Jul 102008

Just up the road from Greenwich is Fairfield where Wiffle Ball was invented. Across many summers, kids found vacant lots, and turned them into baseball diamonds and whiled away the days. But apparently in Greenwich, Liz Pate, who’s building a new house, wants peace and quiet when she gets home at 6pm. So, after some kids in Greenwich cleared a vacant and overgrown city lot to play a little wiffle ball, here came Liz and a bunch of adults to spoil the fun.

According to a report in the NY Times 16 year old Vincent Provenzano and 17 year old Justin Currytto wanted a place to play some wiffle ball, so when they saw the overgrown lot, they decided if they built it, they would come…

But, alas, they had no idea just who would come…youthful Wiffle ball players, yes, but also angry neighbors and their lawyer, the police, the town nuisance officer and tree warden and other officials in all shapes and sizes. It turns out that one kid’s field of dreams is an adult’s dangerous nuisance, liability nightmare, inappropriate usurpation of green space, unpermitted special use or drag on property values, and their Wiffle-ball Fenway has become the talk of Greenwich and a suburban Rorschach test about youthful summers past and present.

Liz is building her house next to the field, so she doesn’t even live there yet…and never mind the noise and mess made for the other neighbors as her house is being built, but I’m sure she thinks that is just fine. According to Liz, “I’m all for Wiffle ball and apple pie and baseball and the American flag, but there are plenty of fields in town they can use instead of building something in people’s backyard. If I come home at 6 at night after working all day, I want peace and quiet. I can’t have that. I have dozens of people behind my house playing Wiffle ball. If their parents think this is so great, let them play at their house.

Where I live in Tampa, I’m in close proximity to the YMCA and a city sports complex. We have people parking on my street in front of my house when there’s a lot going on at the Y and the ball fields, and at night I can hear the PA system and the cheering coming from the field. So the “plenty of other fields” in Greenwich are in someone’s backyard. Liz, if you want peace and quiet you don’t live in town…you buy a large farm out in the country and move out to where you have no neighbors. That’s the way the world works.

And it seems the town is all worried about liability issues, but that may have some foundation. Apparently a doctor was awarded $6.3 million a few years back when he broke his leg in two places while sledding with his 4-year-old son. Well, shame the damned idiots on the jury or the judge who made a stupid award like that. Hey dumb-assed doctor…guess what…scooting down a hill on a board with some metal runners under it ain’t the safest thing you can do. You might get hurt…oh, but someone probably didn’t post that sign, so the Doctor’s stupidity has a value of $6.3m. I hope it was enough for him to retire. If he’s that stupid, I hope he’s no longer practicing medicine.

So, thank the lawyers for taking away a summer of creative loafing and fun for kids, and forcing them inside to sit alone and play “Grand Theft Auto.” Then we’ll all cry later on because the next generation doesn’t know how to socialize.

I mean really, what were these kids thinking. This has to be organized. There has to be a team of adults there fighting and sqabbling and setting up the leagues, and picking the players. How do they think this is helping their SAT Scores? It’s not part of the summer program.

We have clearly completely lost our collective fucking minds. Liz, I’m sure people all over America would just love to have you as a neighbor.

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