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W-L Softball Parents Demand Better Field

by ARLnow.com — August 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm 5,250 141 Comments

A group of parents are threatening to file a Title IX complaint against Arlington Public Schools for what they say are inadequate and inequitable facilities for the Washington-Lee High School girl’s softball team.

Parents say the team’s field — located in the public Quincy Park, near Arlington Central Library — is not regulation size, is in poor condition and is frequently befouled by dogs and homeless persons. Parents are demanding better facilities — at least in line with the baseball team’s field, also located in Quincy Park — or else they may file a formal discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

While the W-L boys baseball team utilizes a regulation-size field, parents say, the softball team must make use of a field designed for and used by adult men’s slow pitch softball games.

“The dimensions of the skinned slow pitch infield are too large for fast pitch softball,” parents wrote in a letter to school officials. “The outfield fences are about 100 feet too deep.”

Also, parents say, the softball field lacks a press box, a PA system, a pitcher warm-up area, a flag pole (for the Pledge of Allegiance) and adequate bleachers — all of which the baseball field has.

The field itself is rutted and in such poor condition that it “represents a hazard for the girls who must play there,” the letter continued.

“The softball infield, unlike baseball, is rock hard and drains poorly,” parents say.

“Unlike the baseball field, which is covered in the off-season for maintenance and more consistently maintained during the season, the softball field is never covered, the outfield grass is mowed infrequently… and the infield often is improperly lined for high school competition on game days,” the letter said. “Umpires this spring threatened on at least one occasion not to allow games to be played for this reason.”

Additionally, parents cited various security concerns, like the half-mile walk from the high school and the lack of security lighting or an emergency call box.

“On at least one occasion in 2011 when the varsity team returned home after an away game to use the storage facility in a dark area… girls were surprised by a homeless person sleeping near the storage shed,” parents wrote.

Parents say that homeless individuals frequently sleep in the dugouts, which cannot be locked, unlike the boy’s baseball dugouts (pictured, left). “Drug paraphernalia” was found in one of the unlocked batting cages this spring, they added, noting that they’ve been told the cages cannot be locked because Quincy is a public park.

Further, “the unsecured softball field at Quincy is used as a dog park; the presence of animal waste on the field (often tracked into the dugout) represents a public health hazard,” parents wrote.

Yesterday the school system asked the group for another two weeks to respond to their letter, which was sent on Aug. 13, according to parent Christopher Prins. The letter was sent after months of dialogue between parents and school administrators.

“If we don’t hear back by Sept. 9, with something substantive that advances this discussion, then we will move forward,” Prins said. “We don’t like being blown off for essentially five months.”

Assistant Superintendent Meg Tuccillo says the school system has “limited green space” in which to accommodate student sports, but they nonetheless “intend to work with the families.”

“All I can tell you right now is that we are in communication with parents about their concerns,” Tuccillo told ARLnow.com in a brief phone conversation. “We’re actively looking into the matter.”

Prins said the parents have a good relationship with Arlington County, which oversees Quincy Park, but they expect the school system to provide better facilities. Ideally, they say they’d like a practice field on the Washington-Lee grounds to be converted into a new softball field.

If the team has to stay at Quincy Park, Prins cited Greenbrier Park, near Yorktown High School, as an example of a clean, modern baseball and softball facility within a public park. Parents requested that the W-L girls play there temporarily, Prins said, but they were turned down by school officials.

Despite the additional amenities, Prins acknowledged that the baseball field at Quincy Park suffers from its own set of problems.

“I’m certainly not suggesting the boy’s facility at Quincy Park is a model facility either,” he said.

The girl’s softball team plays in the spring. A blog was set up earlier this year to advocate for better softball facilities.

  • Lee-n-Glebe

    That sounds nasty, especially the dog stuff.

    • jan

      What is it with some dog owners?

  • BeachCruiser

    Civil rights? This can’t be.

  • Shane

    Is this some sort of joke? You REALLY think I’m supposed to keep my dogs off the softball field so that it can be preserved??? In a PUBLIC PARK!!???

    Look, my partner and I are fine with bringing our dogs over to one of the dog parks in Arlington, when we’re meeting up with friends or something. But the “dog parks” are segregationist at root. Ultimately, our dogs need a real space to exercise themselves. So we let them out onto OUR softball field at Quincy Park, where they have a lot of room to roam and yet we can keep an eye on them while we get some work done or have some couple time.

    At some point, softball players and enabling parents, stop blaming the dogs. Blame yourselves. W-L softball players, have you called up the cops when you see a homeless person, so you can get them arrested? Have you gotten out onto the field to scoop up animal droppings–so you don’t have to worry about that during the game? Have you plowed and resodded the field that you supposedly need to meet your elevated standards? I think we all know the answer is “no, no and no”.

    But now we taxpayers are supposed to give even MORE money to the schools so you can play in a venue up to your standards? So you can play with pride in front of the 4 or 5 non-parents who show up to watch? I. Don’t. Think. So.

