Ever wondered what football in the Arctic looks like?
One mile north of my hut, three miles south of the northernmost point of land in the US, there is a stretch of land about the width of three football fields (width of the football field, not length). Barren and completely exposed, a fancy blue and yellow turf football field occupies one of those “widths.” This is Cathy Parker Field, the home of the Barrow Whalers High School Football Team.
A couple years ago a writer from ESPN came up to Barrow and did a story on the Barrow Whalers ( The Real Frozen Tundra). At the time the Whalers were playing on a big patch of dirt in town. Apparently the piece was so popular that it not only received an Emmy, but it also inspired Cathy Parker, a mother and football enthusiast from Florida, to raise over $500,000 to fund a turf football field in the arctic ( Save the Whalers).
One of my first weekends in Barrow, I made it out to a Saturday afternoon game. Amidst cold winds and snow flurries, the Barrow Whalers lost to the Rams from Monroe Catholic High School in Fairbanks, AK. Then, on October 8th, I watched the state semi-finals to see the Barrow Whalers take on Monroe for a second time and this time defeat them to head to the state championships for the first time ever! Less than a mile up the road, whaling captains were pulling ashore the first harvested whales of the season. Quite a day for all the whalers in Barrow!