LAUSD sports fields lose their trim looks amid the coronavirus shutdown

After nearly two months of closed campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District, some sports fields are beginning to resemble Iowa cornfields because coaches are barred from mowing or taking care of their fields and gardeners are missing in action.

At Monroe High, the baseball infield has grown so tall with grass that you could lie down in a game of hide-and-seek.

At Chatsworth, the junior varsity softball dirt infield is filled with weeds. Ditto for the varsity softball field. Coach John Forgerson said he was told to leave the field four times in seven weeks when he tried to help with maintenance. He said that was the final straw in helping him decide to resign Monday after six years and two City titles as head coach.

“The field is destroyed,” he said. “It’s embarrassing.”

Taft’s baseball infield is also looking like a mini forest.


The district closed campuses in March during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting fields back into shape is certainly going to take effort, money and a lot of gardeners.

An LAUSD spokeswoman said Tuesday, “We are working on catching up to landscaping and maintenance issues.”

At independent charter schools in the San Fernando Valley, coaches at El Camino Real, Birmingham and Granada Hills have been allowed to take care of their fields. Birmingham baseball coach Matt Mowry said he comes in, has his temperature checked by the school nurse, fills out an information form and then gets to work mowing his infield while wearing a mask. A gardener works on the softball field.

“It’s a thing of pride,” Mowry said. “They are like our babies. They are part of us.”


Matt Matuszak, the baseball coach at Granada Hills, said he mows his field once a week and must alert school administrators before he arrives on campus.

Josh Lienhard, the baseball coach at El Camino Real, said he spends one day a week cutting his school’s field.

Since no games will be played any time soon, does it really matter if weeds and tall grass are filling up fields?

Well, some parents looking for schools this fall might think so, because a field’s appearance usually says something about a program’s attention to detail.