Here we are, just a few days away from spring and there are empty fields everywhere – yet teams are struggling to find fields to play on.
It’s maddening. This picture is from a park near our house, recently purchased by a church of all entities, that sits locked up and empty most evenings of the week. And yet teams in this area are unable to find field space to practice on regularly.
It’s a common thing. And it is absolutely absurd. We understand that everyone in the world is out to make money, and that field rentals is part of the game – but are we seriously locking up fields and having them sit empty until someone can cough up even more money?
We even know people who have done their own field maintenance, transformed an old rotting field back into a facility for practice, only for the field to get caught up in some ridiculous red tape that ultimately leads to 12 sets of feet being unable to practice on it.
It’s hard to imagine that we, in this day and age, when kids spend more time in virtual reality than in reality, when kids spend more time indoors than outdoors, making it difficult for kids to get outside and play ball.
Political and financial gains have a great many fields locked up with no trespassing signs on them, turning our youth away for practice.
Not every travel team, not every family can afford field rentals on top of everything else. These are softball and baseball fields for goodness sake. They are meant to be played on. They are meant for our youth. They are intended for the recreation of our young generation.
Again, we understand that everybody, every entity – is out to make a piece of the pie. We get that softball and baseball and sports in general are a lucrative business.
But are we seriously stooping as a society to having our fields locked up and overgrown with weeds, rotting from non-use rather than played upon and practiced upon by our younger generation. All in the pursuit of dollars? Insane. Just insane.
As an organization that tries to empower our youth to get outdoors and play, that encourages these young athletes to live their dreams and play their game, it is sickening to see the greed and political prowess that seems to go hand in hand with field use.
For Gods sake – OPEN up the fields and let them play.
There was a time during my childhood, when kids would meet at an empty field with their balls and gloves and bats, and play a sandlot style game until we were told it was time to come home. The fields were not locked up tight. The neighborhood kids did not have to pay to use the dirt and the grass. and some of the best memories of childhood came from those practice fields.
Again, we totally understand that everyone wants and needs to make a little money. We also understand that field maintenance and care takes time and effort – but I don’t know of any teams that would be anything but grateful for the opportunity to play on a field. In fact, I know firsthand that there are a great many teams that would do the field maintenance, pick up the rocks, mow the grass for the opportunity to practice.
We beg you. If you have a field…open it up and let the kids play! Invite local teams to play on it. If you need to make a little money, choose reasonable fees. But whatever you do, don’t bold them up and let the kudzu take over.