    • JamesE

      The cops don’t do anything about homeless people, too busy making revenue off traffic crimes to care.

      • Bob

        What are “the cops” supposed to do about “homeless people”? It is not a crime to be homeless, much to KKev’s dismay. It is also not a crime to be in a public park. I suspect you will take this a step further and allege that said homeless people are committing other crimes/rules violations such as drinking in public and camping. I know for a fact those issues are enforced, but there is a limit to the results. The base reality is that, even with repeated harassment and prosecution, homeless people will continue to be homeless and spend time in urban public parks, and alcoholics and such will continue to engage in their offensive behavior in public. If you don’t like encountering homeless people, I suggest you move to bucolic Whitlash, Montana.

        • JamesE

          labor camps

          • Richard Cranium

            Taser practice, perhaps?

          • JamesE

            I like your style

        • Uhhh

          What do homeless people offer society? Nothing.
          They are a cancer to society and should be flushed down the toilet.

          If they are mentally ill then I understand and they should be in a facility that cares for the mentally ill. Otherwise stoning them to death should be legal.

          Any sane homeless person that isn’t at least trying to better themselves and instead is lazy seeking handouts is a worthless piece of nothing. In case you can’t tell I dislike perfectly sane people that choose to be homeless and choose to pan handle, which is illegal by the way.

          • Bob

            Unfortunately, panhandling is quite definitely *NOT* illegal on either the county or state level here.. Please feel free to quote a county or state code section to the contrary.

    • T

      Easy there, Tiger. If the baseball field is kept in decent shape, why shouldn’t the softball field? This is a standard Title IX debate.

      • Joe

        Scouts might actually show up at the baseball field to check out players. The field needs to be in decent shape so the scouts can get an accurate read on a player’s potential.

        When there is “major league softball” with over a billion dollars in annual TV revenues, then sure, it makes sense to boost up the softball field. Until then, don’t punish the boys over your jealousy at being a minor sport.

        • yards555

          Again, as I posted in my comment below. As a former WL Baseball alum, i know the field is in such good conditions because the baseball players spent hours maintaining the fields before and after practice…

          • Bk

            And they have that field pretty much to themselves ( I do believe Arlington little league uses it). The boys field has a lock so crazy dog owners, men’s softball teams , drug users and the homeless can not easily get in. While I am sure the boys work hard to keep up the field it’s not the same.

          • Will

            The baseball field has a lock? last time I checked that is not true. Also unlike the softball fields, the baseball fields fence is 4 feet high, so if anyone really wanted to get on the field they easily could…but it wouldn’t matter, because the bullpen entrance is not locked.

            Also as i said below, they don’ thave that field to themselves. They share it with American Legion, Arlington Sr. Babe Ruth, Adult Mens Leagues, and not to mention the field hockey team that uses it during the fall.

          • WL baseball

            Not true at all – check out the WL “baseball” field in the fall when it’s being shared by various soccer and field hockey teams. Not only is the field not ever locked, in the off-season the outfield fence is taken down and it is just wide open. People play with their dogs, play Frisbee, play informal football, etc.

            Additionally, the WL baseball team has been dealing with homeless people sleeping, urinating, and leaving their stuff in the dugouts for over a decade – this is nothing new.

            I also know for a fact that the baseball team spends many hours a week leading up to and then all throughout the season working on the field.

      • Pablo Hector Oritz-Diego

        True Arlington should know better than that. The greatest county in the world shouldn’t b e doing this. Trust me they will fix the problem. We can’t keep the senoritas upset

    • Lou

      Yeah, the sign clearly says no dogs, by order of YOUR Arlington County.

      That sound you just heard was you crashing down from your moral high ground.

      • Shane

        Please. I know better. There is no funding to enforce any sort of mythical “no dog” policy, nor is there any will to do so. My partner and I feel most comfortable using OUR softball field, that OUR tax dollars pay for.

        • Lou

          I’m sorry that you live in such a world of denial and have to spend time making stuff up on the internet to get attention.

          Truly a sad persona.

          • Lee-n-Glebe

            I’m thinking more like he’s a determined troll. Nobody could be that obtuse.

          • Paul M

            Shane sounds like he’s trolling. Off leash is illegal, no scooping is illegal, and so completely self-absorbed…. he’s too good of a target to be true.

        • BoredHouseWife

          I bet you are too good to clean up your dog poop.

        • Arlington Cat

          Typical Arlington childless couple with a dog. The field is to be used by Arlington women softball players, not your dog.

          The condition of the field is to be viewed by Arlington residents with respect for what it should be designed to do, while giving no respect for you and your dog’s happiness to break the law.

          Childless couples with a dog in Arlington are the most obnoxious people.

          And by the way, as a cat, I don’t have to leashed!

          • TGEoA

            They are girls, not women.

