An Aug. 4 Sports article incorrectly identified the former RFK Stadium groundskeeper who helped run a field-maintenance workshop for high school coaches and grounds crews in the District this week. His name is Tony Burnett, not Tony Bennett. (Published 8/5/04)

Maintaining and preparing athletic fields for competition may look simple, but it requires equal parts science and commitment. The process can be further complicated in cash-strapped public school systems such as the District's, where schools have limited funds for equipment and small staffs.

So, in conjunction with the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association sponsored a free, all-day field maintenance workshop for its coaches, athletic directors and grounds crews yesterday at Eastern High. Retired RFK Stadium chief groundskeeper and consultant Tony Bennett was on hand, along with other members of the stadium's grounds crew, offering instruction and hands-on demonstrations.

In the first half of the session, Bennett talked about how to cut grass for different sports and how often to water, fertilize, aerate and seed fields. He also discussed the best way to line fields for competition before workshop participants headed to the field for a demonstration.

"Our desire is to give them the background that allows them to do their jobs better," said Bennett, who retired in 2001 after nearly 40 years at RFK. "We want to make sure that they have the knowledge about what should be done so that they have a better product."

The seminar could not have come at a better time for Anacostia football coach Willie Stewart, whose field and track are undergoing extensive renovation. He brought along the school's groundskeeper, so they can make sure the field is prepared when the football team plays its first home game in nearly four years in mid-October.

"This is especially helpful with our getting a new facility," Stewart said. "Now, I know a little more about how best to take care of the field. With all the money being spent, we want to make sure our facility is around for a lifetime."

-- Judith Evans

At Eastern High, former RFK head groundskeeper Tony Bennett (purple shirt) gives a few pointers.