endure another season in an outdated, shabby and decrepit facility --
To say the place has seen better days is an understatement.
Memorial Field is a dump in need of some serious cleanup.
Along with the stadium itself, the grass playing surface at
Memorial Field is so bad, Burroughs boys' soccer Coach Mike Kodama
has moved his team's home matches to Luther Burbank Middle School,
instead of the Indians' home venue.
And when the Bulldog and Indian track and field teams begin their
seasons in the spring, they too will have to compete on running
surfaces that are a complete joke.
It seems with all the money earmarked for construction and
renovation at the Burbank and Burroughs campuses, none of the funds
have found their way to the football field or running tracks.
It's estimated that it would take two years and roughly $2.5
million to replace the existing playing surface at Memorial Field,
and the tracks at both schools.
It would be money well spent.
A synthetic football field would benefit not only the football and
soccer programs at Burroughs, but teams at the other two high
schools, as well.
The renovation and construction project at Burroughs is costing
$56 million, and the improvements at Burbank should come in at about
$48.7 million. There is hope that after work is completed at both
schools, there might be enough money left over to build running
tracks or modernize Memorial Field.
But don't hold your breath that any funds will ever be available
for the track and football projects.
Because the existing venues are in such bad shape, two
long-standing local high-school events have had to be moved or
The 30th edition of the Burbank Invitational track and field meet
in 2003 had to be moved to Burroughs because of the ongoing
construction at Burbank.
Last year, the meet was canceled altogether.
The event was shelved because Bulldog track and field Coach Darin
Wolf contends that without an all-weather track, it is tough to
attract teams to the invitational.
For years, Memorial Field has been the anchor facility for another
event -- the annual Burroughs-Brandt Boys' Soccer Tournament -- which
features top talent.
However, for this year's installment -- which will be played in
December -- not many matches will take place at Burroughs. Instead,
Kodama has moved the majority of contests to St. Francis and La
Canada highs -- which both have artificial playing fields -- and
That's pretty embarrassing for a school to have to put on its own
tournament at other sites because its home facility is in such poor
The football and track and field athletes at our local schools
work extremely hard and put in a tremendous amount of hours to train
and compete for themselves, and their schools. It's just too bad that
some have to deal with sub-par facilities.
They deserve much better.
* JEFF TULLY is the sports editor of the Burbank Leader. He can be
reached at 637-3245, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.