Well, Well, Well…

funny-soccer-photoI had hoped to keep the movement focused on ideas and community dialogue, and keep the spotlight off myself, but thanks to the message boards at the Fort Greene Local, it’s unfortunately all about me all of a sudden.  Just so there is no lingering mystery:

I am TC, and yes, I am Tom Wentworth. I was not concealing my identity, but rather hoping to make Fort Greene Soccer about the ideas and not about me. Comment boards allow us all privacy for a reason, but since I know you’re all curious now: I am a writer and documentary producer, a local business owner, and a family man. I have served on the board of the Fort Greene Association and with Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. I have lived within a block of the park for 13 years, and until 2009, I spent every day of the year in the park with my dearly departed dog. Since then, my wife and son are my regular park companions. We have a personal connection to the oval as it’s where I first met my wife at a Brazillian Girls show, and we moved on to court (entirely platonically) on the benches and fields near the tennis courts every afternoon for weeks. Over the years, I have rescued 3 stray dogs from the park. I am inspired by our park, it’s history, it’s famous architects, it’s denizens, and I am proud to see community dedication return it to life after years of neglect. Though my playing days are behind me, I am a tremendous soccer fan, and I’m saving up to finally see a World Cup in Brazil this time around. I grew up idolizing Pele, and curiously, I was once bitten by Johan Cruyff’s doberman. My son actually takes soccer lessons from Itai and Dwayne, who are totally amazing, so I have nothing but love for the players. I am just over the dust and the division, as are many folks, and so I am trying to find a way for everyone to rise above the BS. I believe we can care for our park, and make soccer a force for good in our community, at the same time. I have seen all the amazing soccer pitches Parks has brought to Brooklyn, and I think Fort Greene deserves one, not least because the sport has been growing here for years. My vision is totally distinct from the dustbowl. I’m talking about a permitted pitch for leagues of all ages sponsored by local businesses like mine; one local schools can share and food trucks can encircle. Clearly none of this can take place in Fort Greene Park, so my idea need not concern the dustbowl players, although I’d love to have them on board. In the end, my mission will continue whether they stay or go. If they go, they know where to find me now. If they stay, I think they should show some real community spirit and take charge of helping Parks seed and maintain the oval instead of playing “tragedy of the commons” with our park. To the rest of my neighbors, I say this…if you want to help “green” Fort Greene Park, let’s work together. If you want to help win an official home field for soccer in our hood, let’s work together. My bet is most people want both. So, that’s me. Anyone else want to divulge their identities? Thought not. Thanks for listening and I’ll see you in the park!

But enough about me, let’s hear from you.  Got any bright ideas?  Got a post you’d like to submit for publication?  Reach out in the comments, and we’ll get a conversation going!


8 thoughts on “Well, Well, Well…

  1. People. This is all getting silly. Everyone loves soccer. Almost everyone hates dustbowls. Everyone take a deep breath.

    Screaming “racist” at supposed yuppies is the last refuge of the scoundrel. There are OBJECTIVE reasons to be addressing this problem. Don’t try to run and hide behind outrageous claims. TC is just trying to be helpful.

    • Thanks for helping us all take that deep breath, Harry, and welcome to the conversation! Yes, the tone of this debate in anonymous comment boards at The Local often gets angry and personal, and hopefully we can avoid that here on this blog. I appreciate your support, and if you see any ideas you like out here, mine or others…or if you have any of your own to share, by all means chime in! Thanks again, Harry!

    • Harry your are saying take a deep breath in one sentance and then calling me a scoundrel in another. “Yelling racist”?Please point out to me where this was said? You claim to be trying to be cooperative and soccer poser supports you . Why then the alarmist claims? You are disingenuous in your commentary.


  2. I have found your comments smarmy and out of line for anyone professing they support diversity and dialogue within a community.

    In reading your posts, for the first time and as you hold yourself out in your writing like you are a player, it has made us curious as to your identity. No one knows you from soccer in Fort Greene.

    What we have is more than what you have written about. It is not just a game that should be organized and surrounded by food trucks. It is a central place in the neighborhood where people from all areas have congregated and found friendships, lovers, like minded people, and different minded people. It is my Fort Greene family not just other soccer players. And through soccer In Fort Greene park I have been involved in art, dance, theatre, etc. all in the neiborhood. I don’t think you understand this and as a “fan” and not a player see soccer as something different.

    I found soccer here because I am a family man and I enjoyed the park with my two daughters often. I saw the players and after a few months threw myself into the game with the friendly support of all the players who supported me in my return to the game and who I am one of now and support new players returning to the game and becoming part if our community.

