To Catch a Vandal

This morning the hubby called to inform me the soccer fields had been vandalized again and requested Park Director’s telephone number.

While I was looking it up in the directory, he was muttering that I should have it memorized by now.  After all, this is the fifth week in a row the Friday Night vandals have struck leaving soccer goals mangled, twisted, bent and broken.  Nets sliced and goal pins tossed in the port-o-potty. Sometimes, their antics spill over into the rest of the park. This week, there were barrels floating in the duck pond.

And why should we care about any of this?

A  year or so ago, hubby was drafted to serve as the Regional Commissioner for the American Youth Soccer Organization in our town.  By association, I was drafted to be the doer of things he hasn’t done and needs to do.  I recently overheard some of the mommies calling me “Soccer Wife.”  Although I’d have preferred something a little more important and independent sounding, I guess this will do as an official title.

What this means is –  if the fields are vandalized late Friday night, we will spend our entire Saturday (and perhaps Sunday morning) repairing the damage before the Sunday afternoon games.  If we cannot, the games will be canceled and scores of children will be disappointed because we failed. (Nah, no pressure there.)  Alas, any plans we’ve made with our own children will be postponed or canceled.  Today,  there were tears since we’d planned to attend Boo at the Zoo.  The kids are upset that we will have to leave Daddy behind to contend with the wreckage while I single-handedly wrangle two chocolate-infused children in the midst of wild animals.

I realize we are fortunate in that we have the means to make the repairs ourselves.  (The hubby has a machine shop, which contains… well, you know machines and assorted metal-type things which are useful in repairing soccer goals.)  Five consecutive weeks of paying for those repairs might have otherwise drained AYSO’s shoestring budget. See, AYSO is not affiliated with the Rogersville City Park and Recreation, therefore the city doesn’t contribute funds for the purchase, repair or maintenance of equipment.  Every penny we spend out of AYSO’s budget increases the possibility that registration fees would have to be increased to offset the costs of operating the program.  Since I do not think parents could afford an increase,  we don’t spend those pennies if we can avoid it.

So, we’ve made the repairs out of our pocket.  While this doesn’t amount to enough to break the bank, five weeks in a row has made a noticeable dent.  This is what makes me so angry about the vandalism at the city park and on the soccer field  is clearly,  the incident isn’t a Halloween prank or something a group of kids did because they were bored one weekend.  It is an ongoing, recurrent, every Friday night  problem, which places the program at risk.  The Rogersville City Police Department has been cooperative but every single Friday night?  Really?

Since they can’t seem to handle it, I am asking for your help.

Keep in mind we’re asking only for information and not heroes.  Over the past five weeks, we’ve had wonderful parents, who’ve offered to camp overnight on the field or periodically monitor the parking lots.  We don’t feel like this would be safe and some things are more important than soccer – like people.  However, if anyone has information or happens to see  suspicious activity on the field or in the park,  please notify the Rogersville City Police Department at (423) 272-7555 or Central Dispatch at (423)272-7121 immediately.

Hopefully, they’ll take it from there.

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