          • Lurvy

            “Childless couples with a dog in Arlington are the most obnoxious people.”

            I’m part of a childless dog-owning Arlington couple, and we ALWAYS keep our dog on a leash and pick up the poo, never take the dog to restaurants, etc. We treat him like a dog, not a kid.

            So think before generalizing, cat-loving spinster. I’ll look for you on “Hoarders.”

        • Carol_R

          Letting your dog on that field is DISGUSTING!!!!! I don’t care if you do clean up your dog’s poop or not. Remants of it are still there. Parks aren’t for dogs to foul them. And dogs are to remain leashed at all times.

    • Arlington

      It really shouldn’t be incumbent on the parents and players to scoop poop.

      When you’re at the park, you should clean up after your own dog. Doing so requires that you keep an eye on them, not unleashing them so you can do work or have “couple time”

      • Shane

        Scoop poop? Please. That’s why you hire gardeners and landscapers.

        If you can’t stomach the County’s schedule for groundskieeping, then get out there and scoop away. Otherwise, mind your own beeswax.

        • Lee-n-Glebe

          No, the dog owners are (or should be) responsible for their own animals waste. Not parents, not children, not landscapers. Not any third party. Leaving dog poop and expecting anyone else to be responsible for it is beyond inconsiderate.

        • Chouse

          So with that theory, anyone should just be allowed to litter their trash anywhere theyd like, streets, sidewalks, neighbors yards etc. Why should they be bothered putting their hand near disgusting trash cans. Trash can pile up on the streets and anywhere for days and days but we should not complain, its just the cities trash schedule. It should just be the county sanitation departments jobs to come around and clean up their trash, right. That sounds like a perfectly normal functioning society. Next time I walk Fido, Ill stop infront of your house/building and have him poop on the sidewalk and just leave it. After all its MY sidewalk MY dollars paid for right. Why should I care that my dogs poop is sitting right in the middle of the walk way to someone elses building, pssh. Look out for number 2!

          Noone should be responsible to clean up YOUR mess, except YOU. Yes, your dog is your property, his poop is YOUR mess.

          Sounds like someone had a spoiled up bringing and needs to get off his high horse and learn to live with society.

          Check and mate.

          • steve85

            Just have that crap cleaned up when I walk thru.

        • BoredHouseWife

          Bored troll. move along, nothing to see here.

        • R.Griffon

          Let your dogs roam (on a leash) in a public park? Fine. Leave them off the leash, or worse yet don’t meet your basic responsibility to clean up their crap?

          I hope the County fines the Hell out of you until you either go broke or learn to act like an adult.

        • drax

          Either clean up after your own dog, or don’t own a dog, Shane. Those are your choices. Grow up and live with them.

    • Lurvy

      Dogs are supposed to be leashed IN ANY PUBLIC PARK. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

      Oh, and are you picking up after your dog while you and your partner “get some work done” or “have couple time”? I’ll be you don’t. I’ll be you conveniently fail to notice when Rover pops a squat.

      Use the dog parks or buy a house with a fenced yard.

      • Shane

        The leash law is on the books in case Cujo goes nuts and you need to do something after the fact. Otherwise it’s moot.

        I answered the other question above. Scooping poop is why we have groundskeepers work for the Arlington Parks Department. I’m not going to risk contact with fecal bacteria over someone else’s standards of what should and should not show up in NATURE on a public field.

        • Lee-n-Glebe

          Then you shouldn’t own a dog. Comes with it.

        • AllenB

          Sorry, Shane. I have a dog and I agree he should be allowed in the parks but it is the OWNER’s responsibility to pick up the poop from their dog, not the county workers.

          You sound like one of those dog owners that gives the rest of us a bad rep.

          • Sarah

            Actually, he sounds like he’s making all this up just to watch all the reactions – and lots of people “bit”.

          • FrenchyB

            Yep, ‘Shane’ is trolling.

          • Sarah

            Still is in my book (either way) – no need to just start up something just for the sake of starting it or if he really means it – then he’s just a fool.

          • AllenB

            My post saying Shane sounded like a large sanitary implement got removed so your post is down here now. Pretty lame.

          • Bette Davis

            Enough with the ARLNOW censors!

          • ShirliMan

            If he’s not joking, my advice to the partner is RUN AWAY AS FAST YOU CAN, and take the dog with you.

          • SaveDaveMcKenna

            Male Dogs should go to the baseball field, and female dogs to the softball. Equal fertilization!

          • Guiness Guy

            BRILLIANT!!

        • SomeGuy

          I think Shane is trolling to get you people spun up. I also think it’s working.

          • Lou

            Calling out the trolling is at least somewhat beneficial, in helping people realize the troll is trolling. Lets face it, there is a handful of a person who contributes most of it on this board. Pretty easy to spot after a while.

        • Arlington Cat

          dog crap.

