By Peter Skrumbis
The football team walked off Ted Slavin field after the game Friday with a strange bounce in their step. It wasnât because they were winning, but because of the millions of pieces of rubber beneath their feet.
The field has been the home of Harvard-Westlake athletics for 88 years, and has played host to many games and teams. Slavin donated the scoreboard after his son (Jarrett Slaven â03) graduated.
âI felt Harvard-Westlake was the greatest place for education there was, and I wanted to have my name linked to something here,â Ted Slavin, the primary donor for the field, said Friday. âTom [Hudnut] and I had lunch and he said âI have the perfect place…itâs the field…Ted Slavin Field.â And I just thought it was great.â
Slavin was present for the fieldâs first use under the lights.
âI havenât been here an extended period of time, but obviously putting in the field turf was a huge boost to the field because it allowed the field to be in good standing and good shape year round,â Athletic Director of Communications Terry Barnum said. âIt lessened the amount of maintenance and upkeep that we have to do for the field, and itâs just better overall for the kids.â
The field has played a key part in the athletic history of the school. Several marquee games have taken place on the ground adjacent to Taper Gym. The field served as the home of the 2002 girlsâ soccer team and last yearâs upset of Loyola by the varsity boysâ soccer team.
âAnother great memory of mine is that the field was the birthplace of our lacrosse team, which helped it move from a fringe club status to a full varsity program,â Athletic Director Audrius Barzdukas said.
Since its creation, Slavin Field has undergone several changes, including the addition lights, field turf, bleachers and a track.
âOne of the advantages of field turf is that after rain, the old field would get torn up and baked to a concrete consistency, and you couldnât do anything about it until the end of the year when you reseeded it,â Barzdukas said. âI think the even surface of the field allows better players to showcase their skills more.â
Barzdukas also said he thinks that the track is one of the fastest surfaces in Southern California.
âI would say itâs incredible to have access to a field like that for playoff games,â Barzdukas said. âThe other time that I see it as being an incredible advantage is that the field is not only a wonderful place to compete, but also during the raining season because I recall many times when that field was frankly not usable and practices and games were cancelled.â
âAs a school, we are committed to offering our kids the best, one of the ways it manifests itself is the field,â Barzdukas said. âPeople want to play here, work here and go to school here.â