Friday Football Fever: Preparing the arena


[lin_video src=×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1379301620&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4345294&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1379301620 type=script]HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT)- Friday night football is a picture perfect experience. The colors, the fans, and, of course, the field. That last one takes a little more effort than the latter two. “Week one, it’s the very start of everything,” said Jim Shields, grounds technician at Waldrop Stadium, home of the Homewood Patriots. “We have everything marked out on the field already. We go back and remeasure everything and get everything down, and get all of our lines down, which is the main part of it.”

Taking care of 100 yards worth of grass is no easy task. Shields says he and his crew mow the field up to three times a week during the season. The field can be a critical component of a games outcome he says, adding, “Having a safe and good playable field is crucial to the success of any team.” That doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play, however. After mowing the grass, it’s time to paint the midfield logo. Shields said, “Once you get out there and you start painting, it’s fun! You want to make it look good. You’re like, presenting this picture for all the fans up in the stands and you want it to look good.”

While football season gets the field more attention than normal, keeping the grass healthy is a year-round affair. Watering and weekly mowings fill the summer schedule, until the air gets a little crisper, and the familiar sounds of cleats on pavement fill the air. Shields describes that season with only three words. “It’s football time!”

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