Dennis Clayton

Dennis Clayton

Last week I shared in both my column and feature about the Dudy North wiffle ball field as well as the fields that I grew up playing on that were located on the farms of the Simpsons and Yates families. My family actually had a field of dreams for our sons as well, we had a multi-purpose field that was host to many exciting contests and games for teenagers. 

Our family had been involved in a dairy operation from 1947 until 1993 so we have over 140 acres on our farm. We have a section of land that is behind our house that has been used for summer grazing, winter grazing, hay field and now has our vegetable garden on it. 

However, in the mid 1990's we transformed it into the first full-scale soccer field, football field, ultimate frisbee and kickball complex. Lots of good times were had there by our sons and their friends with many stories still told about the fun they enjoyed. 

My task at hand after the boys and I agree to build the field involved first getting the grass down to a manageable height and then laying off the dimensions for the field. You might think, hey that's no problem, but that amounts to 120 yards in length and 80 yards wide, so that's a pretty sizable chunk of real estate there. 

Plus, at the Clayton household, we abide by the World Cup regulations, so we strictly adhered to the 110-120 length and 70-80 yard width. We don't cut any corners, we go international all the way when we play futbol. 

My field layout was a bit tricky because I had to work between two terraces so while our field was a rectangle, if you looked at the overall pasture, it was kinda dropped in there at an angle, but we made it work.

It's amazing what you can do with a baling wire/duct tape mentality when it comes to improvising. I kinda came by this naturally as my dad seldom threw anything away that he thought could be reprocessed later on a piece of farm equipment. 

He'd always say "don't throw that away, I may be able to weld that onto something" or "put that over there in that pile, we may need it one day for something." 

The next project was trying to figure out the goalposts and since the cost of metal pipe ruled it out, we had to figure out something else. Our conclusion was to use pvc pipe with elbows for the overall mouth of the goal and we installed a T in the middle and ran a pvc brace down from that.  

All of the pipe was mounted over metal T-posts, remember that I earlier mentioned how my dad was awesome at repurposing things, yeah, we inherited that trait too when it came to the T-posts. 

The only thing official that I had to buy was the nets and I don't event remember where I bought them, but after an extensive search pre-iPhone period, I was able to secure that and again we used our repurposing skills by using old electric fence wire to tie the nets up to the pipe. 

We often reminisce about the fun and good times that were had and although it was a lot of work plus a lot of upkeep, our field was definitely worth every bit of it. 

Hey, our soccer field served as our landmark for years and actually many more years after even though we tore it all down. I could not tell you all the people that would ask "Are you the guys that had the soccer field behind the house there on the farm?" Yep, that was us and after we built it, people came and played on it, just like in the movies. 

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