Lash's Place- Downey News!

Lash Stevenson – Downey Sports Hall of Fame inductee

By Bill O'Neill

   In the "old" days in Downey, there was a special something that held school-age kids together, and distinguished us from young people in surrounding communities. For want of a better term, let's just call it the Viking Spirit.

   Did we really fancy ourselves as bold Norsemen, who sailed out of Scandinavia in wooden ships, in search of new lands to conquer and plunder? Well, not exactly. But we did take pride in the Viking mystique. We weren't "Jackrabbits," or "Lancers," or "Colonists," wearing some ridiculous orange or yellow or pale blue. Our colors were maroon and white, and we were the VIKINGS! You might sometimes outscore us; but you could never make us quit, or make us hang our heads in defeat. There was just something about our town, and something about our school, that set us apart. We fought hard, we fought cleančand usually, we finished ahead of those who were less proud, or less dedicated.

   No one person embodies the Viking Spirit more fully than the Haircut Specialist of San Mateo–the newly-elected member of the Downey Sports Hall of Fame–Lash Stevenson. Lash grew up in Downey, inspired by the legends of elite athletes like Jim Hagey, the McCaughan brothers, Jimmy Hearn, David Rodriguez, and Jim Ball. He garnered a slice of fame of his own, as a 145-pound center on the CIF Championship Team of 1956. One of his most prized possessions is a game program from that season, autographed by his celebrated teammate, the legendary Randy Meadows.

   Fifty-some years later, Lash is doing his part to keep the Viking Spirit alive and glowing, in his much-visited "Lash's Place" Internet website. He is one of the "movers and shakers" in the Downey Sports Hall of Fame; and his own enshrinement is well deserved.