Synthetic turf temperatures get stupid hot on August afternoons

August 30, 2022

Billy Goat Gruff - I am not trolling the operators of the trash-sucking Billy Goat machines in Rehoboth at morning's first light. A decade ago, I listened to a city manager-type person yelling so loudly at the Billy Goat operator that I was going to intervene because it was a public setting and the collective ”we” didn’t need to hear it. On Sunday, it came full circle. The second Billy Goat Gruff shrouded by fog was sucking up trash at the Bandstand where the Seashore Striders had set up registration tables for the 13th annual Sun Festival 5K, an event that benefits CAMP Rehoboth. The operator got on Tim because nobody told him about the race, and Tim honestly didn’t know Billy Goat protocol; he figured permission from the town was good enough. “Snip, snap, snout. This tale is out.” - Norwegian folk tale, 1841. 

Theory of thermodynamics - I spent five hours on a late-August 95-degree day on synthetic turf taking photos where the sun is beating down and the hot air is rising up. I was fab fried Freddie last Friday; then when I read the air around synthetic turf can reach 160 degrees on a 90-degree day, I know why the next day my conscious mind was telling me, “Don’t go into the light.” I didn’t get this old being stupid, but in spite of it.

Food Lion factor - A major reason to play Division I sports is so when you go grocery shopping you can drop it on someone's head who doesn't know the difference between fettuccine and linguine, Uncle Ben and Gentle Ben, or Skippy and Jiffy. The non-revenue sports are so named because hardly anyone comes to watch them even when they are free. I was checking box score attendance figures after two games for Division I field hockey where Cape has sent players to Division I programs. The top attendance numbers were Duke (Reagan Ciabattoni) 538, Temple (Annie Judge) 473, Delaware (Noelle Sabbagh) 327, Appalachian State (Sam Connors) 278, Lock Haven (Sommer Dorman) 267, and Northwestern (Alia Marshall) 100. Last year's national championship game at Michigan featuring Northwestern versus Liberty attracted 1,500 fans. The semifinal Northwestern 2-1 win over Harvard had 1,000 fans. Cape averages about 200 for a medium game, maybe goes to 500 or 600 for a Delmar game and 700 for state championship game.

The Program - James Caan plays the role of head coach in the 1993 film “The Program.” In the movie, a highly touted freshman recruit goes down during the first practice after a vicious hit. The coach comes over and asks the player, “Are you hurt or are you injured?” The player looks confused, as many of them often do. The coach explains, “If you're hurt, you can still play, but if you're injured, you can’t.” In 2022, the cautious assumption is the player is injured until proven otherwise. Football guys are soul searchers; they look into the soul of the hurt or perhaps injured teammate and don’t trust fellow warriors who agreeably go to the bench and take the rest of the night off. When I limped off the field during a Temple game in 1965, a line coach asked, “Hey, Frederick, are you injured?” I answered, “Who am I, Ben Casey? Hire a team doctor.”

Snippets - High school games start for real this weekend. Most are some version of Ticket Spicket. Every online ticket goes to your phone. If I didn't have media credentials, I’d have to stay home. The Phillies baseball media gets too giddy too quickly talking about playoff noise for a team that hasn't been there in 10 years. Grandparents can text their college grandkids all they want, just claim crazy old coot syndrome, but parents need to back off and give kids some space. Playing a sport is easy compared to being dressed in uniform and not playing. The Eagles open the NFL season Sunday, Sept. 11, at Ford Field against the Detroit Lions. The 2022 power rankings have the Eagles at 15 and Detroit at 27. That is a gettable game, so go on now, git it!    


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