Cross your fingers. Cross your toes. Rub your lucky rabbit's foot. Sit in that spot on the couch that magically seems to help the Seahawks on Sundays.
Whatever it takes.
As of about noon Wednesday, Sept. 4, it still looked like the two high school football games scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5, at Bellingham's Civic Stadium are a go.
"I think we might just get this in," Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department recreation manager Greg Hatch said in a phone interview. "We're being optimistic, but not too optimistic."
Whether Sehome's 1 p.m. game against Nooksack Valley and Bellingham's 7 p.m. game against Mount Baker actually would be the first two games played on the new Sprinturf surface at Civic has been in doubt for the past couple of weeks after a drainage issue was discovered in the base surface following the removal of Civic's old artificial playing surface, which was installed in 2000.
That forced the project to be delayed approximately two weeks so that Premier Field Development Inc. could be brought in to scarify the base material, or break it up so that it could drain more rain water.
Sprinturf was able to resume installation of the new surface on Aug. 26.
"Those guys have been working their tails off to get it in, and we're really appreciative," Hatch said.
But even the installation hasn't come without hiccups, as the beautiful weather of early August has given way to intermittent rain in the past week, sometimes holding up work on the field.
"It's been like a wild ride," Hatch said. "We were really worried about it with the rain yesterday (Tuesday). We thought the entire day would be out, but we were able to get some work in during the afternoon, and they worked late, so we got a full day in. It's been like that the past week - lots of ups and downs."
But with those ups and downs has come definite progress, Hatch said.
He said the turf is "basically down" and the crew has 99 percent of the cutouts for hash marks and lines finished and glued in for painting, though a few dash lines still remain to be done.
On Tuesday, the crew was able to pour 50 bags of the infill - usually rubber particles - on the field. Hatch said another "110-ish" bags still need to be poured, and that could be done on Wednesday "if nothing goes wrong."
That would leave some final gluing and cleanup so that the field could be game ready.
"Really, it's just some cutouts, and the infill is coming along nicely," Hatch said. "It's pretty exciting. It's really looking good. It's very colorful with all the different lines for lacrosse and everything - more lines than we're used to. Those sports seem to be here to stay, so it makes sense for us to have them, and it looks great."
The Sehome-Nooksack game originally was scheduled for Friday night, Sept. 6, but the game was shifted back a day last week, and Hatch said that may have been just what the project needed.
"In a worst-case scenario, we can work all night Friday," Hatch said. "That extra time could make a difference."
Hatch estimated Civic hosts more than 400 sporting events annually.
Sprinturf, came in with a bid of a little less than $400,000 to remove Civic's old surface and install the new field. The extra drainage work cost approximately $47,000, which will be covered by the project's $80,000 contingency fund, Parks and Recreation Department project engineer Gina Gobo Austin said. The project was funded by $180,000 from Western Washington University and $300,000 from the 1997 Beyond Greenway levy, Gobo Austin said.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
WEEK 1 SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, SEPT. 6
? Lummi at Pomeroy, 6 p.m.
? Anacortes at Friday Harbor, 7 p.m.
? Meridian at Burlington-Edison, 7 p.m.
? Mount Vernon at Sedro-Woolley, 7 p.m.
? Blaine at Ferndale, 7 p.m.
? Omak at Lynden Christian, 7 p.m.
? Squalicum at Kingston, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 7
? King's vs. Lynden (at Husky Stadium), 1 p.m.
? Nooksack Valley at Sehome (at Civic Stadium), 1 p.m.
? Mount Baker at Bellingham (at Civic Stadium), 7 p.m.
FOOTBALL PREVIEW SECTION
Get a look a look at all 11 Whatcom County high school football teams, complete with rosters, schedules, keys to the season and players to watch in a special section in the Friday, Sept. 6, edition of The Bellingham Herald.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.