The Foothill High School football program, which has been fighting an uphill battle with participation numbers in recent years, now faces a big battle with dates.
The Falcons' field -- comprised of an artificial/synthetic grass surface -- has been in bad need of replacement the last few years to the point that it was an embarrassment and borderline unsafe the last two seasons.
The replacement is finally coming, but the project is set to start this week with a proposed competition date of Aug. 22. To old school people in town, that might seem like plenty of time before the season starts (formerly after Labor Day), but these are not the old days.
The Falcons' first game is set for Aug. 23, which means even a one-day delay (and you know how construction projects are about running on time) and the home game will be lost.
Foothill head coach Greg Haubner has already been in talks with opening week opponent San Leandro about possibly moving the game. It doesn't get better from there as the next two games against Heritage and Petaluma are also scheduled for Foothill.
A decent delay and three home games are gone, which totally stinks for any seniors on the squad. In this day, the chance of getting student fans to road games, except for Amador Valley, are slim. Part of the passion of high school sports is playing in front of your classmates, and three games may be in jeopardy.
In addition, the gate and snack bar revenue from home games helps fund athletics and that will be lost as well.
Foothill Booster Club president Derek Perez -- who is working overtime trying to get the project done and had tons of praise heaped upon him by Haubner -- is confident the project will be finished in time for opening night, but you have a feeling that Perez, as well as anyone associated with the Foothill program, are keeping their fingers crossed.
I don't think it needed to come to this as construction should have started back in early June, but every time that there was a change in the plans, Perez and his group had to wait to get the approval of the Pleasanton Unified School District before proceeding.
For the PUSD, prompt response is not a strong point.
But the possible loss of home games is just part of the problem. How about practice space?
Amador faced the same dilemma a couple of years back when the Dons had their field being replaced and they needed to scramble for somewhere to practice. After being booted off the beautiful Patelco Fields off Bernal, the Dons finally ended up at the Ken Mercer Sports Park.
The Falcons and coach Haubner asked the city permission to use Patelco, even early in the morning before soccer teams were out there, and were denied as well.
Foothill was willing to run practices at 6 a.m. but were shot down. That makes no sense to me as how is helping our local high school teams on city fields not something that should be accommodated?
It's one thing if the local high school athletic programs want to use the facility because they think it would be cool, but another thing when it's because there is a lack of practice fields at their respective schools.
Having grown up in Pleasanton, it used to be a city where everyone worked together to give the kids in the town the best opportunities. I realize that ship has sailed in some respects, but I have a hard time believing there isn't something that could be done to help the Falcons team.
Here's hoping things work out with the field, as well as finding adequate practice space.