CHRIS ERSKINE / FAN OF THE HOUSE

An expert in his field, he creates his own Rose Bowl and Super Bowl

Geoff Thran is a football fan who does more than just watch the game. The Altadena resident transforms his yard each year into a replica of the field for the Rose Bowl game and, a month later, for the Super Bowl.

So you think you did a pretty good job decorating the yard last weekend, right?

Check out Geoff Thran's holiday display, his field of dreams, with markings that mimic the real Rose Bowl so well that you have to look at the adjacent yards and sidewalk to confirm it's actually only 40 feet long.

To Thran, his replica Rose Bowl is an annual art project, an ode to the game he loves. He likes to do it all himself, starting with the right fonts, then tracing the logos themselves by flashing them against his garage wall.

A full-time high school teacher and part-time Rose Bowl groundskeeper, he'll get advice from Rose Bowl turfmeister Will Schnell over at the stadium, five minutes from his Altadena house.

The replica Super Bowl field, which follows his Rose Bowl field a month later, is more challenging to a perfectionist such as Thran. In the past, he's called the Super Bowl venue to be sure he's got the end zones laid out in the right directions.

"Unfortunately, I look at football games in terms of which teams I want to paint," he says with a laugh.

In fact, the Giants and Patriots have come to bore him. When the two teams met in the Super Bowl two seasons ago, he almost skipped the game in protest.

His recipe?

•A St. Augustine base peppered with a little rye to green it up in winter.

•The goal posts are half-inch metal conduit, curved with a standard pipe-bender, then spray-painted.

"I just kind of get my stuff at OSH," says Thran, 45.

It doesn't cost much — the paint mostly. Once he's figured out the logos and fonts, the field itself takes Thran about 15 hours.

Let's take a quick timeout here to nominate Thran for ESPN's new Fan Hall of Fame, an idea suggested here many Warren Moons ago, now coming to fruition.

"Fans are the lifeblood of sports," the network explains in its release on the hall, now in its second year. "We revamped the website and built a robust back-end system to support user submissions and votes on mobile, tablet and desktop — and feedback across multiple executions."

I get a little buzz when I hear talk like that. Multiple executions? Is there a guillotine involved? Don't even get me started on robust back ends.

I'm not much of an expert on such gibberish, but I do know a real fan when I see one. I'll nominate this Altadena father for a spot in ESPN's Fan Hall of Fame. It's too late for this season; voting on the 10 finalists ends next week (fanhalloffame.com). But wait till next year.

Thran's obsession started early, with replica fields he made on poster board as a kid. When he was 12, he did his first Super Bowl tribute, for the 1980 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams.

"Ironically, at the Rose Bowl," he points out.

Each year, he'd update the field, often painting over the poster board from the previous year, occasionally replacing it when it became too layered and worn.

When the Crescenta Valley High grad moved to Northern California for college, he let the hobby drop.

Connect
Advertisement

VIDEO