By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Thirty-Eight years since McKay High School opened their doors back in 1979 in Northeast Salem, the school will finally be recieving that in which every other 6A School has in Salem:
And for alums who were at the groundbreaking ceremony, it’s a long-time coming.
“It’s about time,” laughed Ryan Allbritton, who graduated from McKay in 1990 and is a Region President at US Bank in town. “It’s a long time coming, we worked on the West Salem Field and others and finally it was the right time to do McKay and it’s overdue but it’s the right time, things came together, community came together and were able to raise some money for it. ”
Soon-to-be-graduate Shane Tennis, who was a long-snapper for the Scots football team this past season as a senior, knows that the turf will eliminate the switch back-and-forth for everyone of going from turf-to-grass and back-to-turf everytime they play McKay at McKay.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Tennis said . “It’s going to make the program better, not being the disadvantages from going to grass-to-turf and then the other teams going from turf-to-grass,” said the Class of 2017 graduate. “I mean it’s going to be really helpful with them.
“I’m excited about it, like I said it’s good for them so hopefully they’ll be happy with it.”
Track and Field Head Coach Curt Everetts, who graduated from McKay in 1985 and was part of the sixth-graduating Scotsmen Class, echoed what Allbritton said as now McKay is now getting onto the same playing field as West Salem, North Salem, Sprague and South Salem with getting rid of the grassy knoll in the back of the school
“It’s about time, it’s pretty darn cool that now we get to be like the other schools, now we’re not the ‘crappy school in Northeast Salem’, it’s a even playing field now. I’m pretty happy,” said Everetts with a smile.
And as it’ll help football and soccer out, it’ll help the track-and-field team out as well as they now being able to possibly host a big invitational during the spring sports season later down the line.
“Oh it’s going to bring invitational meets, the best competition here because no one wants to come here with the mud,” said Everetts on the benefits of the turf and being able to host events at McKay.
And then there’s QB1, Josh Riddell, Class of 2004 and current Head Football Coach. The Thirty-something-year-old Head Coach played on and coached on the hill knew how much hard work and sacrifice went into making this happen and is greatly appreciative of how the community and those around McKay made this possible.
“Oh it’s awesome,” he said as the kids gather at midfield with a McKay Athletic Booster Club banner with smiles on their faces. “The kids, you can see the kids faces on how much joy it brings to the kids in the community, that’s what it’s all about.
“I mean that’s why we do this, it’s awesome to see and I can’t wait now!”
Even Allbritton knows that something as simple as turf can help out the school in more ways than not.
“Just the fact that these kids deserve it, like I’ve said every high school has been done. So these kids, we want to help change the narrative around the school,” “When I came to McKay, it was a awesome school, it’s still a awesome school. It’s just people have to understand how awesome it is and how great these kids are.
“It gives Coach Riddell to have a turf field and visiting teams to have an opportunity to play on a turf field too and give these kids help instill that sense of pride back in this area and the community, it’s a thrill to see.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated on the second-annual Green and Gold Day on August 19 with the first-game on the new turf to come soon-afterwards, and it’s just one of the many things being done at McKay over the course of the next several months.
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!