Until recently, Martin Elementary School had baseball and softball teams but no permanent place for students to practice.
So, like every good coach, William Cammarata considered the opposition and assembled a starting lineup to create a winning play — a field for the elementary school.
With the help of other parents and the school’s business partners, Cammarata found someone to grade the field, someone else to donate the bases and he donated the dirt and sod. And not just any old grass, Martin’s student athletes will be running on Bermuda sod, the same stuff that’s used at Turner Field and on practice fields for the Atlanta Falcons, Cammarata said.
As a volunteer coach, Cammarata said finding a place for the teams to practice had been difficult before.
“When available, they would practice at some of the local parks and recreation fields,” said Tamara Etterling, principal. “But it (was) difficult to find places to practice because there are so many teams in Hall County and we all have to share facilities.”
So Cammarata, father of two Martin students, decided enough was enough.
“I got tired of the Martin teams not having their own space to practice,” he said. “The school had the (land), but not the money for equipment or the grass.”
If the school system had to foot the bill for the project, it would have cost at least $30,000, he added.
Although the students are happy to have their own field of dreams, Cammarata said he isn’t content to stop there. He’s now working to get batting cages and lighting for the field.
“This project was a dream and not even (on our) radar due to major budget cuts,” Etterling said. “We have a true partnership with our parents at Martin — they are wonderful.”
According to Etterling, the field has become more than just a place for kids to play.
“Many parents work and do not have the opportunity to be a part of the school day,” she said. “The field allows parents, teachers and students to come together after school and on the weekends as a community.”