Artificial turf is made for field hockey. It's fast. It's true. It accentuates all the fine passing and stick skills that girls develop in the Futures Program, at camps and through indoor field hockey.
Many girls have told me they love playing on turf. Even some who had not played on it before said it didn't take long to adjust. They all want to play fast and show off their skills, something that's often hard to do on grass.
Turf certainly won't hurt soccer either. Although more of the game is in the air and the ball bounces more, the short passing game is truer on a smoother surface.
Athletes in both sports should be able to adapt quickly. Most have considerable experience on artificial turf. More and more high schools and recreation facilities around the state are installing it. And almost every college stadium around here has an artificial field.
State finals should be showcased at college venues to draw bigger crowds and make them events, so it makes sense to continue to play the title games on turf - soccer at UMBC again this year and hockey at Washington College for the first time.
The clincher in favor of turf, however, has nothing to do with any particular sport. It's all about the weather. If you play these games on grass, you run a much higher risk of postponement. On turf, only one thing stops the game: lightning.
When athletes prepare to play a state championship game, they don't want to wait two or three days to finally get onto the field just because it rained too much last night. With artificial turf, that won't happen. They can play after the rain and in the rain. No coming back next week.
Turf is the way to go. The trend is growing like a weed - and it's weatherproof.