'What better place than here'; Kindred's 'mini field' gives kids a place to play during varsity games
Coming off their first state football title, Kindred is making sure the growth of the program is not stopping there. Assistant Coach Ryan Sunram helped turn a 30-yard patch of grass at Jerlow Stadium into the ‘Field of Dreams’ for future Vikings players.
KINDRED– There’s nothing like that first night of football when small towns coming together to cheer on the boys of fall.
“I have a hard time believing there’s anything more special than Friday nights,” said Kindred assistant football coach, Ryan Sunram.
As the Kindred varsity team takes the field though, it’s the game being played 50-yards to the west that’s the new talk of town.
“They will look down the road, they’ll look at pictures and be like ‘man, that was awesome, we had our own field at Kindred, that was pretty cool’. And that’s what makes us special. You want to have those kids take pride in and you know that the community that they’re in, the school that they go to, the facilities that they play on, the teams that they are a part of, that’s what they’re going to remember,” said Sunram.
An idea came about last football season, when Sunram saw a high school team in Kentucky building a “mini field” behind their varsity endzone, made especially for the younger kids in attendance at games..
“Coach Safe and I actually ran across it on Twitter, last year at the beginning of the year. Somerset High School in Kentucky had a tweet and they had a new turf field and in the endzone behind right where we have our high jump area, they have a 30 yard field. And we were like, how cool would it be to do that in Kindred,” said Sunram.
“We walked over here and we said let’s just start right here and we walked it off. We thought let’s leave a little bit of area for the parents and a little bit of room away from the fence and we walked it off. I don’t know if it’s 30-plus yards or so roughly. Then a little bit wide, so maybe the big kids might get bad, but for your younger kids, third, fourth, fifth graders, it’s going to be awesome, Sunram added.
So with the help of the other Kindred coaches, and a can of spray paint, the patch of grass adjacent to Kindred’s main field was transformed into Jerlow Field junior.
“I think everyone was on board,” laughed Sunram.
“You’re not building this huge stadium, but having something kind of unique to Kindred or to Class B (is nice). A good friend of ours said can we bring our goal posts in, can we put that on her,” Sunram added.
“I thought it was pretty cool because usually when we were playing out here, there’s not really anything to mark the yards or whatever. So this is nice so we can mark where we are down and stuff,” said eighth grader Cruz Lindemann.
“I was like holy crap, that is sick. It helps a bunch of us, even the little kids, because we have about like 50 to 100 kids over here all the time,” said fifth grader Mason Trom.
The touchdowns may not show up on the scoreboard, but for these future Vikings, that’s okay.
“Very special, because we have always been playing this whole thing, it’s just been really tough to figure out what's in and out and what’s touchdown and what’s first down,” said eighth grader Teige Erdmann.
“Being able to play and look over and say they do a cool move or whatever, we can try and learn to do it on this little field,” said Lindemann.
Many of the Vikings players taking snaps now, once played in this field of grass. Now the littlest fans with the biggest dreams, are striving to one day play on the big field.
“It’s more than that, it’s the kids getting out here, spending time with their buddies on a Friday night, being a part of it. Even if they’re not watching the game, they’re still a part of the team and a part of the program,” said Sunram.
Sunram is hoping to find a local artist that would be interested in designing a logo for the middle of the field and even the endzones. Kindred returns home September 9th to host Oak Grove.