Hills West football has seen a rather successful decade, with two Long Island Championships and a slew of Suffolk County Championship wins and appearances. Because of their consistent success on the field, Pepsi offered Hills West to re-do their football field, install new lights, and extend the bleachers. The event was not publicized outside the confines of the football team, but the team was not quiet about their approval. Many were vocal about their support for the project such as Sophomore Safety Malcolm McKinnon who said: “I was so excited for this new field, it’s so great that Hills West was recognized for their on the field achievements.” Despite the excitement and anticipation for the project from players and coaches alike, The project was ultimately canceled after homeowners in the area complained that the project would cause several disruptions in the community.
This would come back to bite Hills West on October 29, 2019, when the Girls Varsity Soccer team was scheduled to play a postseason contest against Harborfields on the turf. However, the girls were barred from playing on the field after a sinkhole manifested its way into the turf, forcing the girls to play their game at High School East. This last-minute move inconvenienced both the soccer team, who had to leave school immediately to catch a game starting at 2:00, and the school who had to provide transportation for students who wished to attend the game, and teachers who had to chaperone. After this disruption, It is paramount that Hills West fix its field for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the upgraded field, bleachers and lights will give Hills West a good reputation between other high schools in the country as well as residents. The modern amenities and upgraded playing surface would attract other teams to play away games and give West a good reputation in the football community because of their field which would be called one of the best playing surfaces in Suffolk. The new field would also give them a good reputation among county residents. The field is one of the first things you see while driving past Hills West, those passing by will see the field, and would be enamored by the facility and the amount of time and money Hills West put into keeping their fields up-to-date.
Secondly, the new lights would help tremendously. Currently, Hills West does not have a permanent lighting solution, which does not allow for the playing of late games. The football team and the soccer teams have to play games in the afternoon, and they have to play especially early in late fall during playoff games because it gets dark earlier. Recently, The JV Football team had a game ended early, because their opponent: Amityville, showed up late and they did not have adequate lighting to keep the game going. The JV Football team would happen to lose the game because Amityville was winning before it got dark, so when they called off the game they awarded the win to Amityville. The lights would prevent undeserved losses, and create a fantastic game day experience that both players and fans alike would enjoy.
At the end of the day, it seems unfair for students and athletes to be denied a fantastic opportunity; such as this one to go to waste. Hills West had the opportunity to be commended by a major corporate organization as an exemplary program, and at the end of the day, they were not. I would implore the school to look into redoing the football field in the future for many different reasons, but mostly for the students starved of change and looking to call a new field their own.