There’s more to soccer…

I’m not a soccer fan. Paid no attention to the game at all until my son started playing when a local league was formed here in town. He just turned 34— and if he began playing as a six- or seven-year-old — that’s pushing 30 years ago.

Once Carson’s short career ended, so did any interest I might have had in soccer. That was until a couple weeks ago.

Even with all the hype over the World Cup I managed to ignore it until running across a news release from the University of Georgia, which led me to actually tune in a game to get a look at — the grass. Seems the turf they were playing on at one of the stadiums in South Africa was actually developed in the UGA research program.

Wayne Hanna, a world-class turfgrass breeder at UGA, released TifSport in 1997 and it was the grass of choice at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa where some of the World Cup games were being played.

J. Scott Angle, Georgia CAES dean and director, was quoted in the article as saying, “TifSport being used at this type of prestigious event is another example of how the innovations and technologies we’re developing in Georgia are being appreciated and used around the world.”

It would be interesting to know how many fans of the world’s most popular sport know or care where this grass came from: Probably only a handful of the millions. But every day researchers such as Wayne Hanna at Georgia and his counter-parts at other Land Grant universities across this country go about their business of improving life for us all. They’re probably under-appreciated, but they are doing a wonderful job.

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