In West Salem, Oregon, a small community has rallied around a. . . high school football field. Seriously.
The field is the only one of its kind in the United States. It’s black.
“It never dawned on me that it would mean as much to this community as it does,” West Salem athletic director Bryan Sutherland told the Statesman-Journal. “From what we understand it’s the only black field in the country. That’s really taken off over here.”
They call it the “Black Hole,” and it was installed not to be different, but to be economically responsible.
To wit: the school was offered a discount of nearly $150,000 if it went with a black field instead of a conventional green one because the company that manufactured the field, FieldTurf Inc., would not have to use dyed synthetic turf in its installation.
And so it was. 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. Well, everything except for the team’s uniforms. While West Salem has traditionally played in an all-black outfit, the school special ordered new green home jerseys to avoid any complaints of trying to gain a competitive advantage by blending in with the background field, a charge that was brought against New Braunfels (Texas) Canyon High last year, after it installed an all-red surface.
“I think it’s cool that we have a field that’s uniquely different,” West Salem football coach Shawn Stanley told the Statesman-Journal. “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.”