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Archive for September 2, 2021

Sept. 2, 2021 — The possible effects of Hurricane Ida on the start of the U.S. field hockey season

You’ve seen the pictures of major cities like New York and Philadelphia, with large swaths of area, roads, and infrastructure inundated with the rainfall associated with the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The rain fell in great amounts, from New Orleans through Appalachia to Pennsylvania through to New England. The greatest rainfall that we’ve seen is Flemington, N.J., with 11 inches of rain just yesterday. Similar totals have been reported from north of Baltimore through to the South Shore of Massachusetts.

With field hockey scheduled to start tomorrow in Pennsylvania and within the next week in most other states affected, you might think that the season may be affected by the storm and its aftermath. This might happen, depending on local policies as to whether to open schools which may have been water-damaged.

However, most of the infrastructure involved in sports across the path of Ida is likely to be less affected than their communities. That’s because many school districts, over the last 15 or so years, have invested in artificial grass or artificial turf. If you were to take a look at a live satellite map of central New Jersey, the football field at Hunterdon Central, the school in the town that took the most rain from Ida, is a bright green; the pitch would quickly. Go 20 miles east to Commerce Bank Park, the home of the Somerset Patriots baseball team, and the entire floor of the stadium would be under water.

Time was, you could count on one hand the number of schools which invested in an artificial competition surface. Today, that’s no longer the case. I’ll be surprised if yesterday’s rain has affected the start of the season to a significant degree, even if the rainfall was of a record amount.