“New year, new me.”
That’s the phrase that often floats around during this time of year, as people resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, take up a new hobby, travel more, volunteer more, etc.
While all of those endeavors are admirable, they don’t have much to do with this column. So I’ve put together a 2016 wish list for the Gig Harbor athletics community. Here are a few ideas that came to mind.
A new multipurpose stadium for Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools to share
Shared fields aren’t a bad idea — especially for teams in the same school district. It wouldn’t be fiscally responsible to build separate stadiums for both area high schools. But the current shared stadium, Roy Anderson Field, is not up to par. Only one side has covered seating, and with the band occupying a large portion of it during football game days, it leaves a very limited amount of covered seating for fans.
The locker room situation is strange, as the locker rooms are in the school, rather than connected to the field. The scoreboard needs updating. The press box, about the size of a broom closet, is pathetic. The PA system is awful.
The place is falling apart. A new stadium would likely have to be built off-site as a legitimate, full-sized stadium with covered seating on both sides wouldn’t fit on the existing footprint at Peninsula High School.
This won’t happen in 2016. It won’t happen until voters approve some funding for the high schools, and even then, deservedly so, athletics probably won’t top the list. But a large portion of the Gig Harbor area is upper-middle class, and at some point, voters will need to decide if the local high schools deserve better athletic facilities.
I certainly believe they do.
A new pool for Gig Harbor High School
Both the boys and girls Tides teams are perennially in the top 10 in state, thanks to the talent-rich area and the guidance of head coach Mike Kelly. But you wouldn’t know by looking at the tiny, outdated pool where Gig Harbor hosts its home swim meets. Just over the bridge, in a comparable community in University Place, Curtis High School has a gorgeous indoor pool.
Gig Harbor doesn’t necessarily need one that big or nice, but an upgrade is long overdue.
State titles for both Gig Harbor and Peninsula, in any sport
There’s been a few for Gig Harbor in the past few years, thanks to the boys cross country program. Both football teams have been close, and Gig Harbor’s boys and girls soccer programs always seem to be in the conversation.
I think the team with the best chance to win one in 2016 is the Peninsula High School boys basketball team. With a senior-heavy roster and a top recruit in JaQuori McLaughlin, the Seahawks have the pieces to go all the way.
Gig Harbor to the SPSL 3A
While a lot of it is still rumors at this point, it seems like there’s a good chance the Narrows 4A will fall apart. With Gig Harbor likely moving to 3A, joining crosstown rival Peninsula in the SPSL 3A seems to make the most sense. But other schools will be vying to join the SPSL 3A as well, so there’s no guarantee. Of course, Gig Harbor could elect to opt up to 4A, stay in the Narrows, or join a different league. But joining the SPSL 3A, if they can, seems to make the most sense.
I asked my Twitter followers what would be on their wish list.
Kelly Busey, Gig Harbor’s chief of police who moonlights as voice of Peninsula boys basketball on KGHP, tweeted, “A Peninsula Hoops state championship!”
Other wish list items for Twitter users included a new turf baseball field at Gig Harbor High School from David Bigelow, who wrote, “It’s been a puddle for over a decade.”
One other user, Tyler Main, asked for a “better seeding system for the playoffs, with more balance.”