When you begin to publicly question the status of a project, it’s common to meet some resistance. And it’s fair, as sometimes it can seem that I’m using this platform to deliver cheap shots — which couldn’t be further from the case.
Sometimes, column writing gives one a chance to speak for those that don’t have a voice — or aren’t allowed to, in this case — and it is my duty to speak up in those cases.
I received an interesting email from a project advocate this week, and they made a few comments that I believe are worth addressing.
There’s no need to name this person, as I know that they might represent others, but it is important to clear the air:
Zero: Peabody Stadium, Part III
Yep, Tuesday is New Year’s Eve and there are massive puddles where a track should be laid at this point. So, when the Santa Barbara Unified School District next meets on Jan. 14, 2020, there will likely be another request for money, or a series of excuses as to why the project is not yet complete.
Meanwhile, the boys and girls soccer teams can’t even practice on campus. Sigh.
But, I digress, here are a few comments/questions that came from my ‘fan’ mail this week:
“It is also clear he does not bother to take a minute to call the SBHS Principal, or the Board of the Foundation for SBHS, or make contact with anyone for that matter, to get first hand information on the state of Peabody Stadium.”
First of all, this is false. I’ve had plenty of phone calls and sideline chats with many folks that are involved. Asking tough questions, and honestly hoping for a miracle update. I want to be able to celebrate the completion. We want the pomp and circumstance — unlike the previous two graduating classes.
The Board has made it clear that it will continue to approve the funds necessary, and the SBHS Foundation has made its position clear: the project will be done when it is done. Quite tone deaf, but at least consistent.
“He chooses to look on the website at the projected dates, see that they have come and gone, and blast the whole project because it went beyond those projected dates. Like that has never happened to a construction project.”
No, there are always delays. That’s very true.
But not three of them.
Not a trio of promises made to teenage kids and countless-hours-working coaches that could use the comforts of home to mold these young athletes.
Not when a principal has to have her athletic director prepare to have their top-notch football team to play elsewhere, knowing that the project would again be delayed. Those are facts, not rumors.
And, it’s important to note, that the call for answers has only been made in this space after the third missed deadline — with a heavy dose of understanding for the first two.
“He must drive by the stadium to be able to report that 10-15 people are working on the stadium and that a “rumor” tells him another school project is keeping workers from finishing Peabody. A “rumor”? So he is not “reporting”, he has just been given the space to write down his opinion.”
Actually, I go by every morning to check the status. And, yes, I have counted that many workers. Maybe that’s all they need, but it sure doesn’t give the impression that all hands are on deck. That’s not opinion, that’s fact.
And, while it is read as opinion, I am representing many, many, many current and former Dons that have been instructed not to publicly speak out. That includes players, coaches, parents and many others.
“Many of us (edited to protect identity) are excited each time we drive along Anapamu, or onto the school grounds and get a peek of what Peabody will soon be. Many of us proudly attended and sent our children to SBHS. Many of us were thrilled to be parents of one of the classes that got to see our kids graduate in the gorgeous Santa Barbara Bowl. Many of us are patient, and are ever so grateful for the rain, or the Chumash relics found, or whatever the reason is that the stadium is not yet complete.”
And you should be proud, the school is a tremendous asset to our community, producing stellar students, outstanding athletes and great teachers.
That doesn’t excuse the delays; the false promises; and the countless number of dollars lost due to ticket sales and concessions.
An administrator from Santa Barbara estimated early in the season that it had cost the school upward of $10,000 at a minimum.
“I have spoken with student athletes from the three public high schools. Obviously the Dons would rather play in their own stadium, but playing at SM and DP has not been all that bad.”
And so have we, ad nauseam. And it is fair to say that upwards of 80% of them are fed up. Believe me, we wish everything was hunky dory, but it’s not.
“Big projects take time. I am confident, having spoken to many people directly involved in the project, that Peabody will soon be a magnificent, community stadium.”
We can’t wait.
We just hesitate to be “confident” in it happening any time soon. That’s what happens when you lose trust.
Hero: Dylan Talley
The sports scene can get a bit dull around the holidays, with well-earned breaks for most squads.
But witnessing one of the best boys basketball games of the season was an early Christmas present.
Watching Atascadero and Santa Maria push each other to the limit in the Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic was a spectacle.
Seeing 195 combined points was fun, and seeing Atascadero’s Dylan Talley literally beat the overtime game clock by a millisecond, making a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer was the type of thing you see during March Madness.
While there probably was no more than 50 people watching the game, those folks left with something they’ll never forget.
That’s the beauty of sports, you never know when the next moment will arrive.
Hero: Santa Barbara High boys basketball
With one of their go-to scorers at the end of the bench in flip-flops due to the flu, watching Santa Barbara High rally against Crean Lutheran on Saturday afternoon showed me that the Dons have plenty of heart.
Santa Barbara finished the tournament at 3-0, but faced their toughest test to end the Santa Barbara Holiday Shootout. Nothing like saving the best for last.
While much of the team’s spotlight goes to Stephen Davis and Bryce Warrecker, seeing Jackson Gonzales sacrifice his body over and over, while also nailing critical shots down the stretch showed me that the team will never be short a sparkplug.
Zero: New Orleans Saints
I usually save most of this space for locals, but with the NFL Playoffs upon us, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of how professional organizations set the example.
And the New Orleans Saints set a horrible one over the past 10 days.
Not only did they sign Janoris Jenkins a couple of days after a highly questionable tweet that saw him get released by the lowly New York Giants, but then they worked out Antonio Brown, who is not only in trouble with the NFL, but also the law.
Looks like it is win-at-all-costs for the Saints — and that’s shameful.
Hero: Dos Pueblos boys soccer
The Chargers took on the host school, Hart, and rallied for a 3-2 tournament victory. It’s never easy to win a tournament on the road, much less knock off the team that has the comforts of home.
With a ton of attention being paid to the Santa Barbara boys squad, Dos Pueblos made a big statement before Channel League action starts. It should be fun!
Here’s to wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and may 2020 bring even more success to the South Coast — and, hopefully, Peabody Stadium.