‘Says a lot about school spirit’: Sacramento Charter High School football players clean up field
When the Sacramento Charter High School football team shows up to practice, sometimes they have to pick up after dogs. It’s one of the many disadvantages that come with having an older field.
Some people think the football field is a dog park. But it’s not. Now, a former player is giving back to his community by starting a fundraiser to make improvements to the field at the oldest high school in Sacramento.
“We don’t have a lot, so we have to work harder than the other teams,” said Lamar Radcliffe, 16, junior running back.
Radcliffe and other varsity and junior varsity players showed up on Saturday morning to clean up the grass field, filled with weeds and crabgrass to get it ready for seeding.
“We improvise. We improvise a lot here,” said sophomore Isaiah Newton, 15.
The stadium hasn’t changed much since Julius Douglas played football here nearly 15 years ago.
“The field been the same since I played and I thought, ‘I’m going to do something about it,’” Douglas said.
Douglas grew tired of waiting on the sidelines, so he stepped up the game and started a field fundraiser.
“It be kind of embarrassing, all the other schools have turf, good locker rooms,” said Douglas. “It’s kind of hurtful.”
Coaches and players jam into a tiny classroom in a pod and use it for a locker room.
The field, filled with potholes is surrounded by a dirt track.
There is also only one set of bleachers for fans.
“They don’t even sit there,” Radcliffe said. “They just come out here with their own chairs.”
He said playing on the field and not having upgraded equipment is unfair and a disadvantage for the team.
The team scored when Douglas, 33, made a bold move in his own life. He admits he made some serious fumbles off the field.
“I didn’t graduate because I had some run-ins with the law. I was in the streets, gang banging. I did some time for that,” Douglas said. “I changed my life and I came home, running back to my community.”
Douglas created the Players Project. It’s an initiative not only to upgrade the athletic facilities but to keep the players moving towards victory after graduation.
“I see myself going to college,” Newton said.
Class of 1993 graduate Ben Solinsky heard about the Saturday clean-up at his alma mater.
“It says a lot about their school spirit,” Solinsky said.
He traveled from San Diego to lend a hand.
“The team is coming together. The community is coming together, volunteering their time,” he said. “These boys deserve a nice field to practice on, to play on. They’re a really good football team.”
The Dragons went 9-3 last season. Douglas said just showing up on a Saturday to work as a team, the football team already has one win this season.
“They take pride in it. they all out here, the JV and varsity, they take pride in their field,” Douglas said.
Douglas set up a GoFundMe to raise money for the improvements. He said Sac Charter High School is the only one without a turf field.