Concerned About Youth League

(08/09/2002)

Dear Editor,

I am writing with a concern that many Calhoun County parents share. I have lived in Calhoun County for many years and my husband is a life long resident. We have one child that attends elementary school here. She is involved in many activities including Youth League Cheerleading.

I was shocked when I read the school board had voted that the youth league would not be able to use the new field at the Middle/High School. The comment was made that the field was "too fragile" for them to play on it. I would like the school board to explain how the field is "too fragile" for youth league players who might weigh 80-120 pounds. but not too fragile for the Middle/High school students who I'm sure weigh much more.

Our youth league is currently practicing at the old Wayne Underwood field. We have no complaints with the field itself. However, we currently have no water and no electricity which leads to no bathroom facilities. Our kids are using "the rest room" anywhere they can find a little privacy or their parents are taking them to Foodland to use their rest room.

The entrance to the field where our fans and the opposing team is supposed to enter is completely destroyed. They could still enter there but would have to jump approximately 2-3 feet to the ground.

There are no bleachers for the home fans to sit on. They were removed and taken to the Middle/high School for the opposing teams fans to use! So basically the opposing teams fans are being treated better than our home fans and players.

Also, I don't know how the games will be called as the steps to the booth have been removed and there is still the problem with no electricity.

Another concern of mine and many other people is the concession stand, or lack there of. The concession stand at the old field is dilapidated and disgusting. It has been in bad shape for years but is worse than ever now. It is filthy and doubt it could ever pass a health department inspection.

We all pay taxes in this county and we all expect to be treated equally. We are not asking to be treated better. We are only asking that we be treated with respect and not as "second class" citizens.

Surrounding counties allow their youth leagues to play on their high school fields. I have relatives and friends in the surrounding counties and am personally embarrassed and ashamed for them to come to Calhoun County to play under these conditions. I'm sure they would all be shocked.

I'm sure some people will make the comment that if conditions are this bad then why don't we all volunteer to "fix up" the field. Most of the parents of the youth league athletes are already volunteering to the maximum. I myself am a volunteer cheerleading coach. We should not have to "fix up" the old field when we have such a nice field at the Middle/High School.

A lot of these youth league players will go on to play football and cheer lead at the Middle/High School.

I wonder if anyone on the school board has a child in the youth league? If they did, perhaps the vote would have been different.

I urge all parents of youth league players and cheerleaders to attend the next school board meeting and voice their concerns regarding the condition of the old field and the use of the new field.

You will also be seeing petitions to sign at local businesses regarding the use of the middle/high school field. I hope everyone concerned about this issue will take time to sign one.

Regards,

Patricia Laughlin, Concerned Parent