“Car rides to the Waterbury (softball) field were never boring, but always a hassle,” said Megan Sargent, a former Harwood softball player. The softball field has always been off campus until this year. The new softball field will be used this spring, if the Vermont weather allows that to happen. The infield is in, the backstop is up, and foundations are set for dugouts.
Sue Duprat, the Athletic Director, said she was “all but begging for a softball field her whole career.” Duprat and Fred LaRock, the legendary softball coach, got a promise from Ray Daigle, the Director of facilities of Washington West: they were going to get a field on school ground in a year. That was two years before Fred passed away in June of 2012, a total of seven years ago.
There was a setback to the original plan when Daigle left Harwood and his replacement did not follow up with planning and budgeting. The process of planning started right back up due to the return of Daigle at Harwood.
“The two best times to plant a tree are two hundred years ago and next best time is today,” said Duprat. The next good time rolled around when they started clearing trees for the new soccer field.
The new soccer field was built because the original soccer field was just unsafe to play on, half of the field was on the infield of the baseball field. They asked how much more it would cost to build a softball field, since the trees were already cleared, and so the process began.
Once the field was done, Duprat stood on home plate. “I looked back at the school and my eyes watered up as I thought about Fred and how happy he would be to finally see this field,” she said.
Duprat said that Title 9 helped herself and Ray Daigle, to get the field as well as Daigle’s push. Title 9 is a law that was passed in the mid 70’s.
“It covers a lot of things,” said Duprat.
If a school uses federal money no matter where it comes from than they can’t discriminate between genders. “You have to treat each the male and female activities fairly,” said Duprat.
“We’d constantly be missing someone when we needed to leave school, and we definitely forgot people at Harwood a number of times- they’d miss practice, and couldn’t play in the next game because of it,” said Sargent. Softball players no longer have to worry about that struggle.
“Yeah, a field at Harwood would’ve been nice,” said Sargent.
LaRock gets his dream and will be looking down on the players as they play on that field this spring.