The most-emailed story on the News and Observer's website today was one that was published last Friday, about the field hockey teams for UNC and Duke. Not because of the way they're playing - although UNC held Maryland to zero shots on goal in their 3-0 win this weekend. No, the story is about their use of water.
I'll admit, I was amused when I learned they water the astroturf in field hockey back in the early nineties. I also got a kick out of those library signs they put up for people who can't read. Things that seem absurd are funny. But I'm guessing most of the folks shooting this story around the interwebs are more outraged than entertained, as that is the emotion the story's trying to whip up.
So yes, if you live in NC or the rest of the South, you're in the midst of a severe drought, and aren't allowed to water your lawn. And yet athelitc departments are watering astorturf. Outrage! On the other hand, I've lived the last six years in Southern California, and they know from water resources. And I'm going to put a dissenting opinion out there:
I'd rather see the water go to field hockey than to your front yard.
Maybe I just don't have the respect for lawns. I grew up in a house where the grass naturally turned a golden yellow every September. It was actually very attractive, and pretty fun to play football on. Hell, for years N.C. State's football turf changed color around the same time. The world did not end.
At least the water on the field hockey turf serves a purpose. It protects the players, affects the physics of the game, and all and all increases the enjoyment for the players and the fans. (You did go to the Maryland game, right?) Your lawn doesn't really benefit much of anyone. So relax a little.
Meanwhile, zero shots on goal. Undisputed number one team in the country. Held the entire ACC scoreless. That's pretty damn impressive.