The city promises that my little park will be just fine after it’s bulldozed to build the new professional youth sports complex. This is a relief because I would miss the picnicking next to the butterfly garden, our walks past the children’s memorial wall, and afternoon naps under the shady oak trees.
My park is a bit hidden and it always felt like it was a secret place for just the kids and me.
We do need a new complex for the children, though. The old complex is, like, fifteen minutes away. Us busy parents don’t have that kind of time. This new one fills a sports complex void in my town. And the old fields aren’t very professional,certainly not on the level that today’s high paid five-year-old soccer players deserve. There isn’t even a press box. No, we clearly need a new professional complex. Complete with soccer fields, baseball fields, and hopefully a Fortnite arena.
This new, very professional, very sporty, very youth complex isn’t cheap but can you even put a price tag on the hopes and dreams of children? Yes. Yes, you can. The cost of hopes and dreams involves eminent domain and city-issued bonds with tax incentives. Ignore the people that tell you eight figures is too much to grant wishes. They aren’t trying hard enough.
Within a year of groundbreaking, my little suburb can host the Olympics, which is surely already aware of my kid’s athletic talent. Go Team USA!
To build our new sports mecca, the useless forest across the street from my memory of our park has got to go. Those trees were only a little bit majestic. I don’t think this will affect our butterfly garden, but if I’m honest, aren’t they the freeloaders of the insect world? They certainly don’t contribute to the tax base of my town.
And although the houses that were surrounded by that forest are being torn down, I’m sure the residents that once lived there will come back and enjoy the new professional atmosphere that used to be their front yard. If they can afford the entry ticket, that is. There will not be any handouts as we are a bootstrapping kind of town.
Traveling soccer and baseball teams from all over the Midwest will play on these new fields. Traveling teams, which are very professional, means better players and better players mean that my kids will see what a real youth athlete looks like. I say that if you haven’t had your first Tommy John surgery by the time you’re ten, then can you really call yourself a ballplayer? My only hope is that the team doctors are generous with the opiate prescriptions so that everyone can play through the pain.
It is also my understanding that the new complex will bring in a lot of jobs and increase the city’s tax base. This is sorely needed for the paid professional coaches of these teams. I mean, they don’t work for free and perhaps a venue such as ours will give them the national exposure to land some important sponsorship deals. Not to mention the orthopedic surgeon’s offices that this will support, which will also be part of the new complex. They should be right next to the sports psychologist’s offices, near the concessions stands.
And shopping, we can’t forget about shopping. My little park doesn’t have enough shopping. A new shopping district will be built to compliment the fields. The other shopping center isn’t close enough. It’s across the street and there is no way you can get your Starbucks during halftime at that distance. And with shopping comes the hotels which are planned. My hope here is that these will provide additional shading for my park.
It’s almost quaint.
Overall, I’m excited. And the kids can tell because I keep talking about how they can see what dedication looks like in a six-year-old tackle football player as he rips down the soccer field chasing a butterfly that is looking for its garden. They know that I’m committed to them because I voted for this in the first place.
Or did I? Honestly, I can’t remember. The kids know that I love them, though, because I tell them when I get to see them in between our twenty-four practices a week.
I suppose that my park may change, which is America’s way. The city promises that they will upgrade it and install competitive slides. I’ll picnic now at one of the fine dining establishments and sit under the shade of a Best Western as I remember how things were before we treated youth sports as a big business. Either way, I’m sure we’ll always have the children’s memorial which will be located in the visitor’s locker room.
One can only hope.