“What does that have to do with the price of Wheaties?”
Anyone who ever had Mr. Keenan for government as a senior at Perkiomen Valley High school knows he said that about ten times a day over his 45 years with the school district as a history and government teacher.
The new turf field in the Stadium that bears Thomas J. Keenan’s name would probably have had him change his tagline to “Wow, How many boxes of Wheaties would it cost to build that thing?”
A field of dreams, so to speak, the artificial turf field project that has consumed the hill for months has a lot of support from the community and has Perk Valley poised to take its place among the elite facilities in the state.
Thanks to the initiative and effort put forth by a team led by Athletic Director Mr. Glanski, who will be retiring after 34 years of service with the district, and too many people to name, what once was considered a fantasy will now become reality.
“I am so fortunate to have been given this opportunity by the Perkiomen Valley School district,” said Glanski in a recent interview for PA Prep Live.
It would be easy to go on and on about how much the field costs, the amount of dirt moved, and how many hours it took to complete the job, but the real story here is the far-reaching effect it will have going forward on the entire district and everyone who will benefit from the new fields.
Any one that has ever ventured to the quagmire known as Keenan Stadium on a rainy Friday night, be it a reporter, band member, photographer, or player, has witnessed some amazing feats of nature, as the old field was notorious for wreaking havoc to all that dared set foot on it.
“A rainy Friday night on the grass field would turn into a mud bowl,” said senior wideout Jason Posner. “I personally prefer the turf, it looks and feels great to play on. I feel like it allows me to be more explosive, make cuts quicker and overall it allows me to play with more speed,” he added.
Posner´s and his teammates sentiment has been echoed through the Perkiomen Valley Family including the coaching staff.
¨The district, superintendent, athletic director and PV Foundation all did an amazing job bringing this project to fruition,” said varsity football head coach Mr. Heist. “The nice part about the turf is that it is best for our football and the style we play, I love a grass field but it does not help from a football perspective.”
The Viking football team is not the only resident of a Keenan Stadium locker room that has benefited and feels like they have an extra man on the squad now.
“The turf field is advantageous to our team,” said PV Boys varsity soccer coach Mr. Allen. “It allows us to utilize our speed and skill to possess the ball more on the field.”
The new turf will now open up opportunities that otherwise Perk Valley would have watched pass by; this includes things such as regional band competitions, as well as hosting district and state playoffs in many sports.
“I think more groups will now come to our school when we host shows,” offered Marching Band Director Mr. Overholtzer. “In the past, other bands would go to other schools, even some further away that had turf instead of Perk Valley… now that won’t be the case.”
The ability to host competitions as well as the fact that events will no longer be at the mercy of mother nature, will undoubtedly propel Perk Valley ‘s extra curricular landscape.
“I think it was a good investment that the school made because the old field has terrible drainage and therefore, while we were performing, it would be difficult due to the mud,” said senior marching band member Chloe Ricks. “I do wish that would have held off a year while dealing with COVID-19, as it cut the amount of games we got to travel to, they should have just done the football field and stopped.”
While the financial benefits of hosting events and the logistics of not having the weather wreak havoc with scheduling are all huge benefits to having turf, the unseen benefactor may be the overall health of Perkiomen Valley athletes going forward.
“The turf is safe,” added Coach Heist. “It may even mitigate injuries that potentially could have happened on the uneven and inconstant former grass field.”
“As a player, I feel faster; it (the turf) makes it easier to make sharper cuts as opposed to grass with holes and divots,” said junior quarterback Ethan Kohler. “The turf is also compatible with weather…rain is no longer any issue with tearing up the field causing a hole in which you could roll an ankle”
For years many parents, sponsors, and alumni questioned why Perkiomen Valley didn’t have an artificial turf field. Mr Keenan might have answered with a question of his own: “What does that have to with the price of Wheaties?”
The new turf fields (yes, plural “fields” as the district resurfaced the baseball field as well) have set the Vikings assail on a new course in history.
There will be nay-sayers and doubters on whether or not the money spent could have been better or more wisely utilized, but at the end of the day, everyone involved with Perkiomen Valley High School will be walking a little taller and feeling like they have already won when they enter Thomas J. Keenan Stadium.
Photos: DRC Photo