Eric Bounds' view of Super Bowl XXXIX will be as clear as Tom Brady's and Donovan McNabb's.
The Staples-Motley High School graduate will be in the end zone for Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. He is the lead groundsworker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who play at Alltel Stadium, site of this year's Super Bowl.
"I believe our job will be to raise the nets as the kickers kick field goals and attempt extra points," Bounds said by phone the week before the game. "We will be able to see the game and we will have little duties, but nothing too major."
Bounds' duties during the regular season are major. He is responsible for caring for the turf at Alltel, watering, mowing and manicuring the sod as well as painting the field.
Alltel's turf was replaced after the regular season in preparation for the Super Bowl.
"It's not that the sod was bad, it's just that they do it every year for the Super Bowl," Bounds said. "They actually have a company that grows most of the Super Bowl sod. They ship it here on flatbed trucks.
"A crew comes with them. We rolled the sod out and laid it. We made everything straight and tight. It was an interesting experience. About 30 to 35 guys, either head groundskeepers or assistants at major facilities in either Major League Baseball or the NFL, and a couple from colleges, work on the field for the Super Bowl. It's an honor to be part of it."
Bounds said the honor included two 20-hour days of laying sod.
"Other than that we've been watering, covering the field," he said. "We had a cold streak. Cold for Jacksonville is like 30, so we had to cover the field.
Eric Bounds Age: 24
High school: 1998 Staples-Motley graduate
College: 2002 University of Minnesota-Crookston graduate
Parents: Mark and Peggy Bounds, Staples
"We also had to put in a practice field for each team, one at a local university, the other at a local high school, and we have to maintain those as well."
Bounds, completing his second season with the Jaguars, said a typical day for a groundsworker depends on the day.
"Either we mow the field or, if it's a game week, we start out getting everything straight to paint," he said. "We paint the yard lines, the numbers, the hash marks and work our way out to the logos.
"Otherwise, if it's a non-game week, we just mow and see if any sod needs to be repaired."
Following graduation from Staples-Motley, Bounds went to Wisconsin-River Falls for two years and planned to major in broadcast journalism. As a high school and college baseball player his dream was to broadcast major league games.
But he also yearned to work outdoors in a sporting venue so he considered golf course management. He transferred from River Falls to the University of Minnesota-Crookston, where he obtained a degree in turf management.
After graduation from UMC he was exploring the possibility of working at a baseball facility. Then he applied for a job at a golf course in New York.
"They kind of gave me the run around so I sent my resume to a baseball facility in Jacksonville," Bounds said. "They said they filled the position already but passed my resume on to the Jaguars, which is the position I'm in now."
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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