Empty Recreational Fields

December 16, 2013
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As you remember, yesterday I talked about year-round sports.  Today I am exploring another aspect of this trend.  You will notice that most municipal athletic complexes stand dormant for much of those vacation days of summer.  The older kids don’t have the time to spend at the pool or on a recreational field just having fun.  In days gone by, there would have been no open fields.  Somebody would have been playing baseball or softball on it.  Today you can drive by Liberty Park most nights of the week and the ball field is empty.  Why is this?  The high school kid has had practice starting as early as 5 a.m.  He/she then goes to work and then most will report back to their school sometime in the evening for more of the same or a different practice.  How much time does that give them to really do fun things?  If this trend continues, I can see a time when a high school varsity team will have just enough kids to participate in games with almost no subs, because the kids will have said “I’m not going to put in all this time and not play.”  Unfortunately, it is already creeping in to some sports.  This past year Batesville had to really scout to find a full freshmen football schedule.  Many girls sports only have varsities because the girls have already decided that the time needed to be a reserve athlete does not fit into their schedules.  When a young person decides not to participate, they loose interest and they find a much easier path for recreation instead of calling friends for a “pick up game”.  Worse yet, some of them begin to loiter in wrong locations.   We all know what that leads to.

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