail List Sales MeritDirect, Jim Scova Phone: (914) 368-1012 Subscription Services Phone: (847) 763-9565 Fax: (847) 763-9569 Reprints Robin Cooper Group Publisher David Voll Account Representatives: Chris Pelikan Senior Account Manager - East Phone: (954) 964-8676 Peggy Tupper Senior Account Manager - Mid-West Phone: (763) 383-4429 Leslie Palmer Senior Account Manager - West Phone: (248) 731-7596 SportsTurf (ISSN 1061-687X) (USPS 000-292) (Reg. U.S. Pat. & T.M. Off.) is published monthly by EPG Media & Specialty Information at 75 Pike Street, Port Jervis, NY 12271. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sportsturf, PO Box 2123, Skokie, IL 60076-7823. For subscription information and requests, call Subscription Services at (847) 763-9565. Subscription rates: 1 year, $40 US & Poss.; 2 years, $65 US & Poss.; 1 year, $65 Canada/Foreign Surface, 1 year, $130 Airmail. All sub- scriptions are payable in advance in US funds. Send payments to Sportsturf, PO Box 2123, Skokie, IL 60076- 7823. Phone: (847) 763-9565. Fax: (847) 763-9569. Single copies or back issues, $8 each US/Canada; $12 Foreign. Periodicals postage paid at Port Jervis, NY and additional mailing offices. COPYRIGHT 2015, SportsTurf. Material may not be reproduced or photocopied in any form with- out the written permission of the publisher. O f all the endeavors that sports field managers try to pursue, there is one word that tops them all. It is safety. Our ultimate goal is to provide an athletic surface that is safe for the interac- tion that will occur between it and the athletes. Our world has seen many improve- ments in the pursuit of safety. What was once considered the norm is no longer acceptable in many aspects of our lives. My son certainly has been able to get me to buckle up consistently, when as an adolescent driver I considered that …well, optional. It seems funny and sort of sad to me when he tells me that most of the play- ground games we used to play at recess are outlawed in the pursuit of safety. The pursuit of safety touches us every day in all aspects of our life. How many organizations have someone on their staff to help assess the workplace and try to make sure things are done as safely as pos- sible? Ask yourself this question: If your child needs some type of protective equip- ment for their sport of choice will you spend the extra money for the item that has a so-called "higher" safety rating? Why then, in our industry, is it so acceptable to think of the playing surface as an afterthought? Why do so many insti- tutions approach the playing surface with the mindset "as cheap as possible" rather than the "best and safest possible"? The way we think about our playing fields must change. Just as a football helmet affects the safety of an athlete, so does the surface. We must start the conversation with youth coaches, athletic directors, school admin- istrators, and school boards that the field surface cannot be viewed in the same fash- ion as the fence that surrounds it. It has a definite impact on the quality of the game and the safety of the athletes. How a community views a sports field needs to be at the front of the conversation rather than at the end. When viewed as an integral part of safety to the sport, the appropriate decisions can then be made as to how to best proceed when constructing new fields, renovating existing ones, or dedicating the proper resources for main- tenance. The professional sports field man- ager—members of the STMA—are uniquely positioned to add value to these discussions and offer insightful ideas about how to provide sports fields that achieve an adequate level of safety. While a stan- dard definition of what is a "safe" playing field may not completely exist today, it may possibly exist in the near future. In the meantime, the professional field manager certainly knows what isn't safe. It is why institutions that host sporting events from the youth level to the profes- sional ranks should invest in hiring a qualified sports field manager and sup- porting them with the proper resources to do their jobs. Only then will the field take its rightful place as part of the equation to improve safety. ■ ST PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE SAFETY MUST INCLUDE PLAYING SURFACES

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