I saved this story because it is one that still embarrasses me. With our upper baseball field, we were not able to have a fence around it and so we struggled to keep people off of the field. We were lucky and had people in the neighborhood that would call us when someone was on the field. I lived 6 blocks away and I would come over and remove them from the field. Now before anyone starts complaining let me remind you of my law classes. There is a difference between public property and publicly held property. The sidewalk is public property and the field was publicly held and can be controlled by the school district. Every now and then we had someone complain but most were reasonable. We needed to keep it playable during the spring and summer seasons for our kids. There are legitimate opportunities for the community by getting a permit and agreeing to some rules regarding the property. This particular season we had only one group that was issued a permit. I checked with our Athletic Secretary and Cathy would always keep us updated.
I was at home and I received a text message from the neighbor of the field saying that there was a group on the field. I climbed into the car and headed to the field. When I got there I could see a huge production of practice and kids everywhere working on skills and generally tearing up the infield. I marched over to the guy who seemed to be in charge and was ready to confront him and give him the old heave-ho! I asked if he had a permit and he said yes and so I said I needed to see it. Knowing there was only one group allowed to use it I was feeling very proud of myself for protecting our property. He said he forgot it. I had no sympathy and reminded him that if he did have one it was required to be with you on the field. I started to give my speech about keeping things for our teams and that it was very rude to take and mangle our fields. I was a word or two into the speech when I took a good look at the helpers and the players. I then asked him what group he was with. Special Olympics was his reply. Two things then went through my mind. First, the Special Olympians were the group that had a permit. Second, there is a special place in hell for me since I tried o toss these kids. I felt so guilty that I pulled out a bunch of our equipment and helped coach for a couple of hours. It reminds me of the old adage: Look before you screech!