Jason Bowers, CSFM, is a sports turf supervisor for Montgomery (MD) County Parks. Here Jason shares his winter tale of woe, which will sound familiar to many readers, unfortunately. Thanks to Jason for sharing:
I am not the only one who is tired of this crazy weather! Between all the rain in 2018 and looking like it is continuing the wet pattern into 2019, snow and rain I am done with you for a little while. On the weekend of January 12-13 a good solid 2 weeks before NCAA rules let college baseball teams’ practice as a team, I figured we would be ready for practice. The forecast was calling for 2-4 inches of snow Friday the 11th. Working for the Parks system and having a NCAA baseball team using one of my seven fields as their home stadium for the past 20 years, I know how getting the field tarped can be a hassle. It is in the school’s contract that they must come tarp the field.
My first year at the Parks, a donor bought them a new rain tarp, and they bought an all-black tarp. Both sides are black. So, with a forecast of 2-4 inches I thought we would be ok not to tarp the field because we would have some good weather to work on the field in 2 weeks; I was wrong.
I started work on Saturday at 2:00 pm and did not get off work till Monday the 14th at 2:00 pm. I oversaw a crew of 10 guys, two of whom are CDL drivers so I had to watch their time on the road because they are not to go over 10 hours straight without an 8-hour break. So, I divided up the high priority parks for pre-treating before the snow started to fall, which was around 4:00 pm Saturday evening. Our guys busted their tails off and we worked till 11 pm that night before returning to our maintenance yard and sleeping on cots and chairs until 4 am Sunday when we started all over again.
By Sunday at around 2 pm we had just finishing up plowing and I have some crews go and hit the school sidewalks we oversee during a snow event. We hit two schools and by the time we were on our way to the third, it started snowing again. From Saturday to Sunday we accumulated around 4 inches. Then when the second round came through Sunday evening we got 4 more inches! Once again, we came in around 11:30 pm and napped until 4 am again and got back to it. At 6 am we all reported back to the yard for a meeting with the full work force to let everyone know what was done and what needed done. By 2:00 pm on Monday, we had everything opened, sidewalks and roadways, and I got to go home and get some well-deserved rest and time with my kids and wife!
Since then, we the Park employees have gone above and beyond what we are supposed to do and have tarped on and off, the baseball field at least four times and the team has tarped once. My field is 20 years old and has not major renovation done to the drains or irrigation over the years. It has no drainage in the warning track. So, to say it does not drain well is an understatement!
I know there are STMs out there who have pulled their tarps way more than I have, but for a Parks system where the mentality has been, “that’s good enough,” I am working on putting lots of George Toma “and then some” into their vocabulary!
I hope the wet pattern soon will break! Since then we have worked three more snow events in the past month. And I know as a lot of STMs out there, we wish the rain subsided, then next thing you know we are in a drought. So, I would like to shoot for something in between please! Best luck to all the STM’s out there! We will need it!