The Right To Play

Kim Chau


The sun is beating as athletes lace their cleats and get dressed for
their fourth game of the season. Their opponents begin to warm-up and routinely
our team starts our own. Coaches announce lineups while captains give their
last round of encouragement. This sounds like it could be any team from North
Toronto right? Well it is…this isn’t an article about how well our teams are
doing and how we can’t wait to defeat all of Northern’s teams. This article is
about how it is IMPOSSIBLE to get any practice time on the field and how all of
us (with the exception of boys rugby) pray to get at least one home game each

This spring has been a hectic season for North Toronto Athletics. It was the first
spring that we’ve had the opportunity to use the brand new field and transition
out of using Eglinton Park. For the most part, I think we can all agree that we
love having a field just outside of the school instead of having to travel to
the park just to kick a soccer ball. On the other hand, I think most NT athletes
can agree that it is a pain trying to figure out whether you have practice and
with how many other teams you have to share the field with.

In the spring, our school runs approximately five different teams that require the
field to practice and compete. That’s five different teams sharing ten possible
slots to practice; every day before and after school. Don’t forget to factor
out home games, shortened weeks and other schools that also use our field, leaving
us with let’s say eight practice slots. As kind, well spirited athletes, most
teams have decided to split the field with other teams compromising their
practice to let other teams work on a few drills of their own. One morning our
field hosted two girls soccer teams, girls rugby and track, not to mention St.
Clement’s as well as St. Monica’s track teams.

Yet what’s bothersome with the distribution of time slots is our generosity towards
neighboring schools. St. Monica’s, St. Clement’s, and occasionally Northern all
reap benefits of our field before NT students. We have difficulty finding time
to house our own athletic teams, let alone share our highly in demand field
with other schools.

In addition to all of the difficulty trying to book the field for practice, many
teams are forced to travel to vast ends of the city in order to compete. The
average school team plays about half of their games at home, while our athletes
are grateful to receive one. NT’s girl soccer team was promised the opportunity
to play all of their games at home, but when the time came they were only
allowed three home games due to scheduling conflicts. The ultimate team trekked
all the way to the upper beaches to play a game in the middle of a town house
complex and was only offered one home game this season. Many other teams have
seen the same trends including the girls rugby team who had to play a league
game at ten in the morning. NT, I think it’s time we look out for our own
athletics before reaching out to the community. If we could manage to practice
at Eglinton Park, I don’t see why anyone else can’t.