Field ‘donuts’ take bite out of Falcon football practice

A joyrider’s fun at Community Park has forced several South Whidbey athletic teams to practice elsewhere and rankled facility officials.

Tom Fallon

A joyrider’s fun at Community Park has forced several South Whidbey athletic teams to practice elsewhere and rankled facility officials.

The incident occurred shortly after school let out Wednesday on the complex’s upper field, which is located east of the baseball fields and is surrounded by trees. An unknown person drove onto the grass and did several “donuts” before leaving the area, according to a frustrated Doug Coutts, director of the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District.

“You want these fields available for the public to use and when somebody does something like this, it makes usage difficult and impacts all of us,” Coutts said. “It’s frustrating to put it lightly.”

Wednesday was a half day for the high school, and the event happened within five to 10 minutes after the bell rang. Officials suspect a student is the likely culprit. High school staff and the Island County Sheriff’s Office are currently looking into the situation. Anyone caught could face vandalism and possibly felony charges; it’s dependent on financial damage, which is still being determined.

On a visit to the field Wednesday afternoon, a Record reporter observed turf that wasn’t overly torn up but was marked with deep tracks and ruts. District officials said repairs required the closure of the area. It also forced the Falcons football team to pack up and move to a new practice field adjacent to Waterman’s Field. Head coach Michael Coe said the alternative field is in rough shape, that it’s “nowhere near the upper field.” He says the surface is uneven and grass is up to or past ankle level.

South Whidbey Youth Football Association also utilized the damaged upper field and will need to look elsewhere to practice.

Tom Fallon, grounds supervisor for the parks district, said donuts in district and school fields are nothing new, but that he hasn’t seen damage to this extent in years. Fallon said the recent rainfall made matters worse, and pointed out the driver was aggressive. Sod was cut and folded over and tire tracks spanned the field.

“It’s been five or six years since we’ve had a good one like this,” Fallon said. “It’s not the best start to the school year.”

He said vandalism like this regularly occurs during the first and last month of school.

Fallon said it’s unclear how long it’ll be before the field is ready to use once again. He says he still has to fully examine the extent of the damage before determining how to repair it. He said the timeline depends on whether staff can piece the field back together or have to reseed the field, which would take longer. He’s hoping the football teams can have their field back in “a couple of weeks.”

The damage comes as the Falcons’ football season launches into full swing. Coe said moving practice fields could have an adverse impact on the team’s preparations, but that it will work with what it has.

“We try to preach to the kids that adversity is going to happen,” Coe said. “It is what it is. We’re just going to have to continue to move forward. The kids ended up practicing really well yesterday.”


More in News

Roll the dice for charity at bunco event

Guild 21 of Providence General Children’s Association is hosting its 14th annual… Continue reading

Community weaves together fundraiser after fiber theft

In late February, Lydia Christiansen and her husband Alan woke up to… Continue reading

Navy extends comment period on special ops training

The area where the Navy conducts special operations training may be expanded… Continue reading

State Parks offer two free pass days in April

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission invites the public to celebrate… Continue reading

Photo by Drew Kampion
                                Buell Neidlinger played the cello on Whidbey Island in recent years, but he was famous for his bass playing. He passed away March 16.
Neidlinger remembered as world-class musician

With a long beard and strong opinions, Buell Neidlinger was a well-known… Continue reading

Students speak out on school violence

‘They are leading by example’

Backlog of repairs needed at WhidbeyHealth

Officials explain need for $20 million federal loan

New shuttle for whale watchers

Van replaces chug-chugging cart

School violence topic of public forum

Students to lead discussion at WICA talk

Most Read