          The leash law for dogs is there…period. Plenty of people get ticketed in Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlingon, and Alexandria for violation.

          As a two home cat, I see the most whining about dogs and leash laws from Arlington childless couples. In Fairfax they respect leash laws, in Loudon they respect them, they even respect them in Alexandria. Why is Arlington so combative over dog leash laws?

          It is because of people like you-no kids, and a dog you treat like a child.

          Excuse me, but time for my afternoon walk outside, alone.. Why, because I can.

          • Sarah

            Just for clarification – animal control is operated by the police department in those counties and the majority of responsible dog owners don’t have a problem with leash laws in Arlington. It’s a little unfair to characterize childless couples with dogs as the most vocal complaining group. It’s like saying that single women or men with cats are crazy.

            It could be that they just like cats.

          • Bob

            Did you mean to say that animal control is operated by the police department in those OTHER counties, while in Arlington it’s contracted out to AWLA? Note that Arlington doesn’t publish any statistics on actual leash law violations they record–do the other counties do so?

          • Zzzz

            We should ban kids from parks and require them to wear leashes. Except in Donaldson Run, which is no longer part of Arlington.

        • Carol_R

          The leash law is on the books because of dog owners like you. People in the park shouldn’t have to put up with your dog or your dog’s poop.

    • Don Ager

      Hmmm, the girls should have to pick up your or someone else’s dog’s waste? Also, aren’t there leash laws for dogs except in designated dog parks? So you’re mad at the girls and their parents for trying to give them a safe quality ballfield so you can illegally run your dog and not clean up after them?

    • Dave

      Why should it be the parents/players responsibility to clean up after other people’s dogs? That makes absolutely no sense.

    • rosslynM

      Why should they have to clean up after your dogs? I don’t think their argument is about limiting where the public can go, as much as about getting a proper place to play.

    • Just the Facts

      Is THIS some sort of joke? This is one of those tongue-in-cheek pseudo-letters people write to exercise their creative juices, right?

      Since when do dogs take precedence over people? Since when is a softball field an acceptable location for loose-running dogs? Since when do dog owners expect others to go out and pick up their animals’ sh*t?!?

    • Rick

      Are you serious?

    • Brendan

      Shane… it is a public high school… therefore, funded by public funds. The parents are already technically paying for it. They should get an field equal in quality to the baseball field.

    • Bk

      Is THIS a joke?!!! Are you for real? Public park or not you should clean up after your dog. It’s a softball field not a bathroom. If your dog needs room to run get a yard. Also, the issue is not the dogs or the homeless it’s that the boys team have one of the nicest fields in Arlington and the girls field does not even come close.

      • Uhhh

        “…the boys team have one of the nicest fields in Arlington…” –Bk

        Ouch, if that’s true then Arlington needs to reevaluate its athletic fields. That W-L baseball field is maybe the worst baseball field I’ve seen in my life.

        • Bk

          Compared to Wakefield and Yorktown it is one of the nicer baseball fields.

          • Uhhh

            Yikes. I guess if you can field a ground ball on those fields you will be a gold glove winner on any normal field. Maybe it’s a useful tool after all.

          • SP

            Baseball fields at all levels are are disaster in Arlington County. County Parks and Rec has failed to maintain the fields. But the rot in Parks and Rec starts at the top and runs deep.

    • mary

      That is a straight-faced lie, you have obviously never been to the field during the season. We have been out there picking up DOG SH*T, rocks, broken glass bottles, and other random objects left on the field. We have tried to reseed the field, but the county won’t let us. So please don’t go accusing us of not doing what we can to better our field.
      The 4 or 5 parents that show up to watch? Again, you’ve obviously never been there in-season during a Friday night game. The stands, or what you can call stands, are packed.

    • Jen

      So your dog poops on the field, but the softball players should be the ones to pick it up before a game?

    • drax

      Hey Shane? If I see your dog crap on a public place and you don’t clean it up, I’ll pick it up for you — and I’ll even do you the favor of following you home and “delivering” it so you don’t have to. I’m a nice guy like that.

    • HarryB

      There are plenty of open parks around arlington, including Quincy park that dog owners can take they’re dogs to. You say that dog parks are segregationist, but they’re designed to be a fenced in area that you can feel comfortable letting your dog run around off leash. Dog parks are not maintained at all by the county because they’re no need to, dogs don’t care too much whether they’re on grass or dirt, they just want to run around and have fun. A softball field, on the other hand, is fenced in to keep people and dogs out, specifically because it has to be maintained by the county, and people have to play on it.

      Yes, it is technically a public field, but for crying out loud, show some respect to the people who have to play on it and keep your dogs out!

      • HarryB

        *there’s

    • Caroline Temmermand

      Dear Shane

      Simply said:

      County Code prohibits off-leash dogs.

      Dogs are not permitted on athletic fields or playgrounds and they are not permitted off-leash anywhere in our park system except in designated off-leash areas. Administrative Regulation 4.2

      For those who don’t know these rules can be enforced by county staff, Park Rangers, and Arlington County Police.

