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The History of The Ohio State Buckeye's Horseshoe Playing Field

Are you an Ohio State Buckeye fan? Do you pride yourself on knowing the history of the team? How about the history of the Horseshoe and lawn that the team plays on?

The scarlet and grey team also known as the "Buckeyes" of course refer to The Ohio State University football team. Any Ohioan football fan knows that but what may not be known, is the history of "The Shoe" and the grass surfaces the team plays on.

The beginning of "The Shoe" or Ohio State's horseshoe-shaped stadium was decades ago. Before the OSU Horseshoe, there was a large field called Ohio Field, of naturally growing grass which served the needs of various sports activities of the students. Football at that time was new and not that widely popular. In time this changed. As football became more important. And a plan for a stadium was born since the bleachers on Ohio field could no longer hold all the spectators that were wanted to watch the games.

The OSU stadium was built of concrete and opened in 1922. Because it was shaped like a horseshoe, it was nicknamed the "shoe" The players played on a grass field. This grass more than likely was one of the types found commonly in Ohio which include bluegrass, perennial ryegrass or a fescue variety. Although the playing field was undoubtedly affected by weather conditions like rain, mud, dry conditions, etc. natural grass was used until 1971 when Astroturf was installed.

Astroturf might be what you think of when thinking of football since many schools used it at that time — initially created by the corporation Monsanto. The actual product name was "Chemgrass" More commonly by you and I and others, it was called Astroturf and was a "fake grass" made of synthetic fibers. Eventually different synthetic fibers were used. In OSU's history, it was replaced by "Superturf" in 1979. Generally, however, in everyone's mind, it was all called "Astroturf" until it gave way to make room for natural grass once again in 1990.

You might be wondering why replace a grass surface and all its previous problems with never needing mowed synthetics to bring back the natural grass and issues associated with rain and snow. Well, the short reply is they fixed it with P.A.T.

P.A.T (Prescription Athletic Turf) offers the advantages of playing on real grass that players prefer. For example, football is a demanding sport. Hard play is standard as are the resulting scrapes and bruises. Astroturf makes these worse because it doesn't have the softness of natural grass. But organic grass gets wet and hard to move on. P.A.T. grass means that under this natural grass is an installation of piping. Instead of just laying on top of a saturated wet, muddy field like before it soaks through to the piping and drains away. This also makes mowing and care more manageable. This is the current kind of grass used by the OSU Horseshoe Stadium providing us a more enjoyable experience as fans.


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