If you’re wondering why West Salem High in West Salem, Oregon, decided to go with a black turf for its high school football field, than the answer is the one that usually comes up – money. The school was offered a price break of nearly $150,000 if it installed a black field rather than a green one, with those savings reflected in FieldTurf Inc.’s ability to avoid having to use died synthetic turf in its installation.
The turf features lines for the school’s boys and girls lacrosse teams sewn into the black surface, and also a green script “West Salem” and “Titans” in green in the two end zones, and the 50-yard center “WS” logo, also in green. Everything else is black, except for the team’s uniform. West Salem has traditionally played in an all-black outfit, but the school ordered a special new green home jerseys to avoid any complaints of trying to gain a competitive advantage by blending in with the background field.
But aside from the financial benefit, no one expeted it to be such a hit with the local community, eventually becoming somewhat of national news to football fans across the United States. West Salem athletic director Bryan Sutherland – It never dawned on me that it would mean as much to this community as it does. From what we understand it’s the only black field in the country. That’s really taken off over here.
West Salem football coach Shawn Stanley – I think it’s cool that we have a field that’s uniquely different. The goal was not to have something nice or have something different, but to have something that is safe for our team and safe for our opponents and the community.
Maybe a home game winning streak like the one Boise State enjoy on their “smurf turf” is waiting down the road for the West Salem Titans, joining the growing trends of playing on fields that look nothing like a long, grassy meadow.