The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

A Labor Day Salute to Groundskeepers. !

A Labor Day Salute to Groundskeepers. !

“I salute you ! Beacon Athletics salutes you !…”

With the Labor Day holiday approaching, I wanted to take a few minutes and extend a personal shout-out to all the hardworking ballfield groundskeepers.

Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, the fantasy of a “part-time groundskeeper” has been exposed — that idea of showing up for work at 3 pm to mow the grass and paint and chalk the fields before the evening game is not realistic. There is now a much better public understanding and appreciation of the hours upon hours you spend maintaining your fields no matter the weather, no matter the day. Many of you worked through many weekends and summer holidays, while missing countless family events and activities. Many worked seemingly endless days in a row with only a handful of hours of sleep each night.

As I often remind people, “the grass doesn’t stop growing when the club is on the road or it’s the weekend”. Like farmers, we cultivate the soil and manage our turf crop no matter the weather or conditions thrown at us. We tend to our “living ballfields” as if they were one of our children. We suffer when they suffer. It is truly a labor of love.

I know the long hours. I know the exhaustion. I know the stress. I know the self-applied pressure for perfection. And, I know your concern for and appreciation of your own crew. Your dedication and hard work is enjoyed by millions — by those playing on your fields, fans watching a game at the ballpark, in a stadium, or on TV. It is your work that helps the rest of America relax and enjoy a break from their hard work.

From one groundskeeper to another on Labor Day – I salute you ! Beacon Athletics salutes you !

So, crack open a cold one this weekend, sit back, relax and reflect for a few minutes on all the great work you and your crew performed this season. Your work is appreciated.

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Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

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