      Caroline Temmermand
      Division Chief
      Parks and Natural Resources
      703-228-6525

  • KalashniKEV

    Not everthing in life is fair. If you want a real Title IX then compare Wakefield to W-L. W-L doesn’t know how got it has it.

    • T

      Title IX specifically deals with discrimination based on sex. Not on where you live.

    • KalashniKEV

      WTF? THAT’S NOT ME!!!!

      • KalashniKEV

        WTF? That’s not me!!!

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          DB.

  • Mr. Brown

    An easier solution would be to switch back and forth between who uses the other field and who uses this field. Title IX means equal, not nice. Let the boys roll around in the dog poop and homelessness too.

    • Maria

      But baseball and softball fields aren’t the same size, which is one of the reasons they have separate fields in the first place.

  • Me

    Human park for human activity paid by humans, bring the dogs someplace else.

    • Lurvy

      I’m a dog owner, and I agree 100%.

  • MR1979

    The fields are playable. Very playable when it hasn’t been raining every other day like it did back in the spring.

    And no flag pole, press box or PA system? How will the kids ever be able to play? If Susie can’t hear the Black Eye Peas before batting, what’s the point of playing? Parents.

  • Willy

    They think they have it bad?!? They should talk to the poor badminton team!!

  • Dieter von Cunth

    The baseball field is a joke anyway. Worst field hands down in the entire Northern Region.

  • Dallyn

    I agree with Mr. Brown. Switch back and forth and try to work out the other issues of shared green space. $85 million was spent on that school. Work it out.

    • WL baseball

      Neither of you have any idea what you’re talking about. Baseball can’t be played on a softball field and softball can’t be played on a baseball field. It’s very simple.

  • JimPB

    “used frequently befouled” — something is missing from this part of the story.

    —-

    Segregated and unequal should be dead. Women have rights, too. It’s distressing that this denial of rights should occur in ArlCo.

    —-

    Dog owners and dog walkers: police thoroughly after your canine. Pick or scoop up and then wipe up (“baby wipes” work well for getting) any remaining stool. It’s your responsibility to do this. It’s our right to expect you to be responsible.

    If the problem persists, maybe motion-trigged cam recorders could be deployed to help identify the irresponsible.

  • wash_quincy

    Pretty sure the author is embellishing the facts here. I play men’s softball on that field and have found it to be in great condition. No ruts, not rocky, and I’ve never seen any dog poop. If there is an issue with the outfield distance, can’t they just put in a temp fence to shorten the outfield during the season?

    • FrenchyB

      I beg to differ – I’ve played dozens of games on that field, and it has plenty of ruts in the outfield and rocks in the infield. The short porch in right field is nice though – or it would be, if there wasn’t a tree growing into fair territory.

      • yards555

        There are always rocks in the infield, it’s a ball diamond…

        The tree on the other hand…

      • QuincyRegular

        Agree… the field is in real bad shape (sorry to admit I know this form trying to play soccer on it). Either both teams share the baseball field or it is fair game for Title IX.

        • yards555

          Again…this is ridiculous. They are different sports, played on different sized fields. Asking them to play on a baseball field is like asking the basketball team to play on the football field.

    • mary

      temp fences cause injuries

  • SomeGuy

    First of all, who’s saying the “Pledge of Allegiance” at a ballgame? I’m not opposed, and in fact I’d like to see them do it at a Secure Communities rally. I just haven’t seen it.

    Second, the best solution to this is some version of what’s already been mentioned, and that’s to downgrade the boys’ facility and/or work out some kind of sharing agreement that effectively downgrades the boys’ facilities to bring them in line. Sinking more of my tax dollars into an upgrade for the girls’ facility should not even enter the minds of our county officials. Nonetheless, I’m sure that Arlingtonians will blindly vote for the bond referendum anyway.

    And finally, I understand the desire for equal treatment, but it might be valuable for snootie Arlington parents (of boys and girls) to step outside their Northern VA bubble and look at what most high schools in the USA consider a “playable” field. Playing on a field that’s not pristinely manicured might actually build some character in their privileged children.

    Heaven forbid the kid would have to take his/her nose out of the air long enough to look down to see a ground ball coming.

  • yards555

    First and foremost I want to say that I have always agreed that it is a problem that the WL softball team has played on a field that is far too big to be considered regulation size. It’s a beer league softball field, and while I don’t know a great deal about the sport I’m sure that the enlarged outfield means there are way too many extra base hits and never any legitimate home runs.

    I believe this is the second time in the last 10 years this issue has been brought up, the last time coming sometime when I was in high school and a Title IX suit was actually filed.

    That being said, as a former Washington Lee baseball player, it really bothers me when this issue is brought up in comparison to Del Norwood Field.

