My Pitch

New fields could open many doors

Posted

In the last few weeks, I have been hearing some reports and rumors regarding the city potentially creating new athletic fields and amenities for local athletes.

Some of the plans include new turf fields, new stands, and potentially an entire recreation center placed at either Warwick Vets or at Mickey Stevens.

If these rumors and plans come to fruition and the city does revitalize its athletic facilities, that would be an incredible gift for the local sports scene.

Less than a year ago, Warwick public schools almost lost their sports due to the budget crisis. What better way to make it up to the kids, coaches and fans than to offer them a new place to play?

I’m all for the idea, especially since it will allow access for kids from both Pilgrim and Toll Gate. Since the first day I started working here nearly two years ago, and I literally mean the first day, I can’t tell you how many people have mentioned the fields in the city and how they wished they would be revamped.

More and more kids in the city are leaving to attend private schools, especially those who play sports.

Perhaps new athletic fields and facilities would be a selling point to stick around … I have seen it numerous times in the past, nothing gets kids more amped to compete than running on to a new field, or celebrating in a new locker room, etc.

A new athletic facility may also attract new families to the city as well. As much as I love sports, I do always believe that academics should come first in high school.

But, the reality is that some kids and even parents prioritize sports just as much, if not more, than education. Offering brand new, state of the art facilities alone could be enough to sway a family in one direction.

I’m a little biased as a sports person, admittedly, but I do feel like the city and its athletes could use a major overhaul of its fields and sporting locations. It would be a fantastic way to bring the city together, generate some buzz, and gain an advantage over neighboring communities. These kids deserve it, so my fingers are crossed.

Now, I do have some reservations though.

I am not a money person, nor do I have extensive knowledge of school and city budgets, construction, taxes and all of the that.

I will say, as exciting as the proposition is on paper, it does leave me a bit perplexed. Less than a year ago, the city claimed that it did not have enough funding to offer sports … now, it is proposing a multi-million dollar revamping?

It just makes me wonder where the money will come from and what possible issues could arise. As I said, there may be an easy answer, but from the periphery, I am a bit puzzled.

Also, and this is a lesser issue, but I would not want to a possible union between Pilgrim and Toll Gate sports.

This has also been a regular conversation in the city since I have been here. I have heard both sides of the argument.

By merging the two school’s sports programs, it would pool enough talent to make Warwick a powerhouse across all sports.

On the other hand, the numbers would be very large and it would make it extremely difficult to make the roster in many of these sports … not to mention the fact that the Pilgrim-Toll Gate rivalry would officially be caput.

I am for keeping the schools separate, even if that means that the numbers are a little low and they have to compete at the lower divisions. I would hate to see kids, especially seniors, not make the team just because the numbers are so large. Not that that would happen in all sports, but some for sure. I also love a good, inner-city rivalry, and Pilgrim-Toll Gate is among the best in the state.

So, overall, I am all for bringing in a new plan and creating new, expansive facilities to the city. Sure, I am apprehensive to an extent, and these rumors are still based mostly on circumstantial ideas, but if the right decisions are made and things go smoothly, this could provide a massive boost to the city, beyond just the mere fact that it would give kids a new place to play. Bring it on.

I have a few middle school topics to hit on.

First, I was sad to see the Vets girls basketball team get eliminated in the first game of the playoffs.

The Hurricanes were the state’s most dominant team in the regular season, going 14-0 and only having one or two competitive matches along the way.

However, they were stunned by visiting Gaudet 45-37 after getting a first round bye.

It was one of those games, it just seemed like the Hurricanes at some point were going to take over. Gaudet held the lead for the entire game and controlled the paint, shot well, played sound defense. It was clear from the get-go that they were game, but knowing how great Vets had played all season long, it just seemed like a matter of time before the girls took off.

They never were able to, and Gaudet pulled off the upset.

Although the girls I’m sure were heartbroken, this is one of the losses that will carry with them as they head off to high school.

Much of the Vets roster was eighth graders, so these girls will now head to the next level as hungry as ever.

I truly believe that losses like that are beneficial. Don’t get me wrong, a win is always better than a loss, but for the long term, a loss like that could pay major dividends.

A few of the Vets players were sick, which didn’t help, but now they will know how quickly things can change in a season and how fast success can be washed away.

Kids are told this from the time they first start playing sports, but experiencing it first hand is something that just can’t be taught. Either way, Pilgrim and Toll Gate will be receiving one heck of a freshman class next season.

Next, the Vets wrestling team went on to take third place at states while Winman finished 13th with two individual winners.

Wrestling is a very underrated sport in my eyes, and to see both middle school programs have so much success is awesome to see. Pilgrim and Toll Gate will be set for years to come as well.

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