Another debacle in Warwick

Posted 11/10/21

Most of you have heard the story by now, but the Pilgrim High School and Warwick Vets bleachers were closed off last week due to a code violation. During a Toll Gate girls soccer game at Vets, a parent in the stands noticed that the bleachers had too

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Another debacle in Warwick


Most of you have heard the story by now, but the Pilgrim High School and Warwick Vets bleachers were closed off last week due to a code violation.

During a Toll Gate girls soccer game at Vets, a parent in the stands noticed that the bleachers had too much space between them and as a result, the school department was forced to close them off as well as the ones at nearby Pilgrim for the same reason.

This all came just days before the Pilgrim-Toll Gate playoff football game as well as Pilgrim’s Homecoming bash.

At the end of the day, things worked out as the Pilgrim staff established sitting and standing areas around the perimeter of the field and track. There was also an area for cars to line up and tailgate, capacity was not an issue. Everything ultimately was fine as the Pats rolled to the win.

I must say, though, what another epic shortcoming of the city.

Since the incident, I’ve had many people vent their frustrations to me, with some of them pointing a finger at the parent that spoke up.

Is the timing of the complaint annoying, inconvenient, unfortunate? Absolutely.

However, can a parent be blamed for pointing out a potential safety concern that should have been addressed years ago? Nope, not at all.

Again, of course I would have preferred to see the stands remain open for just a couple more weeks and to have them addressed prior to the start of the spring. We all would have, and the odds of an issue would have been small.

It is what it is though, and you can never justify risking a person’s safety. Regardless of how small the risk is, you just can’t do it for so many reasons.

I point the blame toward the city.

Just a couple years ago, the city cut sports from the budget and although they were able to scramble and come up with a solution, the stress that it caused the kids and families was atrocious.

Then the pandemic. It really was not until this fall season that we had any real confidence that kids would be allowed to play and even still, we are working around COVID and will likely have to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The city should have been bending over backwards to ensure kids would be guaranteed to have sports. You can’t control a pandemic, and money is always a pain in the butt to monitor, but we see pretty much every public school system in the country do just that every day without some of these issues.

Here is just another problem caused by a negligent public school system. Once again, the city has let its kids down.

Now, could it be worse? Of course, this is not a massive issue considering the games are still going on with people in attendance. The big issue for me, though, is the fact that such a simple task was once again overlooked and now it is impacting the community at a terrible time.

I give credit to the grounds crew over at Pilgrim, led by Scott Bayha and Jerry Habershaw. They worked hard at the last minute to keep things afloat and that is exactly what they did. All in all, Friday was a good night.

The way I see it, the high schools have to play the hands that they are dealt, and the city is the dealer. Unfortunately, for years now, the players at the table are being robbed by a crooked dealer … one that is not at all concerned about fair play.

I am coming in hot here, admittedly, but I have no shame in doing so. It’s so discouraging seeing these kids and families continue to have to deal with this nonsense. That’s what it is at this point. Repulsive, disgusting, nonsense.

How could the powers at be not occasionally check in on the grounds, communicate with the schools, you know, show some level of concern for the safety of others? It’s because they do not care. Plain and simple.

I’ve said this in the past when roasting the city and the school department and I’ll say it again. I’m no expert on the inner workings of their daily duties and I understand that nothing is as easy as it seems.

But to have bleachers failing to meet code, quite frankly, by such a wide margin for years? Ridiculous. Open your eyes and think. I’m no architect like the parent that complained is, but using my own two eyes I could have told you the bleachers were overdue for a look. They’re pretty darn old.

I look at next door neighbor Cranston.

Cranston just revitalized the field at Cranston West High School by laying down new turf, refurbished stands, all of that. The Falcons now have one of the nicest complexes in the state and you can just feel the pride oozing from the facility when you are there. Not to mention the partnership between Cranston Stadium and the schools. The kids in Cranston seem to always have top-notch facilities available that are also reliable.

Look at our other school in Johnston. The Panthers also have a wonderful outdoor facility that has also become a regular hosting site for high school sports. The community up there adores its facility.

Looking at those areas and then looking at Warwick, it is night and day.

This all brings me back to the Mickey Stevens complex which I have harped on a few times now. A little more than a year ago, it seemed as if the wheels were actually in motion for the city to overhaul the massive Mickey Stevens complex and give Warwick something to be proud of.

Fast forward to now, there is no news and no progress being made. The plot of land is continuing to rot as these other fields are aging at an alarming rate.

I’m not even a Rhode Island native, but I am angry when seeing these problems. So many of them are predictable and preventable, but again, the city is totally careless and flying by the seat of its pants.

You know what the worst part is? The city has been put on blast by people like me for years now and nothing has changed. What’s worse? Negligence or stubbornness? Right now, we are feeling the effects of both.

my pitch, column, sports


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