New bleachers grace Jinny Parker field

A rolled ankle, torn ligament. and two weeks of riding the bench was the price that field hockey player, Maddy Sampath ’16 had to pay after an inconvenient tumble her Freshman year. The accident did not occur during a game, nor did it occur at a practice. In fact, the incident didn’t even happen on the field. It was on her way to practice when she twisted her ankle while attempting to trek down the steep, rocky hill to Virginia Parker Field (more commonly known as “Jinny Parker Field,” yes, spelled with a “J,” not a “G.”)

“There weren’t steps or anything. I just went down the way that everyone always goes, which is down this really steep hill that’s covered in rocks and sticks,” Sampath said.

Girls’ varsity lacrosse captain Paige Murray ’15 has taken a tumble down Jinny Parker as well. “I had a stain…for the rest of practice,” Murray said.

Fortunately, for both the field hockey and girls’ lacrosse team, Jinny Parker Field, located next to Loeffler Field (boys’ soccer), has gotten a serious makeover. According to Scott Bennewitz, father of varsity field hockey captain Elizabeth Bennewitz ’15, two years ago Staples field hockey, Staples girls’ lacrosse, Westport youth field hockey and PAL girls’ lacrosse came together and created a fundraising program called “Tame the Hill.” The donations went directly towards installing stairs on both sides of the hill, leveling the slope, installing drainage, installing seating and implementing stair lighting.

“It is not an inexpensive project, and many people have given generously to make it happen,” Bennewitz said.

In addition to relieving athletes of possible injury, the construction at Jinny Parker has bettered the seating options for fans. Prior to the renovations that took place over the summer, the only places for spectators to sit and watch games were atop the wooden parking lot guards or on the ground.

“Having stands similar to baseball or soccer will hopefully encourage people to come to our games and cheer us on,” girls’ varsity lacrosse player Kate Lesch ’16 said.

Similarly, varsity field hockey player Rachel Stanford ’16 thinks, “It will completely change the atmosphere of the games and motivate more people to come out and watch.”

Thanks to “Tame the Hill” and the drastic improvements at Jinny Parker, all field hockey and girls’ lacrosse players are guaranteed a way to get to practice in one piece, and fans will no longer be at risk of splinters and grass stains.

“I’m obsessed with [the new Jinny Parker]. I live for the improvements,” Murray said.