Field the love
Cozily tucked away behind the Goleta Valley Community Center on Hollister Avenue, Goleta’s newly-renovated multi-purpose field gathered more than 50 folks Wednesday evening. They were celebrating the field’s makeover.
Less than half a year ago, the same grass that was shining under the sunlight Wednesday was brown and dry. The small and irregular patches of green could not make up for the gopher holes, which threatened anyone who dared approach the field with ankle twists. Still, some kids dared to traverse the field before its renovation.
“This has been a gopher raiden pitch of land for quite a long time,” said Michael Baker, CEO of United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County. “The kids still used it, and it was not really the best place for them to be playing sports because there were a lot of divots and holes. Kids were twisting ankles.”
These kids will no longer have to worry about twisting their ankles with gopher holes. A gopher mesh has been embedded underneath the field to prevent burrowing rodents from tunneling.
A local by the name of Vicente Rodriguez seemed especially glad that there would not be holes in the ground in the future. Afterall, his foot was smaller than an adult gopher!
At 13 months, Vicente viewed his hometown’s newly-renovated field as a world to be explored. His mother Chely was sometimes jogging to keep up with the scurrying toddler, who would run over to things he deemed needed an analysis. One of these things was a set of tiny cones set up for a game of soccer. Vicente picked up a cone and lifted the narrow tip to his mouth. He tried speaking into his make-shift megaphone. As her son was testing out his new invention, Mrs. Rodriguez echoed Mr. Baker’s words.
Prior to the renovation, “I walked around in this neighborhood, and we walk our dogs around here,” said Mrs. Rodriguez. “This field was full of holes. It was dry. It was really sad to see the condition that it was in.”
On the newly-renovated multi-purpose field, Mrs. Rodriguez expressed to the News-Press the recreational possibilities for her only child.
“I’m thinking he might be playing soccer on this field,” Mrs. Rodriguez said. “We’re going to grow up in this neighborhood because we’re from Goleta.”
According to Mr. Baker, on an average day, 170 to 200 kids will frequent the field. But the field will host not only children but also the elderly. Goleta’s Parks & Recreation Manager JoAnne Plummer told the News-Press that the opening of pickleball court and the flatness of the new field will probably motivate elder folks to exercise.
“A lot of opportunities for the younger and more active seniors to stay active and encourage that activity,” said Ms. Plummer.
Several dignitaries of Goleta, including councilmember James Kyriaco, attended Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony for the field. Mayor Pro Tempore Kyle Richards cut the ribbon. Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka was also present.
After the ribbon was cut, the adult joined arms to form a human roof, under which the kids sprinted to go and play in their new field.
The field, according to Ms. Plummer, is open to the public from 8 a.m. until sundown.