Barbarians on the field!
Our little town has achieved front page status in the New York Times (check link – I think it’s working) via an article by my friend, Peter Applebaum. Peter wrote a fair and balanced story covering the issue but I tend to side with our town’s chief of police who is quoted in the Greenwich Time this morning as disapproving the kids’ argument that it’s a choice between whiffleball and heroin. Reminds of that idiotic ad campaign in the 60′s (or maybe early 70′s) showing an unattended car with its key in the ignition and the tag line, “don’t help a good boy go bad”. I was very much not good boy during that period, but even I could appreciate that good boys wouldn’t be tempted to do evil by the sight of an easily-boosted car.
I sympathize with both sides here. The kids were bored, and Greenwich is truly boring for kids of that age, so they did something about it in an enterprising way. The neighbors want peace and quiet, however, and that’s being ruined by the noisy games. It will take a wiser man than I to decide this one fairly – in the meantime, the neighbors could pray for rain.
One commentator below expressed disappointment that I don’t side more strongly take the kids’ side – I was focusing more on the dumb threat one of the kids made that, if they weren’t allowed wiffleball they’d just turn to drugs, but the merits of the case itself probably fall in favor of the kids. Heck, we had a pretty-much non-stop baseball game going on in my backyard in Riverside long ago, with an ever-changing lineup as local kids showed up, played a few innings and went on to other things (drugs and alcohol? I think we were too young) and were replaced by the next player. I’m sure our games made a lot of noise but somehow the adult neighbors survived and amazingly (this was 40 years ago, in another era) never complained. For that matter, and again to demonstrate how different is the world we live in today, we had at least two broken arms from bat-body collissions, another couple of broken arms from kids falling out of the big tree in the outfield, and not one of the parents brought suit. Imagine that.