September 17, 2010 in Sports

John Blanchette: Taking both sides in EWU turf debate

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Christopher Anderson photo

Love it or hate it, EWU’s red turf is here to stay.
(Full-size photo)

Eastern Washington’s new football turf? I love it. It’s wild.

That ridiculous red rug? I hate it. It’s just another gimmick in a gimmicked-up world.

I love it. It shows someone out at Eastern has some siccum – and some ideas.

I hate it. It proves they’re clueless.

Love it. They’re thinking outside the box.

Hate it. For $825,000? They’re spending outside it, too.

I love it. And they’re saving 300,000 gallons of water a year in the process. Hey, red really is the new green.

I hate it. And I hate that slogan, too. What do they tell their accountants – that red is the new black?

I love it. Apparently you missed the part about it being all donated money. Lighten up. It’s unique and special. Who else has red turf?

I hate it. It’s a ripoff of Boise State’s Smurf Turf, just from a different end of the Crayola box. Could they get any more contrived?

Love it. Contrived? It’s artificial turf. The conceit has been making all the ones before now green as if they were real grass.

Hate it. Green doesn’t blister your retinas.

I love it. I suppose you want Santa Claus to change his suit, too. You know how cool the red turf is going to look on TV?

I hate it. Are you going to stay home from the games to see how it looks on TV?

Love it. It’s going to get us tons of television exposure.

Hate it. On SWX? On Altitude Sports? Exposure to viewers in Dickshooter, Idaho, maybe.

I love it. Nah, it’s going to get us on ESPN, on SportsCenter.

I hate it. Maybe once, for 10 seconds, the night of the first game – maybe. How many EWU highlights do you normally see on SportsCenter anyway?

I love it. You see Boise State’s turf on there all the time.

I hate it. Let me explain something: Boise State is the No. 3-ranked team in all of college football. They’re an FBS team, a BCS contender, a player. Oregon State is playing there this year. Oregon, BYU and Utah have played there in recent seasons. EWU gets Northern Colorado and Southern Utah. You’re lucky if you see the scores on the crawl on the bottom of the TV screen. ESPN is not parachuting in to televise a game.

Love it. Everybody digs something different. It’ll get lots of play.

Hate it. Here’s something different – why not finish the other side of the stadium? That’s what people are going to notice on TV. That’s embarrassing. Couldn’t they find a better use of nearly a million dollars?

I love it. Not convinced. You want to do something cosmetic for the fans or something – yes, cosmetic, too – that’s going to appeal to the players and recruits? They like it. They needed it – by most Octobers, the old field was a chewed-up mess, at best. They didn’t dare practice on it. Take the color out of it and turf was still more necessary.

I hate it. OK, but it’s going to look like they put cathouse carpet in front of some high school bleachers.

I love it. It’s going to drive those Montana people crazy.

I hate it. I didn’t realize there was a line item in the athletic budget for spite.

Lovin’ it. It’s just plain fun. Have you heard all the catchy names people are coming up with for the field? Like I said, it gets people talking.

Hatin’ it. I’ve sure heard all the vulgar and misogynistic ones, and they ain’t all coming from Montana, if you know what I mean.

I love it. You have to at least admire that a guy like Michael Roos is invested enough in the school and program to pony up $500,000 to its betterment.

I hate it. Write a check, get your name on the place.

Love it. There you’re wrong. This project galvanized perhaps the most inclusive campaign of EWU football – and even non-football – alums the program has ever seen. For maybe the first time, different generations of the Eagles football family found a common goal to rally around. Who knows what it might be the beginning of?

Hate it. That’s what I’m afraid of – it might be just the beginning. Did you hear what Montana coach Robin Pflugrad said the other day? “I think the Big Sky should be the first conference to have every home turf in school colors. That’s what we all need to do.” He may have been joking, but do you want to risk it?

OK. Maybe I love/hate it.


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