Field of Dreams, Or Not So Much?

Thomas Rubino


NT, I come to you today with questions rather than answers. Sometimes a journalist is so defied against his inquisitive duties that he must cast off the shackles of his
self-perceived omniscience and embrace his own ignorance, however seldom it may
surface. I am dumbfounded, bewildered, and flabbergasted by our school’s policy
of keeping captive those hulking, magnificent beasts of iron that can be found
chained to the western wall of NT’s field. Perhaps they were once free to roam
the field, free to be dragged by aspiring athletes who would use them in order
to kick balls. But now they are confined to a life of misery, staring at the
walls of a magnificent field where they would prefer nothing more than to
simply move and experience the lovely artificial field.

If you haven’t realized by now that I’m referring to the school’s soccer and field hockey nets, don’t feel bad. That was a pretty outlandish exercise in personification and I do apologize for any stress it might’ve caused my dear readers. Getting closer to the point,
I’ve begged the question for the entire year, now: Why must the nets be chained
up for the majority of the time? I personally have no idea whether this is a
board-wide mandate, meant to be strictly abided by every public school in the
GTA, or simply the judgment of our school’s own administration. Given my
impressive lack of knowledge on this issue, we unfortunately cannot play the
blame game here, as fun as it is. All I can do is relay my frustrating
experiences and put together an argument in favour of a change of policy; a
change which would allow the public, as well as the NT student body, to enjoy
the wonderful facility we are so privileged to own.

I play soccer with friends fairly frequently and it really has become a problem to find a field worth playing on. At the time I’m writing this article, Toronto FC is 0 and 8. That means 0 wins and 8 losses to start the season – the worst start to a season ever seen in the MLS. I can’t help but think that our poor parks department is partly to blame
for this embarrassing record, in that the geography of our city itself is not
conducive for the incubation of homegrown talent. Every time I visit New York (which is
frequent since I have family there), I’m always struck by the wealth of proper
fields and basketball courts visible outside the windows of the downtown train.
Our school is very lucky to have one such facility in the form of the
magnificent turf field outside our school – a venue much less prone to
environmental degradation without requiring much maintenance. All I’m saying is
we should be able to take advantage of it.

If the nets were to be unchained, more people could come and enjoy the field on the weekend, barring any permit-backed reservations of course. Why should we care about other people’s recreation, though? Well, first off, it’s not just the surrounding community
but us as well. There’s a huge amount of highschoolers who would benefit from
some much needed physical release away from our constant busy-ness. But more importantly, our home field, complete with our very own nets, would be an amazing way to showcase our school and all the wonderful things it has to offer. Think of it
as a tourist attraction. More people visiting means more people interested in
NT which would result in the further growth of our amazing school and more
money flowing into it.

Now I’m no rocket scientist, but even I can recognize some of the reasons we might chain up the gates and nets. The main rationale I can think of is the possible threat of vandalism – delinquents loitering on the field, tossing beer bottles and whatnot, as well
as damaging the pristine soccer nets. But there are problems with this logic.
First and foremost, your average hoodlum is not deterred by fences unless they
have barbed wire on the top. Second, the fences we do have are easily traversed
by your average 7-year old. Third, who is going to try and destroy or steal one
of the massive soccer nets? I doubt even the most determined drunkard would be
willing to spend all night chipping away at one of the nets, never mind
attempting to steal it. Even the worst people out there recognize that a field
is a good thing that is entitled to a modicum of respect. I think we are all
underestimating human morals when we remain in fear over the possible
destruction that may be visited upon our beloved facilities.

I’d like to see a North Toronto where our field becomes a destination for people to be
active and enjoy what is truly an amazing place. I hope the field begins to
serve those who it was made for – the students of NTCI.