My emotional connection to baseball began when the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 1980. Watching the home team go all the way in an amazing sport I had until then never even noticed made for thrilling moments I will never forget. But I learned to love baseball in another way the following year when my father took me to my first game at the late Veterans Stadium. I still remember walking up the seating-area ramp, seeing for the first time a field of green turf and perfect white chalk lines fanning out below me, and falling in love with the very aesthetics of baseball.
Baseball playing surfaces are just some of the many components of sports equipment and facilities that are standardized by ASTM Committee F08. In fact, the first standard the committee developed after its formation 35 years ago was F 355, Test Method for Shock Absorbing Properties of Playing Surface Systems. As you can tell by its title, this standard is not about aesthetics, but about safety.
Safety was the goal of the founding members of F08, who saw a need for standards after attending a conference on injuries in American football in 1968. At the time, players were experiencing catastrophic injuries including death and paraplegia at an unacceptable rate. The committees second standard (approved in 1975), F 429, Test Method for Shock Attenuation Characteristics of Protective Headgear for Football, was just the beginning of their attempt to address and help solve this tragic problem.
Since then, the scope of Committee F08s activities has grown by leaps and bounds. The feature articles in this issue (covering headgear, fitness equipment, and playing surfaces) highlight a mere taste of the committees activities. These range from subjects
impacting professional athletes (gymnastics and wrestling equipment, ice hockey) to your own recreation (camping softgoods, trampolines).
Also of note in this issue is an article on the important role played by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in both helping F08 target areas where safety is an issue and participating in the development of standards that address those issues.
In its 35 years, F08 has enjoyed an expansion of activity level and key stakeholder participation of which any technical committee anywhere in the world would be proud. Congratulations, not only to F08s past and present members, but to all of us who have benefited from their hard work.
Editor in Chief
Copyright 2004, ASTM International