Field day

Even in a location completely surrounded by beauty — the shimmering blue Lake Washington, the immaculate Virginia Mason Athletic Center and the rolling green hills and mountains — there might not be anything in Renton as captivating as the three perfectly manicured fields that reside at the Seahawks training facility.

A month of seemingly endless preparation is paying off, as the Seahawks’ three outdoor practice fields are in prime condition for the opening of Bing Training Camp, set to begin with the first practice on Saturday morning.

“They’re definitely ready,” fields and grounds manager Sean Vanos said of the trio of lush green fields today.

The works of art didn’t just happen. Vanos and his crew of four assistants have worked tirelessly since the final minicamp five weeks ago to get the fields in tiptop shape. Their first-class condition is extra imperative now because they’ll be used for essentially six months straight through the end of the season, including a set of 11 practices in the first eight days of camp.

Workers put the first coat of paint on the field on Monday, and will apply a second layer of white paint on Friday, less than 24 hours before the Seahawks’ opening practice. Using words like “dense,” “well-rooted” and “firm,” Vanos declared the fields in perfect condition thanks to the month of rest for the grass and the lack of rainy weather — “whenever we can control the moisture, it helps,” he said.

As the most challenging month of the groundskeepers’ year approaches, summer’s definitely over for Vanos and his crew. With workdays that start before 5 a.m. and end around 9 p.m. for the duration of training camp, Vanos jokes that he drives to and from work in the dark.

“But it really is a lot of fun to do what we do,” Vanos said.


Workers paint the lines and numbers on the fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Monday afternoon as they prepare for Bing Training Camp and the 2010 season.


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