Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Camarda Park Opens; Speakers Still Talking

Saturday was the annual picnic for the Carmel Sports Association baseball teams. Our group (featuring the T-ball, soft toss, and instructional teams) were the first up.

The gathering was meant as a chance to show off the brand new Paul A. Camarda Park; a place that the hamlet of Carmel could call their own after years of playing games on the fields at Carmel High School and going to parks in Mahopac (within the Town of Carmel). It was a big deal.

Honestly, they should have held the picnic at Sycamore Park in Mahopac. Camarda Park was not ready for prime time.

The Journal News gives their take here (get there before they take it offline). Oh, and if they had turned the camera to the left, Sean and his cousin Kendall would have been in the shot. Oh well - they're famous enough.

Parking was a problem - enough so that some left for fear of their car getting hit before their son received their trophy (or at least that's what I was told). Rain was a huge problem, and the tent that was erected just wasn't big enough to cover everyone. Workers were still touching things up.

Then there was the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

See, here's the problem: when you build a playground, kids want to play on it. So some (and their clueless parents) began to climb on it. They were told that they weren't allowed there until the ribbon had been cut (I guess some were oblivious to that big blue ribbon that was lined across it).

Instead of having people gather at 11:30 and, due to the rain, starting the ceremony at 11:30 or 11:45, those in charge didn't start until after 12 - the scheduled start time. Then they gathered every kid - first to have them yell into a TV camera, then to stand there and wait while the politicians spoke.

And spoke.

And spoke.

Then they introduced a few more politicians, including those who are no longer in office.

And they spoke.

And spoke.

Big businessman Paul Camarda's speech, while touching, was long. He felt he needed to thank everybody possible. OK, that's fair. Problem is, the raindrops intensified as his tears flowed.

It's bad enough that the whole scene got under my skin, but the ultimate indictment came from the kids, who began to chant "cut the ribbon." They had been standing there, trying to be polite for what seemed like 45 minutes (though it might have been a half hour).

OK Rob, so what would you have done? I would have either A) scheduled the ribbon cutting for another time (or had the ribbon cutting but moved the baseball picnic to Sycamore Park) or B) Cut the ribbon, let the kids on the playground, then went ahead with the speeches. The latter would have been more appropriate but then nobody would have listened.

The baseball ceremony needs a little help as well but is well-intended. It's just chaotic. Maybe tables should be assigned for teams - that would be a good start. Commissioner Mike Berg does a great job with the league, so don't blame him. Maybe a picnic committee should be formed.

After the ceremony, I had several parents come to me, wanting their child to get their trophy and get the heck out.

As we've all learned, we (the adults) are the ones who screw things up. Politicians standing there with their pasted-on phony smiles only serve themselves and big business. A ceremony like that in the rain only proved that the gathering was selfish. The kids wanted to play. So LET THEM PLAY!

Tax breaks? Jobs created? Life made better?

No, no, slightly.

I'm pleased Carmel has a park, though I am slightly worried about the location on Seminary Hill Road, which is narrow and windy. Still, so long as people drive safely, it will be fine. When completed, the park will be great, and is off to a nice start. There's still work to be done, including the addition of a pavilion. It's wonderful (though the parking is a concern for events like Saturday).

Now they talk of building a cultural center of sorts for concerts and so on. We once had one, when the Mahopac Farm Playhouse was in business. Great idea. I figure it will take 10 years or so to make that happen (that's about how long it took for Camarda Park to come to fruition).

Of course, congratulations to all of the players (you remember them? They're the reason for all of this), and specifically to our 2009 Carmel Soft Toss Philles. I'm very proud of Andrew, Christian, Trevor, Ethan, Matthew, Tyler, Troy, Clark, John, AJ, Ryan, Joey and, of course, Sean for their effort and progress. As I always tell them - keep practicing!

I apologize for the quality of the video, but here is Sean's trophy acceptance speech that he made back at home.

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