Thursday morning saw a relatively significant change to the Week 1 schedule.
The epic Hand-New Canaan matchup on Sept. 12 will not — repeat — not be played at Madison’s legendary Surf Club.
The schedule has switched the site to Daniel Hand High School’s turf field, Thursday morning.
The Surf Club’s athletics park is at the end of a year-long reconstruction project which will modernize and mold the facilities into the ‘Strong Center at the Surf Club.’ According to Dave Phillips of the Shoreline Times, the complex’s new bleachers won’t be installed in time for the Sept. 12 opener.
Seeing that a massive crowd is expected to attend this clash of SCC/FCIAC heavyweights, the lack of bleachers would kind of pose a problem.
But, wait a second, the high school field doesn’t have significant bleachers, either.
Maybe the new Surf Club just isn’t ready. (We’re working on figuring this out).
Either way, it’ll be standing room only when New Canaan comes to town Week 1.
Yes, you should be bummed out about this. Not just because sight lines will be a serious issue for a game of this magnitude, but because any chance to watch at game at the Surf Club is golden.
For the uninitiated, The Surf Club is a town park which lies off a narrow strip of road on a gorgeous piece of land off Long Island Sound in Madison. Strong Field, which lies across the access road from the field house, has been home to Hand’s football team for ages.
It has a reputation for being one of the best home field advantages in the state thanks to its rabid community support, the bone-chilling wind whipping off the Sound in late November, and (of course) it’s championship caliber football program.
Few opponents play at the Surf Club and live to tell the tale.
Since December, the complex has been undergoing a massive renovation, with field turf replacing grass, new stands, a gaudy pavilion lined with donor bricks and other amenities.
In other words, it’ll look a lot like New Canaan’s Dunning Field, fitting since the two schools are strikingly similar in size, demographics and championship pedigree.
Alas, Hand’s ‘evil’ twin won’t get the chance to inaugurate the field.
This development pushes back the official Strong Center at the Surf Club opener to Sept. 27 vs. Wilbur Cross.