Sunday, April 24, 2005

"I gave up hockey for the campaign," Peduto says. "This is my workout."

In the Sunday newspaper feature, Bill Peduto was quoted.
"I gave up hockey for the campaign," he says. "This is my workout."

Bill isn't the only city resident to give up hockey. The city has a lone, indoor ice rink that had plenty of hockey teams -- until it closed. The closed rink behind the South Side Hospital, in the area below Quarry Field, used to be home to Pitt's club hockey team, the Penguins and even a NHL All-Start practice. But, it closed a few years ago. It sits vacant, idle, and with little hope of ever getting opened again under the current administation of Tom Murphy -- and present members of city council.

Bill is a hockey player. Bill knows our lone indoor rink is closed. Bill has done nothing to reopen the rink.

The rink can and should re-open without costing the city a nickle. The rink was operated by a private individual with a long-term lease. The city still owns the land and building.

I'm not a hockey player. But I want the community asset to open again.

Bill is a hockey player. He and others on council have done nothing to open the rink and be stewards of our resources, our assets, our programs, our opportunities, our youthful experiences, our volunteer capacity venues, nor our park spaces.

This goes to the lack of 'teamwork' that Bob O'Connor harps about. Bob is able to echo the chant from my rants in the past years. "They don't play well with others."

We, as parents, as coaches, as educators, as volunteers, as concerned citizens, as taxpayers -- and as voters -- need to see our elected officials engaged in solving problems, in making efforts, and in being productive.

The outcome in terms of being a hockey player in the city is -- no ice.

The program, HOCKEY IN THE HOOD, had a great feature on WQED's OnQ TV show. There are kids who get into vans in the heart of the city, trek to the airport a few times each week, fighting evening traffic, to play hockey. They should be able to do these activities in the city.

If you're in a "hockey family" -- you're going to move out of the city. Why not go to school at B.P. and walk the length of the parking lot from school to rink? Why not do the same in Mt. Lebo. Rinks are throughout the burbs. Hence, folks into that game go to the burbs, generally, if they have the family to enable that move. It is a no brainer.

Bill gave up hockey for the campaign. Peduto's hockey hobby was left behind because his professional calling in politics drove him to campaign for mayor. Implied is the meaning that the youngster, Peduto, matured and settled down for serious campaign efforts and a new challenge. Bill has skated away from lesiure sports to politics.

For me, the realm of sports in the city was such that I was called into politics. I too left the day to day of sports. But my sports, team, coaching quest of high performance and reaching potential helps to drive the campaign.

I walked straight to politics and a campaign and away from sports when I had had enough. My swim coaching retirement and efforts in politics has sports-minded goal. I want to fix sports because the system around here is broken and the public treasury is broke too. Plus, we might as well fix the rest of the city and region as well by injecting more freedom, liberties and free-market expectations as well. That's real competition, accountability, competitiveness.

I helped to rescue a floundering swim team that practices at the Oliver Bath House. The team, Three Rivers Aquatics, TRA, was set to close forever. The parent volunteer booster board was pulling the plug. Hosea Holder, the head coach, and I didn't let that occur. We moved to restore the team's operation in the summer of 1998 (or was is 99). I've been fighting upstream ever since.

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