It was a bittersweet moment standing in the cold last Friday night as the Tracy High Bulldogs played their last game on the natural turf of Wayne Schneider Stadium. In July the stadium will be razed and a new modern stadium erected in its place complete with artificial turf. The project will take a year forcing the Bulldogs to play the 2012 season in nearby West High or Kimball High stadium.
It is a long time coming but in someone ways it is sad. It was the one of the last links to the Tracy High I attended and graduated from in 1982. The classrooms I attended are all gone, demolished or renovated to a point where they bare no resemblance to the halls I attended. The football field where I graduated from on a Friday night in June was one the spot that hadn't changed in all the years. It was the one constant-the same tradition passed down through the years. But it will be gone in a few months.
Sad as it may be it was a long time coming. Walk up the steps of the home bleachers at Tracy High and it seemed you could feel the aluminium buckle beneath your feet. The lights were yellow and dim and my football shots showed the effects of such aged lighting equipment. Midfield in the rainy months was a quagmire and the sidelines weren't much better. Yes it was time for a change. I guess I wanted to hold on to a few memories from my younger years.
The new stadium will be a great place for the Bulldogs to play and the new field with modern lights will be a better shooting environment. While the old stadium might have fond memories the new venue will create its own memories and highlights and is sure to be home to thrilling games and championships. It's really not the place that makes the memories, it's the people in them.
I feel honored to have been at the stadium for the last game ever and two years from now I will feel another bit of pride as I photograph the first game at Tracy High's new football stadium. It is the end of an era, and the opening of a new chapter at Tracy High.