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Soccer at the Ketchikan Rec Center
By Tony Gwynn


February 25, 2007
Sunday AM

To me, the disturbing aspect about the recent Rec Center-Soccer controversy is not with the Borough contemplating raising fees - but in the arrogant attitude that the soccer backers attacked the issue with.

First off, having a group that features several involved "soccer" people have power and control on an issue that effects soccer seems unjust and like a conflict of interest to me. I believe that the Ketchikan Gateway Borough assistant manager, the Borough Attorney and several of the school board and board members are all soccer advocates and parents.

I'm a fan of ALL youth sports. And think the Rec Center and all the gyms in town should be used for ALL sports. I'll keep this letter focused on the current issue and not even bring up the fact that soccer and basketball dominate gym usage in Ketchikan, while baseball/softball has to struggle for any indoor practice time. Course, the fact that every year several SE baseball players get division one scholarships and get drafted by the Major Leagues, while so many of our 5-foot-9 basketball players receive college scholarship every year . . . that's a subject for a future letter.

The issue here is either the damage that is caused by people kicking - full force - soccer balls off of the walls, glass walls, bleachers and floors. Or, that the growing soccer league is taking up enough rec center time that it is causing other sports to not have the time they've enjoyed in the past.

Let's not take the elist soccer view and look at it with some common sense.

If one particular sport is causing more damage to the rec center than others - then THAT sport should pay more to rent the facility than other sports. Common sense.

If one particular sport is requesting more time than other sports - then supply and demand determines the fee. Using an extreme example: if it costs X amount of dollars per hour to rent the Rec Center, a sport could come along and say "OK, we want EVERY single free gym time available for the next five years. Here is a check." (haha, then you can bet the soccer elitists would support a fee increase for the renting group!!!!)

In both cases, fees need to be adjusted to make the facility fair to ALL sports and not just have everybody bend over backwards to make sure soccer parents/coaches are satisfied. Shouldn't our Borough leaders do what is best for ALL youth activities and not just soccer?

If the people who run the Rec Center feel that fees need to increase (for whatever reason) because of one sport's usage of the facility . . . . then that is what should happen. End of story. Some times you have to suck it up and take one for the team. I ask you, what is going to happen if the sport responsible doesn't have to cover the increasing cost???

That's right - EVERYBODY else will have to eat it. The money has to come from somewhere. Instead of to the responsible party, the costs will be transferred on to ALL other groups who use the facility. So when the hourly fees or drop-in fees increase, or the rates for ALL non-profits are raised . . . . you'll know who to thank.

I'm sure I will receive some personal attacks in response to my letter, and that's fine. I grew up playing basketball, baseball and soccer. And my children currently participate in a multitude of activities - including playing soccer.

It chaps me that the Ketchikan youth sporting world cannot work together to do what is best for ALL sports. And from coaching, playing, watching and talking to league presidents, board members, coaches and parents, the "group" that seems to want to control the player participation and gym/field usage the most is - and it's not even close - soccer.

Come on people! Let's do what is best for the entire youth sporting community, and not just what's best for whatever our own particular favorite sport is!!!!!

Tony Gwynn
Ketchikan, AK

Received February 25, 2007 - Published February 25, 2006

About: " Fan of ALL local sports, not just one."



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