    The pick up style of this game is why it involves so many people and effects so many lives. Your vision of leagues and food trucks is nothing more than a barrier to people entering a game. We have people who are not going to be able to organize and email and make league games. Yours is a typical yuppie attitude which always kills the beauty and doesn’t get it.

    your blaming of the soccer players for ruining the pitch is a shortsighted assessment. If you do frequent the park as you say, please notice the ultimate frisbee games on the pitch, please notice the football games on the pitch, please notice the cricket games on the pitch, please notice the evening dog walkers on the pitch, I apologize for those members of the community not mentioned here. I’ve seen them because I’m there. To try to pass this off as a soccer issue is a farce and either dishonest or underinformed on your part.

    We also don’t like the dust as it effects us more than you on the side or the kids in the park. Which are often my kids. Parks has tried to seed it before but has done a poor job. Case in point look at the newly “greened” area of the park right to the top of our soccer pitch. The parks dept has had that fenced off for over a year and has grown a couple sad patches of grass. Is this the plan for the pitch?

    Lastly the fences installed across the 50 yard line of the pitch was done in an aggressive and confrontational manner which is why we were all so taken aback and upset. We are currently trying to be heard but are being blown off by Letitia James and her office. I guess we don’t attend enough fundraising events as the yuppies who have hootenanny the parks department to give us a slapin the face.

    We want to help the parks dept make a good decision for the community as a whole and are trying to join the conversation in a more organized way. It’s a shame to have to become organized in our fight as it is taking away from and not to allowing us to to enjoy our beloved park.

    Ken Hara – Soccer Player, Fort Greene Resident, Father.

    • I appreciate your candor, Ken. If you go to the Red Hook fields I think you’ll see the kind of diversity you are talking about, and that’s the vision we are promoting for our neighborhood. Our pubic soccer pitch idea is for youth and adult soccer leagues, the Brooklyn Tech and local pop warner football leagues, the many local schools that lack fields, etc. It is not for you and your soccer club at all, unless you care to reserve it for a free flowing game for a few hours on any weekend day. We’d love if it you did, and would hope to surround you with a diverse soccer community of fans, and yes, an equally diverse array of food trucks…I’ll buy you a pupusa! The dustbowl is the dustbowl. It affects us all, players especially, as you point out. I think we actually have more common ground than you think, since players like you want to see Parks finally succeed in re-growing grass on the oval. How they do that effectively, and what happens once it’s green, are questions to tackle together for the health of the park. Whether you and your club stay or go is not my call. I am sharing my thoughts out here in exchange for any and all perspectives, including your own. My only hope is to promote constructive conversation and propose workable solutions that can help Parks and our local leaders to make the call judiciously. Having your voice here is a great start! Thanks so much for commenting, Ken, and let’s keep talking!

      • As all would prefer grass over dust we all agree that greening the field is the best option. However the field is dry dust and sand so planting seed will accomplish zero for anyone. Sod would be an option but the layer of dirt and sand would have to be removed first. We would be happy to chip in any effort to accomplish this.

        If this is not in the budget we would be happy to wet down the area each and every time we use the field.

        One last thing, to blame soccer as the only source or even primary source of creating the dust bowl is so unintelligent please stop. As stated it is the only flat and open surface in the entire park. It is used by other soccer groups, football groups, ultimate frisbee, recreational frisbee, kids digging holes, people flying kites, people flying remote control planes and helicopters, dogs at night, cricket players, whiffle balm games, etc., etc..

        We are happy to discuss this but so far shame on you Harry and shame on the people who shut down the field.

  3. Top Idea- put down real quality sod.
    Top Idea- put down a section of Asti turf over the patch so all players and people can enjoy the park.

    Please don’t force us all out into an obscure location that becomes an organized only mixed use field. You will kill the game and kill a part of your community.

    Ken Hara

    • Thanks for the comment, Ken! I like the sod idea. Seems like a far quicker process than seeding and wouldn’t keep (some or all of) the oval off limits to the public for a year or more. Unfortunately for any old legs out there, turf is no-no in a landmarked park. Just to be clear, our plan for a permanent pitch in the neighborhood is not for the dustbowl players at all. The plan is for youth and adult soccer leagues, the Brooklyn Tech and local pop warner football leagues, the many local schools that lack fields. The dustbowl players would obviously be welcome to reserve it for a free flowing game for a few hours on any weekend day, and there would be a soccer community there to cheer them on! As for the park, I think everyone would prefer green grass to dustbowl or a mud pit…the players included, I would hope. If the players choose to hold out for their dust, as an observer, I think the odds seem stacked against them. Whether they stay or go is not my call at all, and I expect Parks and our leaders can make it judiciously. Really appreciate you sharing your views, and hope to keep the conversation going, Ken!

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