Rallying to save stadium

Stadium Field – even in its current under-construction condition -was a whirlwind of activity on Saturday.

It was media day for the Parkersburg High School football team, which will use the next two Saturdays to conduct their preseason scrimmages before the regular season opener against Warren, which has been moved to Saturday, Aug. 31, at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta.

Meanwhile, the PHS?soccer programs were busy with their annual ice cream social, a major fundraiser for those highly-successful programs.

It made me realize just how important that facility is not only to the school on whose campus it is located, but to the entire community.

As President George W. Bush said when he made a campaign stop there, “You people must take your sports seriously.”

Yes, Mr. President, we do. We take pride in our community. In the fact it was the national runnerup for TitleTown U.S.A. In the 200 state high school championships our three schools have won. In trying to provide our youths with opportunities and facilities that will keep them here so they can carry on all the traditions that define our town.

Stadium Field is more than a stadium and more than a field. It’s a community gathering place and a source of community pride.

There was no doubt when the stadium fell into such disrepair that its bleachers were closed that our can-do community spirit would surface and we would rally to save an iconic facility.

All indications are that is going to happen. PHS?supporters were posting on sports message boards and sending out tweets that a major announcement is in the works, likely at Monday night’s regular meeting of the PHS?Stadium Committee, a group of dedicated members who donate their time and efforts to preserving the stadium.

If that indeed happens, this will be great news. It will show that a government entity (the Wood County Board of Education) managed to combine its efforts with a group of local citizens to solve a major issue. It’s called a public-private solution, and it’s good to see the two groups unite for a common cause.

When I was interviewing PHS?players for our upcoming football edition, several mentioned how special the stadium has become. They notice when they go on the road other schools don’t have such a facility with such great dressing rooms and weight facilities. They don’t have an artificial turf field with an eight-lane all-weather track. They lack the atmosphere that Stadium Field provides when the lights come on during a fall Friday night.

Yes, our community has its nay-sayers who would just as soon let the stadium die. But they weren’t going to be part of the solution anyway.

Let’s hope widespread reports the funds have been raised are true. If that’s the case, maybe we can borrow President Bush’s Mission Accomplished banner.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com