    “Unlike the baseball field, which is covered in the off-season for maintenance and more consistently maintained during the season, the softball field is never covered, the outfield grass is mowed infrequently… and the infield often is improperly lined for high school competition on game days,”

    A couple of notes here:

    - The baseball team’s infield (the most important part) is usually not covered during the winter, however the unfenced grass that makes up the girls field hockey field, and also serves as the team’s outfield, is covered. Like almost all large un-fenced fields in Arlington, the fields in Quincy Park are covered during the winter to keep soccer players from ruining them during harsh weather conditions. The girls softball field is fenced during the winter, I imagine this is why their outfield is not covered.

    - The baseball team’s infield is maintained during the season, but by the players and coaches. Each day before and after practice the baseball team rakes the field and applies sod where necessary. It’s an important part of being the team, understanding how to maintain and respect the field. The baseball field is also lined before each game by the player and coaches, not the county.

    - The reason the baseball field is not rock hard is once again because it is maintained by the players every single day.

    In regards to the homeless individuals, we dealt with our fair share of that as well. The current fence that protects the home dugout (as pictured) was not installed until after I graduated, but I believe the away dugout is still unprotected at the baseball field as well. It was annoying sitting in the dugout having to deal with the smell of urine, but this is something that both the softball team and the baseball team have dealt with, and I agree it needs to be addressed by the county.

    In regards to the unlocked batting cages and unlocked fields, the baseball field has neither of those things. The baseball batting cage is a mesh net, so it would be impossible to lock it, and the fence around the baseball field is unlocked as well so there is an equal opportunity for dogs to use it as a bathroom.

    In regards to the location of the field, unfortunately it would be hard for them to put it anywhere else. Perhaps when they rebuilt the school they should have designated one of the two new practice fields next to the school as strictly a softball field, it’s a shame that didn’t happen.

    The Washington Lee baseball team has a very long tradition and I imagine their fundraising efforts also contribute to some of their amenities. I know that when I played, we did a great deal of fundraising and it helped pay for the new pa system and eventually the upgraded batting cage.

    I really do hope that the softball team does receive more upgrades to their field (I think they got them in 2004 also), including perhaps a temporary outfield fence that can be installed during the girls’ season. Hopefully they can gain support through alumni the same way that the baseball team has, and the county should work with Washington Lee on providing a better playing surface.

    • Josh S

      Well said.

      You can stand on Title IX and legally I supose you’d be in the right. But you can’t get blood from a stone. In the meantime, fund-raise and try out some elbow grease like it sounds the boys did.
      Also, if things are truly that bad, can’t you play games at Yorktown? I believe when their field was being constructed, all of those teams had to share facilities elsewhere in the county?

  • SomeGuy

    I just thought of a solution to this, and it’ll save us all money too!

    Just have ONE varsity baseball team (no softball), but let girls tryout for it (which they’re allowed to do anyway, despite guys not being allowed to tryout for softball). No field sharing issues. No Title IX issues.

    Problem solved.

  • CJ

    If parents want a better baseball field, then pay for it. For those of us with no kids or who never use it, why should OUR taxes pay for it.

    • Arlington Cat

      stupid argument.

      Do you think people that live on the first floor of the building should pay less in condo fees because they don’t use the elevator as much?

      If I were against the Iraq war, should I have just paid 18% less in Federal taxes a few years back?

      Childless couples make the dumbest arguments.

    • Josh S

      This argument is about as old and tired as a fifteen year old hound dog. It’s not even worth making.

    • Brendan

      Your right! and for all the people who don’t take the metro why should their taxes pay for that!

    • C Mc D

      “Our” tax dollars versus “your” tax dollars? Holy crap we’re at that level? Property Taxes in Arlington go, in a fixed formula to schools. Maybe I don’t drink as much water, or use the Metro as much as you do… but in choosing to live here and electing whoever is in office — means it is no longer your tax dollars… but rather the community’s. Like it or not. (And I tend to hate it — as a bike rider, dog owner, and parent with kids heading to PRIVATE high school). And yet, I choose to live here, for better… and worse.

    • Larchmont

      And with a 2 letter screen name you probably want a break on your Internet bill too?

    • drax

      Because those kids will be paying your Social Security, genius.

  • KalashniKEV

    This is not the first time someone has appropriated my identity on here… perhaps it’s time for login-only posting privileges…

    • Moof

      I like the anonymous comments, what really needs to be fixed is I shouldn’t be able to pick a registered username as an anonymous posting name.

      • KalashniKEV

        The Anonymous comments are posted by cowardly people who don’t want them attributed to their online persona. Stealing someone’s screen name is a problem…

        (although this guy is weird, what he posted above isn’t funny, and the last time he went on a rant I sort of agreed with him!!)

  • R

    Dear Concerned W&L Parents,

    Thank you for your letter expressing your concern regarding the condition and safety of the softball fields used by your daughters playing on the W&L softball team.

