Dear Parents, Alumni, and Student-Athletes,
As the 2014-2015 school year gets underway, I am pleased to report to you that the facility situation for our cardinal athletes has never been better in the 50 years of our existence! Today we have the largest offering of athletic programs ever for Bishop Ireton athletes. It has taken a great deal of support from the school community and most certainly from the City of Alexandria.
Today, we use Alexandria's Frank Mann Field for baseball, Luckett and Hensley Fields for softball, and the two new Witter Street Fields for soccer and lacrosse. Indeed, the addition of the Witter Street rectangular fields allowed BI to add field hockey as a fall sport. In its fifth season, more than 40 girls participate, just one example of the many benefits from our access to these new resources.
Our facilities plan for our resources is somewhat complicated and bears explanation; lest one looks only at a small part of the bigger picture and not see the overall objective. Our fall season is by far our busiest in terms of teams and sports coducted. Most are outside. Football, with its yardlines, goalposts, and myriad of sleds, dummies, and padding, requires special fields. The only "fooball" field available to Bishop Ireton in the City or in Fairfax County is our own Fannon Field. Recently re-turfed to stand the test of time, this field is the highest quality of any in the region. We have in the past been able to use some other fields in the City; those options are now closed to us. With varsity games normally on Saturdays, junior varsity games on Thursdays, Fannon Field is almost exclusively scheduled with football activities.
We do practice field hockey on Fannon Field, and have worked our home schedule carefully to take advantage of the two lightest practice days for football, Monday and Friday, to play our field hockey games. Where we once could use Ben Brenman field, that is no longer available to us. But, we can make this work as it stands today.
The Witter Street fields are scheduled for Ireton each day from 3 to 5:30pm Monday through Friday. When we coordinate sufficiently in advance, we have been able to secure some opportunities for night games and off hours activities. For our fall sports, this has provided each of our soccer programs, boys and girls, a new artificially turfed, regulation field lined for soccer. In the spring, our lacrosse programs will receive one field to use along with Fannon Field.
The soccer situation is a marked improvement from previous years. With two fields near the school we will be able, in fact required, to play our games concurrently at 4pm. The varsity will be on one field, the junior varsity on the other. Both serviced by scoreboards donated by our booster club, and clean, functioning rest rooms. For us, we will have better fields, we will finish our games at 5:30 rather than 7pm, another plus. We will no longer have to cut practice times, negotiate single field access between hockey, football and other soccer teams. And, when we can do it, we will host a soccer game on Fannon Field.
The location off campus for soccer is a drawback, but overall this situation is a huge improvement for our athletic community. Note many sister schools, including Gonzaga and DeMatha have limited on campus fields as well. I would ask you to continue to support our programs, look for ways to improve our teams and our athletic programs. Our booster club has made great contributions, the City has gone the extra mile to support our facility needs, coaches, parents and players have responded like champions, as they always do. .
It's GREAT to be a Cardinal!!
W. W. Simmons