Albany--- The South Georgia Wildcats are back home after two weeks away, and they're gearing up for the second home game of the season. Before they can hit the field, the field has to be laid down. And that's no easy process.
The Wildcats are practicing on the field tonight. It's important for the players to get the feel of the turf before Saturday's home game. To make that happen, the Civic Center Maintenance staff started laying down the field early this morning.
Once the floor of the Albany Civic Center is cleaned off, the Wildcats field is brought in, section by section. "The sections are 15 foot wide and 85 foot long," says Operations Supervisor Barry Vann. The sections are numbered one through 16. "Start at the west and goes to east. It has a three-quarter pad on the bottom of it and it's an Astroturf field."
A ten person team begins to unroll the sections. The sections Velcro together, overlapping at the yard line. And, they must fit together perfectly. "You have to have air flow to move the field around. We start shaking the field to get air pressure up underneath it. Then, you side the field on the air cushion."
"Organization is what it's all about. Everybody puts in a hand, everything works out real good," says Civic Center Maintenance worker Johnny Seay.
Once the section is in place, the crews walks out the air pockets. "If it's not smooth, then there's a possibility that they can trip, fall and hurt themselves," said Seay.
Then, it's onto the next piece, until the field is finished. "If you have anywhere between eight and ten people, you can do it in about 4 or 5 hours."
Its' an all day job for a hard working team. "I feel like I'm a part of the whole process, a part of the family." A part of the Wildcats family that doesn't get the glory of the touchdown and the praise of screaming fans, but one who's work is just as important.
The crews finishes with the dasher boards and pads around the field. The goals are hoisted up before the field is laid down. In all, it took the crew about nine hours to get the field in place.
It's Albany versus Albany Saturday night. The Wildcats take on the Conquest of Albany, New York. Kick-off is at 7:30.