How many ballfields does it take to learn Readin’, Writin’ an’ ‘Rithmetic?!


 How many ballfields does it take to learn Readin’, Writin’ an’ ‘Rithmetic?!
 Probly after all the recent controversy concerning local coaches (comin’ an’ goin’) I should hold my piece and forgo this column? But then I’ve got at least two reasons not to do that. First, I pay those exasperatin’ (spelled “school”) real estate taxes, same as you. Second, holdin’ my piece wouldn’t have me tendin’ my little job here, aggravatin’ folks on a somewhat regular basis, would it?
 By happenstance I drove up the hill above the county seat recently. Driving past one of our (many) schools. There I spied some significant construction taking place out on the ballfield. Oh wait, make that One of the ballfields! Glancing around, (weavin’ across lanes, causing my passenger to “EeeK!” out loud) I attempted to get some idea of the size and scope of those magnificent athletic fields.
 As many of you probably already know, I’m not a sports nut so I’d never paid much attention before. Turns out I had to drive down the hill, whip around and come back (a little slower this time) to gain a better perspective. Just in case you never took time to notice, the athletic grounds up there above Honesdale are Huge!! 
 I took the chance on being run off by an errant coach or school board member (arrested maybe) cruising slowly through the entire area. I was simply fascinated (flabbergasted!) at the lush expanse of acreage all those fields take up!
 Laid out across many acres of prime hilltop real estate, where there was once open land and homes (on the tax rolls!). These grounds are not only “off the tax rolls”, but generating (sucking in) millions in real estate tax dollars every year! Apparently to invest in..., well, more ballfields?
 I didn’t have a pencil stub or scrap of paper with me to make notes. But I figure I must’ve counted eight (8!) different fields devoted to sundry athletic pursuits! Football gridirons, baseball diamonds (five or six of those, plus battin’ an’ pitchin’ cages!). Track and field trials areas, complete with regulation surfaces and structures. Maybe half a dozen tennis courts, bleachers, grandstands. There mighta even been badminton courts or archery ranges out there, I’m not sure? Like I said I was just doin’ a cursory (that’s trespassin’ slightly) survey.
 Wow! Was I impressed (spelled: pi...., well, never mind).
 Several little out buildings that I expect were for concessions. Maybe equipment storage? Naw, not big enough to house equipment for all the endeavors those sporting fields implied. Nevertheless, one does hafta keep the burgers, cokes, snacks (beer?) somewhere right? Oops, beer’s only for adult softball leagues, sorry. I do understand attending parents need nourishment to keep their strength up while cheering (cussin’ coaches an’ arguin') at the games.
 All this got my curiosity up. So I tooled on over to the big lake and my (short-lived) old alma mater. Just wanted to see if the ballfields down there were as expansive (alternative spelling for Expensive) as our county seat ones? (close).
 Not wanting to attract too much attention I didn’t stay long. Not willing to risk someone whipping out a cell phone to report my skulking. I wish I’d had one though. When I drove onto the lot a huge SUV (with an NEA bumper sticker) ran the stop sign at the entrance (tryin’ to run over me?). Musta gotten a call about me from Honesdales own schoolyards? 
 Now here’s what’s bothering me.
 In olden days, I attended another fairly large school (1500+ students). We had a ballfield too, A Ballfield! Located halfway between the new high school and the lower-grades school. It was roughly a quarter mile (PT Run) just to get there! Had a baseball diamond on one end, football gridiron on the far side. Somehow our (multi-field deprived) teams managed to win championships with some regularity (not the point here).
 What I actually remember as important is that (while the ballfields gathered dust) we spent most of our time cooped up in (non air-conditioned) school houses, Learning!! Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and more! (see, I Can spell ‘em).
 I believe educating children is (one of) the most important tasks we’re faced with as citizens. And I’m certainly aware that “...our children are our future...!” Someone’s spoutin’ it all the time (mostly educators, while raising taxes). Somehow I’d rather have their parents and the educators accomplish this (leavin’ me out?). While easin' up some on spending (squanderin’) my (your) tax dollars gettin' it done?
“I Don’t Know About You...” I wonder, just how many ballfields does educatin’ require?!
Cal Teeple, Now on the Web! Go to: wayneindependent.com/cal  And still found three stools down being ignored, accosted and commented to. But it’s more fun on the Web!