    Unfortunately, due to the extremely tight budget constraints we face, there are no available funds in the county budget to do any upgrades to the field at this time or in the near future. However, we do invite you and your daughters to go for a pleasurable ride on our $140M+ Columbia Pike Streetcar when that project is completed or to take a stroll along one of our many raised brick crosswalks found in seemingly infinite numbers across the County. We feel that these elements of our community enhance the high school experience your daughters will have far more than quality athletic fields.

    As for your concern regarding Federal Title IX laws, we in County government have decided that much like the Federal Secure Communities law, we will pick and choose which laws we shall enforce and which we shall ignore, so this should alleviate your concerns regarding this matter. Your group of concerned parents is not a large enough constituency or big enough donors during local election cycles to garner any immediate action on this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Arlington County School Board

    • County Board Addendum

      Besides, we already have a commitment for another $1 million to Artisfail for the coming year – we couldn’t possibly spare $20k to fix your field up to comply with Title IX

  • waaaah

    In my day I walked 6 miles uphill each way to school on paths made entirely of dog poop. These girls need to toughen up. Kidding, these girls should have a field that isn’t at least covered in dog crap. I got an idea, raise some private donations for sod, new dugouts, etc and then have the county kick in the labor by using some of the convicts locked up in the County pokie to do the work. Practically no additional cost to taxpayers and the girls get some decent facilities. Problem solved.

    • http://theliffeyswell.blogspot.com Foggy Dew

      You know what? After reading through almost a hundred comments, I finally found one that offers a realistic course of action. This is a good idea.

  • Arlwhenever

    I remember when my dad I took out shovels, rakes and a lawn mower to fix up the little league diamonds ourselves. Get off your butts parents.

    As for the discrimination claim, I walked across the regulation baseball diamond at Quincy park just a week ago; it’s a sparesly vegetated, rock, rutty mess as well. The boys don’t have it any better really.

  • ArlForester

    The softball leagues that PAY to use that field don’t seem to have an issue with it.

  • http://SaveQuincyParkforyouthsports Quincy Park Advocate

    The real shame is that Schools could have avoided this by simply responding to the parents last spring, instead the School Board and School Administration adopted Nixonian tactics and stonewalled. A classic example of how not to handle a situation.

    • Undereducated

      By the way, what is the status of the investigation that Libby Garvey committed to in the wake of the Francis retirement?

  • Bender

    Is there anything preventing girls who want better facilities from playing BASEBALL instead?

    • SomeGuy

      My thoughts exactly.

      To my knowledge, there is, in fact, something preventing boys from playing girls’ softball though.

    • drax

      Exactly what I was about to say!

  • mickey644

    Sure, let’s get our attorney’s out to sue…costing us MORE money. Why don’t come up with some solutions that might work and be within a budget rather than whining? Why not go out to the field and try a bit of maintenance yourselves? By the way, what is the average attendance to your games? Either come up with solutions or pay your attorneys to fix the field and save us a lot of money!! Threats doesn’t get ANYONE on your side. I was prepared to donate a thousand to the field, but not now; I wouldn’t think of it! What a bunch of fools, led by know nothing “activists”. Title IX my a**

    • http://Arl817 Blahnikgal

      Precisely!

      As in the post below- utilize the “practice filds” along Qunicy, turn the top of the parking garage into tennis courts, distribute bb guns to a dog patrol unit (for the owners, of course). JK on the last one, sorta.

    • CW

      Regarding legal fees, I have the nagging suspicion that someone’s Daddy is going to be doing a little pro bono work.

      • Will

        I think they meant the county’s legal fees

    • drax

      Hey Mickey, why should the girls have to do their own maintenance and cleanup when the boys don’t?

      Don’t like Title IX and those who are protected by it? Don’t do crap like this. Pretty simple. If you don’t like following the law, don’t whine when a lawyer knocks on your door.

      • yards555

        The boys do their own maintenance and cleanup on their field. They work very hard at it, every day.

        • drax

          If that’s true, fine. It wasn’t implied by the article or by Mickey’s comment.

          • yards555

            I’m a former player, I commented about the amount of work we do in a comment above this. You are right, the article should have reached out to the baseball team for comment.

            The bottom line is that the softball team needs a better field, but these claims about the baseball team having maintenance, locks on the field, and an unshared space is downright wrong.

          • drax

            Your input is appreciated because you know what you’re talking about, thanks.

            Mickey’s attitude seemed to be that girls should just stop complaining and asserting their legal rights. That’s the attitude I object to.

  • Uhhh

    There are giant grass practice fields ON W-L property. They could easily turn 1/2 of one of these fields into a playable softball field. I don’t understand why this isn’t being done.

    As for dog owners, they can really suck sometimes. I saw one woman let her dog take a dump right in the middle of the sidewalk in Ballston and just kept walking after the dog was done.

