Friday, June 02, 2006

Steelers field trip to White House -- and School kids could be indoors -- without a rain out 'field day'

Let's think again.

The Steelers are going on a 'field trip' to the 'White House' -- and are pumped by the 'educational value.' They want to explore some unseen rooms, as I heard in one interview. How cool -- learning about our nation's seat of power.

Meanwhile, today, the kids at our local public school, Phillips Elementary, had a 'field day' scheduled for Cupples Stadium on the South Side. We had dozens of parent volunteers in yellow shirts -- all with state police clearances on file in the school office. We had seven stations for the older kids (grades 3, 4 and 5) and another seven stations for the younger ones (K, 1 and 2).

My wife and I were set to manage the Javelin and Jump Rope station. The javelin is really just one of those foam noodles that are swim pool toys. They'll get a five yard run up and toss -- but it is more like a paper airplane flight and not brute strength. Jump rope -- also another skill spot counting max number of jumps in 30-seconds.

But all is down the drain today for the kids. The rain means we can't go.

This school field day is the third MAJOR rain out this year as the girls elementary school track meet and the back-up rain date were BOTH wash outs.

Wouldn't it be nice if the indoor UPMC Sports Medicine Facility where the Steelers practice could have been made available to the school -- just in case of rain as we've got today?

I'm not an angry one who holds a chip on my shoulder.... but .... I'm not the one to make that call to the facility managers.

For the sake of the new school administrators who have just moved to town -- understand that the facility should never have been built where it is located. That development was for an extension of the South Side, such as housing, flex office space, retail -- and new jobs. It wasn't geared to be an island of hanger sized buildings that have no community access.

UPMC has a hospital on the South Side, and has had it for years. To build onto the hospital would have been a wise move as doctors, like Dr. Fu, do surgery there at the hospital -- but not at the football training facility. And, behind the UPMC South Side Hospital is a closed indoor ice rink, a football field, an upper field, parking lots, and quite a bit of space that could have been devoted to sports.

I wanted the Steelers to move into an expanded UPMC Hospital -- not help to create a private drive on the edge of the riverfront with dwarf (non-regulation sized) fields.

Or, I wanted the Steelers to share a facility with So Vo Tech and Pgh Public Schools at South Side Stadium -- also known as Cupples Stadium. They could have built up that facility, put a roof over it, put in a parking garage and offices there -- with a nice view of the city right off of the Liberty Bridge / McArtle Road.

Then we'd be able to hold the events of the season indoors. And, the Steelers could have build a grass field on the top of the parking garage in the area too -- where we really need parking.

Meanwhile the Panthers could have held onto Pitt Stadium -- using it for practices. And the new basketball arena, The Pete, could and should have been built down Panther Hollow near the Parkway East and Hazelwood -- where the development is really needed. That would have been a cornerstone for Pitt's Riverside Campus.

Told ya so.

And today, as I chat with fellow parents of public school kids I say -- too bad the kids have a rain out when we should be in the UPMC / Steeler facility. None of them know what it is like in that indoor facility, with a small track. They've never seen it nor set foot inside. I have - for an opening day reception and a couple high-end seminars with the sports researchers / doctors.

The community leaders of today are clueless as to what was promised to the community a few years ago. We were told that we'd have access to that facility at least twice a month -- for 24 major events a year.


I know of a few instances when we could have had our dance card punched -- and ducked a rain out for the kids' sake. Today is one such day. Two weeks ago presented another couple instances.

If anyone wants the details -- call me. I'll explain and fill in the blanks. Or, email at the bottom of this blog entry.

I hope the Steelers learn all about Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, and others today. I hope they get a feel for the sense of space that has been protected and functional for a long time -- and isn't going out of style anytime soon, thank goodness. I hope they get motivated to learn more about history and politics because of their visit to 1600 Pennsylvania avenue. Perhaps in the future, another one of them will try to run for public office -- like old #88 is doing now in a quest for PA Governor.

Getting the Steelers into the realm of the real world political scene would be good for a lot of reasons. Perhaps some will make TV spots of endorsements and others will find it wise to drop a $1,000 donations -- or $10,000 ones -- to a few candidates for public office -- even a gym owner trying to unseat a long-standing state rep from the one-party ruling class.

Field trips -- isn't life funny at times.


Anonymous said...


Add the Allegheny County Parks on their too. The marble tournament was held in the pouring rain, while the kings of Grant Street sat in their offices. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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