shared space

this is a rant like so many rants
started... not finished
never shared
let me take a glance at it then hit PUBLISH AND POST

shared space... public space... kids and adults using the same space

DC and its newly renovated astro turf fields are a concept of "shared space" that may need some mediation

to the users of these fields there is a often conflict

groups of adult pick up soccer games start to feel a sense of entitlement as the meet on a semi regular basis

while there is a simple rule that these players like to over look


sadly... sign or no sign
this concept gets over looked

yesterday I had conflict with a group of soccer players

I was short and sweet... "sorry... we have this field reserved for a kid's soccer practice from 6:30 to 8:00 on Thursdays"

then I was attacked with an onslaught of rationalizations, falsehoods, and fabricated ideas why they have a right to the field and when the kids' right to the field ends

they tried to tell me that the kids had the field until 6:30... which is when the after school program ends and frees the field up

they tried telling me they had the field reserved

there were all sorts of people saying all sorts of stuff

really... no one was listening to anyone
they clearly were not listening to me
they were demanding that I prove my claims
while doing nothing to verify that they had any claim to the field
other than being there and being bossy

this needs to be sorted out
this will not sort itself out

I tried to fetch the school principal to sort it out

in the end I took half the diminutive field and they got half the field
letting them know that they should expect us here every Thursday for the rest of the season

once we started practice on our side and they played on their side
a woman from the front office wandered out and set things straight moments after a woman from the after care program came out set them straight

the most vocal of their group was not present to hear the backing of my statements

update since then...
on that night we split the field...
we each took half of the diminutive field... which worked fine
especially since we had a slight showing for the first practice of the season that happened before a holiday weekend that had people fleeing town

it seems that one of the players involved in the discussion went to see if he could RESERVE the field
or maybe he went to check to see if there was any documentation about our kid soccer team had the field reserved
there was nothing "downtown"
all that was done with the school principal...

which has me going through a process more formal that asking the principal and getting permission
instead... I have filled out some forms to allow usage of this field at this time
a bit of a hassle... well... maybe just a hoop

but in the end...
this may not help the pick up soccer players
I do not think that they will be able to reserve the field
as the first priority will go to the school community
after all... we put time and money into having this facility renovated
and after all... it is the campus of our kids school

I foresee more conflict
in short...
a number of teams with school age kids will put in requests to use this field
then there need to be days where the fields are open for FREE PLAY... walk ons... if these adults are here on a regular basis for their pick up games... there will not be a time for the kids to get on the field at play

which defeats the purpose of the fields

I appreciate the adult athlete
I am an adult athlete
I do not feel that the adults should take the field at the expense of the children

some schools have posted signs... FAMILY AND CHILDREN HAVE PRIORITY
but really
the adults just muscle on just the same
non-verbally intimidating the children until they just do not feel comfortable and they go elsewhere

over the summer I experienced this at a number of fields around the city
all of which were turf fields at schools where neighborhood kids were unable to play because adults were dominating the space

what does this show...

for adults and children...
grass fields need to be available as well as turf fields
and the players need to take a responsibility
not just use... but contribution
some of that contribution will be in the form of understanding the concept of SUSTAINABILITY

not to play on grass after a rain or when the fields are wet
then of course... respecting the other park users... ESPECIALLY CHILDREN
then finally... keeping the area clean

that is enough for now

hopefully this all sorts it self out and people can get back to chasing the ball around

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