Steve Jobs, the late entrepreneur, inventor and co-founder of Apple, once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.”
As I thought about what I wanted to say regarding SportsField Management’s 10th anniversary of publishing our first issue in March 2006, I came across this quote and it really hit home. Obviously, Steve Jobs knew what he was talking about. No matter what profession you’re in, doing great work should always be the goal. I’m sure that’s your goal as you head out to your field, or fields, each morning. I can tell you that’s our goal as editors and writers of this magazine – to do great work in providing you with content that informs and educates you month after month, year after year, issue after issue.
We aim to advance the athletic field maintenance industry by providing relevant content – in print and online – to you, the field caretakers of professional, collegiate, high school and municipal fields.
We’re here for you and we’re here because of you. How else would we have made it a whole decade?
This magazine has come a long way since that first issue. In the 10 years between that first issue and now, a lot has changed in these pages.
But what hasn’t changed is our commitment to you, our audience.
Consider this, a letter written to our readers by SFM’s first editor, David G. Cassidy, in our first issue in March 2006: “We have a lot of respect for you folks here, which is one of the reasons we’re so happy and excited to be bringing you this new magazine. We hope to bring you information that will help you be better at what you do. Whether it’s teaching the basics to a high school grounds manager who just found out he will now be responsible for the athletic fields … or sharing the latest research and methods among the professional stadium managers, we hope to bring you information you can use.”
Ten years later, we still stand firm on those principles mentioned in this letter.
I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each and every one of you, whether you’ve been reading SportsField Management for 10 years, or this is your first issue. Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting us and, as always, thank you for your feedback. All of it means the world to us and has allowed us to keep going strong for a decade, hopefully getting better with each year and each issue!
Getting better all the time doesn’t just apply to our print magazine. We know the world is going digital, so we’re constantly improving and updating our website, to make it easier and easier for you to access us wherever you may be, on your phone, tablet or computer screen. We’ve also been working hard on increasing our social media footprint. You can follow us on Facebook or on Twitter.
So here’s to many more years of providing athletic field care pros top-notch educational content, professional insight and product information to help maintain the best-looking, safest and playable fields possible.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this journey – I can’t wait to see where we’ll go from here.
Recalling a Conversation with Dave Mellow
In our first issue in March 2006, we did a Q&A with Dave Mellor, head groundskeeper at Fenway Park. One of the questions asked was, “How do you see the sports turf manager’s job changing in the future?” Mellor’s response is below — how accurate was he?
“Education and experience combined opens up many doors. I see great opportunities for right now and even greater opportunities in the future. We’re fortunate in having the ability to tap into the technology that has been developed within the golf and lawn and garden industries, and to have growing research that is sports field focused.
Sports field managers wear many different hats, and the need to do so will increase. Much of my time is spent on communication — in meetings and in record keeping and reporting. As we gain more respect for our profession, we’ll see the owners and administrators at all levels more willing to make the investment in quality people and supply them with the proper budgets, equipment and labor resources necessary to achieve their goals.
We need to take the initiative in educating and training ourselves, to never stop learning. I’ve learned so much from all those I’ve worked with over the years. I look forward to working with our interns each year, sharing what I know and learning from them at the same time. I believe it’s our responsibility to maintain the networking and mentoring that provide the open exchange of ideas and information that makes us all better at what we do.”
Ten Years Ago, This Month
SportsField Management’s first issue was published in March 2006 … also the same month and year as the inaugural World Baseball Classic, the tournament between national baseball teams from around the world. The outdoor fields that hosted games were:
Chase Field (Phoenix, Arizona); Scottsdale Stadium (Scottsdale, Arizona); Hiram Bithorn Stadium (San Juan, Puerto Rico); Cracker Jack Stadium (Lake Buena Vista, Florida); Angel Stadium (Anaheim, California); and Petco Park (San Diego, California).
How has the Industry Changed During the Last Decade?
Almost every industry goes through significant and major changes in a decade, and the sports field maintenance industry is no different. Many advancements and changes have occurred in this industry since back in 2006. For example: product enhancements and technologies, new and more efficient maintenance practices and new field safety research — these are just the tip of the iceberg. To get a better idea of some of these changes, we wanted the perspective of an experienced field manager. We asked Chris “Butter” Ball, director of sports turf management for the Gwinnett Braves (Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves), “What are some of the ways the industry has changed over the last 10 years?” This is what he had to say on the subject:
“We’ve seen many changes in the sports turf industry in the last 10 years. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen has been the massive amount of networking and information sharing that we see via social media. These social media outlets have been a very powerful communication tool that sports turf managers are using together. For many of us, sites like Twitter have been valuable in sharing ideas, thoughts, maintenance practices, problems or issues, and sometimes complaints. Personally, I think it’s a great way to stay in touch and communicate with our industry partners all across the globe.
Also, there have been so many different technological advances in fertilizers, chemicals, and control products that we use in our maintenance programs day-in and day-out. The relationships with our vendor partners have become so very important these last 10 to 15 years. These individuals are able to share their knowledge of the products they represent with us each day, week and month. Through these advances, we’re all getting better quality products and better quality of our turf, along with keeping our expenses in check and using products safer for our communities and facilities.”
Looking Back at the 2006 Sports Turf Managers Association ‘Field of the Year’ Award Winners
* Field managers listed were at these facilities in 2006,
- Professional: Blair County Ballpark (now Peoples Natural Gas Field; Altoona, Pennsylvania); Patrick Coakley
- Schools and Parks: Gaebelein Field (Norcross, Georgia); John DeWitt
- Professional: Marie P. DeBartolo Sports Centr (Santa Clara, California); Rich Genoff
- College and University: Greentree Football Facility (University of Miami); Chris Denson
- Schools and Parks: Raider Stadium at Atlee High School (Mechanicsville, Virginia); Marc Moran
- Professional: None awarded
- College and University: Jeffrey Field (Penn State University); Robert Hudzik
- Schools and Parks: Greene Field, Noble and Greenough School (Dedham, Massachusetts); Peter Thibeault
- Professional: None awarded
- College and University: Cyrill Softball Stadium(University of South Carolina Upstate); Bruce Suddeth
- Schools and Parks: Mizuno Field Eastside Center (East Peoria, Illinois); Doug McCarty
Celebrate With Us Online
Be sure to check us out on the Web at SportsFieldManagementMagazine.com as we’ll frequently dig into our archives to dust off interesting articles from past issues.
We’ll post these archival releases — along with other related items about our 10th anniversary — on Facebook and Twitter (@SFM_Magazine) using #SFMTurns10.