Saturday, August 1, 2009

Details on the turf field, and Chris finally weighs in

Good article in The Undercurrent this week on the details about the new artificial turf field being installed at BICS. Turns out that the materials being used for the field are entirely recyclable and even biodegradable which seems like a bonus. Seems like even if the field was ever completely taken out, it would be a simple matter to replant the area with grass. That's good news, but probably not good enough to bring peace to the raging debate here. Actually it hasn't so much been a debate as an extended protest and counter-protest, and folks are now so entrenched that there is very little chance of minds changing on the issue. Seems people are either opposed to the field at all costs or in favour of it. Those opposed cite environmental, financial, political and cultural reasons for their opposition. I find some resonance with some of those objections, especially the notion of what it means culturally to have an urban type amenity in a rural setting. On the other hand, I enjoying playing football as does my wife and son, and we will be grateful for a safe playing surface on which to play. Caitlin has already sustained two injuries on the pitted and chewed up natural grass field, and she hasn't been alone. I have a funny ambivalence about the whole enterprise, that strikes me as unusual. I would probably prefer NOT to have a field, but as we are getting one, I'm happy to use it.

What I am most interested in with respect to the field debate is the way that folks have been vilified, slagged, denigrated, investigated and blamed for what has happened. This happens in the Online Forum and it happens on the sidelines and elsewhere face to face. The whole process has had more than it's fair share of name calling and witch hunting and I have heard outright lies and speculation about friends of mine from other friends of mine, on both sides of the debate. That has caused me to distrust and remain aloof from any of the vigorous support or opposition to the field. On several occasions, as I was defending a friend from a character attack, I was lumped in with one or the other camp. The issue is so polarized now that if you see it in any shade of grey, anyone that cares just sees you as blacker or whiter than they are.

So that's why I haven't weighed in on the issue with any kind of forcefulness. My only plea is to stop the personal name calling and I ask people not to speculate on other people's motives without asking them outright where they are coming from. Gossip, innuendo and speculative slander really does nothing to advance ideas, but it's a dandy way to destroy community, the very thing both sides say they want more of. And in this plea I mean BOTH pro- and anti-turf folks. I don't expect my plea to change many minds, but I think I'm not alone in wanting people to find some way to move to a more sophisticated level of engagement with each other.

So, I finally weigh in on the debate, right in the middle of the scale.