Troy's Take: A Community Game-Changer
By: TROY CLARKSON, May 20, 2014
“I know what’s it’s like to perform under pressure-packed conditions in front of legions of screaming fans, at the 50-yard line (Insert dramatic pause)....In the band.”
That was one of my favorite lines from my years of campaigning and almost always drew a chuckle and a knowing smile from those in the audience who could identify with the pressure of performing in front of a packed house on the gridiron—on a team or in the band.
My experience in the marching band at Falmouth High School and later at Boston College, despite the fact that I typically played any tune that suited me and marched to my own choreography (no one noticed as long as I stayed in line), provided me with an appreciation for the importance of having a quality surface on which to play—and perform.
The local effort, represented by Question 3 on Tuesday’s ballot, to have a safe, modern, and durable playing surface—for our community and for a generation—is an opportunity to provide just that. For the last couple of years, the community athletic field advisory committee, a volunteer committee led by tireless and stellar uber-volunteer Karen L. Bissonnette, has spent many hours planning the details and sharing the information of the benefits of the proposal to relocate the game-day playing surface from Guv Fuller Field on Main Street to a new, updated facility near Falmouth High School.
The advantages to this plan are numerous. The construction of a new, synthetic turf field, usable for a wide variety of teams, including soccer, football, field hockey, lacrosse, and, of course, the band, will provide an updated venue, more centrally located (Falmouth High School is literally in the geographic center of town), and a much-needed rest for the overstrained Fuller Field. It will also allow our hometown baseball team, the Falmouth Commodores, to invest in Fuller to make it a more permanent baseball venue. It will give other venues in town a chance to rejuvenate, a challenge with today’s near year-round schedule of organized sports. This is truly a win-win for our community. Several years ago, the voters made their voices clear, offering in a clear majority a mandate in a non-binding question on moving the field from Main Street to Falmouth High. I am a traditionalist and a lover of our history and local color. This idea, however, honors the past by keeping Fuller Field an active venue while looking toward the future by having a modernized facility at FHS.
Thanks to the generosity and community commitment of the Falmouth Road Race and a list of contributors that reads like a who’s who of Falmouth disciples of Larry the Cable Guy, who just seem to know how to “git ‘er done,” the cost of the project has been reduced significantly. The Falmouth Road Race has offered a $500,000 grant, some of which has already been used on the design. Familiar faces, like last year’s citizen of the year Mike Duffany, the electrifying Joe Martinho, construction consultant and savior of the Falmouth High project Pat Callahan, legendary field hockey coach Janey Norton, and the renowned Jim Kalperis, have been joined by a dedicated committee of Falmouthites who have pledged, prodded, and cajoled other volunteers and benefactors to bring the total project cost from more than $2.8 million down to a doable $1.6 million.
They have secured more than a million dollars in gifts of cash donations and services, a Herculean grassroots effort that has had a direct and discernible positive impact on each and every taxpayer. Smart financial planning by the committee has resulted in a one-time expense of roughly $60 per household—a reasonable contribution for a game-changer of a proposition.
In my youth, organized sports meant drawing bases on the street in our Fisherman’s Cove neighborhood for a game of kickball or a handful of us walking down to East Falmouth School for a pickup game of baseball. Today, the nature of youth and community athletics has changed. We now have a chance to have our premier venue change as well—while taking advantage of a million reasons to support it now.
Let’s join Karen, Mike, Joe, Pat, Janey and Kalpy in looking forward and supporting this game-changer. Vote Yes on Question 3.