11 ways that Garcelon Field is the Bates place to be

The $2.6 million donor-funded renovation to Garcelon Field in 2010 has led to a lot of good things for Bates over the last five years, including tonight’s first-round NCAA men’s lacrosse game between Bates and Keene State at 7 p.m.

An aerial photograph of Garcelon Field taken during the Bates vs. Wesleyan football game on Oct. 11, 2014. (Lincoln Benedict '09)

That Garcelon is at a campus crossroads (Commons and Ladd Library to the south, residences to the north, academic buildings to the west, and other athletic facilities to the east) is apparent in this aerial photograph during the Bates vs. Wesleyan football game on Oct. 11, 2014. (Lincoln Benedict ’09)

The 2010 renovation featured a new FieldTurf surface; an aluminum grandstand for 1,500 fans including stadium seats in the center section; a larger press box; and four Musco light towers for nighttime play.

Today’s game is the first playoff contest ever played on the field since it was built in 1899 and named for a leading Lewiston and Maine citizen, Alonzo Garcelon.

Bates football was Garcelon’s only tenant for much of its history, and like its NESCAC counterparts, football does not play in the post-season. But with the 2010 renovation, and the lacrosse program’s move to Garcelon Field, the door was open for the field’s debut tonight as an NCAA post-season venue.

During dedication ceremonies in 2010, PA announcer Luke Wamboldt ’11 said the renovation was “an improvement not just for Bates athletics, but for Bates College.”

In that spirit, here are 11 ways that Garcelon is the Bates place to be.


1. A Place Where It’s a Great Day to Be a Bobcat

Made possible by Bates donors, dedication day in 2010 was a happy day that set the tone for an invigorated Bates place.


2. A Place for New Traditions

The Class of 2012 used Garcelon Field to begin a new Commencement tradition. Rather than the Historic Quad for their class photo, they chose Garcelon. And for the first time, the class formed their class numerals, as shown in this time-lapse video by Josh Ajamu ’14.


3. A Place for New Friends

Every game played on Garcelon Field offers a chance for a new Bates connection. Here, Paul Perry ’57, who played on the Bates football team that won the old Maine State Series title in 1956, greets Brendan Murphy ’11 as the Bobcats head onto the field for their Homecoming game vs. Colby in 2010. (H. Lincoln Benedict ’09)

Paul Perry '57, a member of the 1956 Maine State Series champion football team, greets Brendan Murphy '11 as the Bobcat football team heads onto the field for its Homecoming game vs. Colby in 2010. (H. Lincoln Benedict '09)

Paul Perry ’57, a member of the 1956 Maine State Series champion football team, greets Brendan Murphy ’11 as the Bobcat football team heads onto the field for its Homecoming game vs. Colby in 2010. (H. Lincoln Benedict ’09)


4. A Place to Have a Ball

The official stat sheet says the Bates baseball team makes its outside debut in February, down South or out West. But it can “begin” much earlier, like January.

“It’s unbelievably warm,” said Sam Maliska ’15, a righthanded pitcher from Palo Alto, Calif., as he and others threw the ball around on a rare warm day in January 2014. “I love being out here with the boys,” said Maliska, standing third from left in the photo below.

Last year’s January prelude culminated in the team’s first-ever appearance in the NESCAC Championships in May. This spring, the team has again made it to the NESCAC tournament.

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Varsity pitcher Sam Maliska ’15 (third from left), a psychology major from Palo Alto, Calif., pauses with teammates during an informal practice on Garcelon Field. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


5. A Place to Remember

After Bates student John Durkin ’14 died while studying in Rome in February 2014, his family and friends established the John Nolen Durkin Fund at the college.

In May 2014, his Bates friends held a benefit softball game at Garcelon Field, raising more than $2,000 for the fund. The second annual fundraiser is scheduled for May 16.

Blair Shrewsbury ‘14 pitches in the 1st annual John Durkin One Swing Softball Tournament on May 17, 2014, on Garcelon Field. Wally Pierce ‘14 looks on, at back. Over 2,000 was raised for the John Nolen Durkin Scholarship Fund. (Sarah Crosby/Bates College)

Blair Shrewsbury ’14 pitches in the John Durkin One Swing Softball Tournament on May 17, 2014, on Garcelon Field. Wally Pierce ’14 looks on, at back. Over $2,000 was raised for the John Nolen Durkin Scholarship Fund. (Sarah Crosby/Bates College)


6. A Place Where ‘Victory’s at Our Door’

The renovation of Garcelon has coincided with an upswing in the football team’s success.

In 2014, the Bobcats concluded their best four-year stretch since 1982. And that’s something to shout about!


 7. A Place Where The Games Go On

Careful plowing by Bates Facility Services helps to keep Garcelon Field snow-free during the winter semester so anyone can relish a bit of green space and dry ground — even if the “green” is polyethylene fibers and the “ground” is silica sand and rounded bits of cryogenic rubber!

And even if there’s a bit of snow in the air, the games go on.

Seemingly oblivious to the early April snow, ultimate frisbee players practice on Garcelon Field. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

Seemingly oblivious to the early April snow, ultimate frisbee players practice on Garcelon Field in 2015. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)


8. A Place that Makes a Great Impression

You have one chance to make a first impression — that could be a mantra of Admission tour guides, who know that a campus tour makes a powerful statement about a college’s attractiveness and value. No wonder that our tour guides lead their groups from the Residential Village to Commons by way of Garcelon Field.

An Admission tour guide leads a group of future students and parents on a tour of campus, passing by Garcelon Field on their way to Commons. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

An Admission tour guide leads a group of future students and parents on a tour of campus, passing Garcelon Field on their way to Commons. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


9. A Place To Chill Out

FieldTurf tends to absorb more solar radiation than grass, so Bates students know where to go for a cozy and warm microclimate on a spring day.

Bates students enjoy a beautiful 70 degree Monday to start finals week.


10. A Place to Take Time

Students of geology professor Mike Retelle took to Garcelon on a cold January 2014 morning to demonstrate visually how long it took for life to appear on Earth after the planet formed 4.6 billion years ago.

The idea was to use the 100-yard length of Garcelon Field to create a geologic time line. At one end, a group of students represented the earliest geologic processes, some 3.93 billion years ago.

Then there was a long gap, 70 yards or 3.3 billion years, to the next group of students way down by  the other end zone. They represented the relatively recent appearance of life, 600 million years ago.

At the 1 yard line, or 55 million years ago, a student represented the first primates.

“It’s crazy to see. Everything happens inside the 15-yard line,” explained Luke Combs ’15, an economics major and football player.

The depth of geologic history is evident: a few students stand at the beginning of Earth’s history at far left, then a long time goes by before the emergence of life, far right. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


11. A Place Where Things Are Looking Up

During a men’s lacrosse game vs. Bowdoin at Garcelon Field on April 2, 2014, fans who looked up from the action saw a line of Canada geese heading north for the summer.

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(Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

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