Editorial: Barrington sports volunteers snubbed again

Posted 4/11/19

Here’s the good news: The Barrington Town Council created a new committee to draft a report that discusses how the town can improve and maintain athletic fields, acquire more field space, and …

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Editorial: Barrington sports volunteers snubbed again

Posted

Here’s the good news: The Barrington Town Council created a new committee to draft a report that discusses how the town can improve and maintain athletic fields, acquire more field space, and also explore the possibility of constructing a new artificial turf field in town.

Here’s the bad: The council decided against allowing any leaders of the town’s youth sports organizations to have a seat at the table.

The decision to snub the sports leagues from a voting role on the new Ad Hoc Advisory Athletic Field Committee is hard to explain — even the resident who was appointed to the committee as the lone member of the public seemed baffled.

“I was shocked,” said Anthony Arico, in an interview a day after the April 1 meeting. “I feel bad for the leagues. I’m happy about the election and I’m honored … but I think it should be all of them (on the committee). There’s four youth leagues and they should all be at the table.”

Of course the youth sports leagues should have a spot at the table. In fact, two youth sports league presidents — soccer’s Steve DeBoth and lacrosse's Bill Horn — applied for positions on the committee, but were left out by the council. 

Some council members countered, saying the committee’s meetings will be open to the public and everyone is invited to participate. But more importantly, those leagues — the same leagues that use the fields more than anyone else in town — should have be integrally involved in crafting a vision for recreational field usage in Barrington..

Instead, the council filled two seats on the committee with council members and two more with members of the school committee. That makes little sense, when considering that any plan or recommendation that is created by the ad hoc committee will eventually need to go before the town council and school committee for final approval.

This is at least the fifth time town officials have given the town’s youth sports volunteers either a cold shoulder or a rude welcome in the past year. It’s quite clear the town does not value youth sports the way it once did … the leagues are a burden, and their volunteer leaders a nuisance. It’s an odd position for what was once the preeminent family community in this region.

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.