    • CW

      +1. I don’t understand it. When they redid that section, that’s what I thought it was going to be. Heck, there’s even a backstop!!! Instead there’s just a big field that says “KEEP OFF THE FIELD”. Seems like 1+1 could be put togethere here…

  • http://Arl817 Blahnikgal

    I don’t see the Title IX issue, but I see a W-L issue. Why are the only decent sports facility they have on-site a pool and a varsity football field? Having to share the tennis courts, softball and baseball fields with public facilities is bogus. Anyone who plays tennis knows that area needs more courts, and many posting here note the poor condition of the ball fields. It is a lack of priorities with sports if this school does not have its own facilities they can maintain to appropriate standards.

    • Will

      That football field is also the soccer and lacrosse field, as well as the track team’s track… it is also shared with the public, who uses it a great deal

      • CW

        And field hockey, and lots of high-level ultimate frisbee travel team games, and some other things I’m sure I’m forgetting.

        That said, I agree – the baseball field is better than the softball field, but they’re both pretty shameful. It took me about a year to realize that a varsity team actually played on that.

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    I feel for them but only so far. A little perspective: all the county HS rowing teams have to travel outside Arlington into DC every day each spring to practice. Not walk across the street. The students and parents fundraise every dollar for all equipment. The school provides insurance, coaches salaries, and to a great/lesser degree transportation to practice. That’s it. Boats? $25k+ each. One oar = $250. Add in coach’s launches ($3k-$7k), engines ($4k+), gas and maintenance for engines, safety equipment, and and a multitude of other items. Parents not only have to organize and fundraise but also volunteer at each weekend race to help run the event as well, not just cheer and spectate (which they do as well, and provide food and support for the team). This only scratches the surface of it all.

    As I said, I feel for the softball team, but I would suggest getting out there and putting in some bake sales and elbow grease. As for the vagrants (just because you are homeless doesn’t mean you are criminal… so let’s keep them separate). A parent can stop in any time and call the police… and they should. As for rude pet owners who don’t clean up… not going to change. It happens everywhere. And the county… well they need to make it so the girls can play on a regulation field if its not currently. They owe them that much. Otherwise, if the boys can get their hands dirty and get things done… (and mind you, the women who row have no qualms about working hard and getting dirty if it means helping their team succeed)

  • Ellen

    Gee, a few comments like Shane’s come off as loony. These parents are pursuing legal rights, so there is nothi ng to debate-they have a case and they will win. The APS has had other Title IX suits and foot-dragged then, too. And lost. They think by wasting peoples’ time, they’ll wear them down.

    The deal at W-L was the cleared land from the old school was to become playing field. So, Tucillo’s statement is phony and reminiscent of the old superintendent who put her where she is today.

  • Jason S.

    Considering the debt of the county and the poor state of US public education anyway, just close down both baseball and softball so it’s fair.

  • Rick

    It’s obviously the girls fault. We should all punish the girls over this.

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    This isn’t about sex. It is about keeping up the fields that actually perhaps draw some fans and, perhaps, even a little bit of revenue. If it were about sex, let’s get the field hockey team on board for the suit. Let’s get the women’s chess team to complain the chess boards are more worn than the men’s chess team boards. Next thing you know, the women’s rest rooms in the school are sub par compared to the men’s

    By the way, this is a PUBLIC park and it has been junk for a long time. Don’t take it so personally!

  • John Fontain

    A few thoughts:

    1. I can’t believe 50+ posts were spent responding to “Shane’s” obvious trolling post.

    2. With regard to the condition of the girls’ field: It should be maintained properly, but based on the pictures above it appears to be better maintained than the boys’ field. Also, based on yards555′s post above, it looks like the boys’ field is largely maintained by the boys so it isn’t a title 9 issue.

    3. With regard to the PA system, press box, and bleachers: That demand is just ludicrous. I watched a girls’ softball game this past spring. There were about 5 people watching all together counting the parents of both teams. There are bleachers with seating for about 50 people. A PA system and a press box? Are they serious?

  • Bender

    Is baseball a segregated sport? Are girls prohibited from playing baseball?

    If not, then baseball is not a “boys” sport, even if no girls choose to play. Conversely, softball cannot be considered a “girls” sport. Thus, any inequality is inequality between sports, not inequality between the sexes. Girls are not treated unequally from boys.

    Any girl who wants to play baseball on a high quality field should be able to. Any boy who wants to play softball on a lesser-quality field should be able to.

    If any girl chooses not to play baseball, then she has made the choice to not play on the better field and has no grounds to complain.

  • Abe Froman

    I predict that the boys badminton team will be sacrificed to pay for these improvements.

  • MC

    All of Quincy Park could use an up grade, and I don’t think there is anything intentional about one field being much nicer than another. But upgrades cost money, and Quincy upgrading isn’t scheduled for the immediate future. If this really is a human rights issue, the only equitable solution is to cancel all ball playing activities for everyone.

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