Hayward Field grandstand has seen its better days, by Austin Meek, Register Guard, note by Kevin Mangan
Monday, 09 April 2018 12:00

Hayward Field grandstand has seen its better days, by Austin Meek, Register Guard, note by Kevin Mangan

Written by RG- Austin Meek
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I'll always remember the first time I watched a meet at Hayward Field. It was the 2009 USATF Championships. By this point I was well on my way to becoming a track lifer, but watching that meet from the East Grandstand probably tipped me past the point of no return. I've since had the privilege to watch many other meets at Hayward Field, NCAA Championships, Pre Classic, Pac 12 Championships and the crown jewel Olympic Trials, all but once from right above the 1500 start in section Q on the backstretch. It's now looking like the East Grandstand will soon be just a memory, but hopefully the new design captures the feel and history of the original structure. It's where Coach Bowerman would sit and watch the meet, his athletes walking up the steps to talk with him after their events. It's where countless fans watched Prefontaine become immortalized first as an athlete, then as a legend. And it's where I finally became resigned to a life in the Track & Field world. With shingles falling off the top, the 2018 NCAA Championships seems likely to be the final meet overseen by the iconic East Grandstand...

In the course of a conversation about the future of Hayward Field, someone asked me a question that’s been stuck in my mind ever since.

This person, one of the principals in the Hayward Field renovation, asked if I’ve ever watched a track meet from the East Grandstand. I had to admit that for all the time I’ve spent in the media tribune and the mixed zone, I’ve rarely set foot in the most hallowed and historic part of the stadium.

 

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