What are the holidays without a Christmas list?
I’ve created a little “Dear Santa” wish list for some local prep sports programs who could use some seasonal cheer.
Let’s start with playing surfaces. Seems like a crucial one, right? Well, two North Bay League schools still don’t have all-weather fields: Maria Carrillo and Ukiah.
This has long been significant but was made even more so when the NBL moved boys’ soccer to the winter this season. The Sonoma County League will follow suit next winter and still we have two teams expected to practice and host games on fields that will look like war zones come January.
When I spoke with longtime Ukiah High athletic director Ty Yanez recently, he was pretty blunt: There are no funds.
Yanez has been at Ukiah since 1984 and an all-weather field has been on his Christmas list since then. But somewhere along the way, the new track the Wildcats got a little more than a year ago got the top priority and an all-weather field was shuffled down the list.
At Carrillo, the natural grass field gets used by football and girls soccer in the fall and boys soccer in the winter. Clearly, the ultra-successful girls soccer program has made it work on that surface, but it does seem a little strange that it’s the one Santa Rosa City Schools high school campus without an all-weather field.
Also on the list, a bit of field maintenance love for Elsie Allen’s baseball diamond.
Remember the images from last spring of felled outfield fencing, of shredded and fluttering windscreens and lumpy weed patches that marred the base paths?
The Lobos last January launched a GoFundMe campaign to get some of the issues remedied, but my guess is that work like what is needed on the Elsie Allen campus could use both a steady stream of money and regular sweat equity. The funding campaign netted $3,665 but has stalled out before the goal of $5,000. That’s where Santa could help.
Spring is also when lacrosse is played around these parts. But readers will remember that lacrosse is only played at a handful of schools right now and a campaign to launch teams at Maria Carrillo and Montgomery high schools has hit a bit of a stall.
I argued in this column that lacrosse should not be played at any Santa Rosa City Schools high school until it can be played at all five comprehensive high schools. Lacrosse fans called me a Grinch.
But Santa could save the day. If he comes up with funds for Piner, Santa Rosa and Elsie to have teams, we’re a go for a robust North Bay League with the new five schools joining the likes of Windsor and Rancho Cotate that launched school teams in the last year.
I’m guessing Santa is high on equity and would be cool with this idea.
Speaking of equity, it sure is dark on Fulton Road.
A band of hearty Prospectors backers has been working harder than elves on Christmas Eve to get athletic lights installed at Piner High for years. It’s been an uphill push. Not only is it a ton of money for a school at which more than 60 percent of students meet the federal definition of poor, but the figure backers need to reach has been a moving target.