Friday, May 15, 2009

They Have a League & Are Looking Simply for a Field of Their Own

Interesting piece in yesterday's Star-Ledger. North Brunswick High School has a softball program for its female student-athletes. The girls have passion and at least a modicum of skill. According to the article, "The softball team at North Brunswick High historically has been mediocre -- this year's team, which did not qualify for the postseason for the sixth consecutive year, is 5-8 after a 3-0 victory Wednesday against Middlesex." What they appear to lack is support. And what they most certainly do not have is a field of their own.

For the past several seasons, a confluence of events - some avoidable, some not - have come together to leave the Lady Raiders without a home even when they have last licks. And the girls have been vagabonds for quite a long time - since 2003. Put that in perspective for a moment if you will. There are high school seniors at North Brunswick High (Class of '09) who have played softball for four seasons and have never had a legitimate home game. Imagine that if you will. You are a 15, 16, 17 or 18 y/o girl who gives up the time to participate in an extra-curricular activity at your school and you cannot ever enjoy playing it on your own home field - in front of your friends and family.

One wonders simply how much open space is needed to carve out a softball field for a high school girls team. Apparently in North Brunswick the answer to that question is never quite enough. This year the team is practicing and playing games at Community Park, which is apparently quite a nice locale. Too bad for the players that the name Community Park means what you might think it would mean, which is that the fields in the park need to be - and are - available for use by a number of other teams.

Kudos to the kids who participate in the high school program at North Brunswick, irrespective of the apparent inability of the adults who oversee all things educational and recreational to do anything other than take two steps back for every one step they take forward. For Nicole Gibbons, Michelle Pietrocola and their teammates - many of whom will never get a chance to play a "home" game, their frustration is understandable but - in spite of all they have endured - their perseverance and pluck are commendable and laudable.

And there used to be a ballpark where the field was warm and green
And the people played their crazy game with a joy I'd never seen

A simple dream really, right? And an easy one to root for coming to fruition.


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