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Just. Let. Us. Play.

by Adam Peacock on Aug 05, 2011

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Not starting with football, but stick with me.

Remember when Lewis Hamilton got into a bit of strife for doing a few burnouts in his really fast civilian car just hours after doing something similar is his even faster racing car.

The police didn’t see the funny side, or any side, apart from hitting him with a $500 fine and locking his car away for the night.

As a result Mark Webber likened our country to a ‘nanny state’.

But imagine what Webber would call this joint if he was trying to play football on weekends with his mates in local parks.

I’m in Sydney. It’s been a wet winter. But it seems that if a water bottle gets dropped near a field, that said field is in danger of being out of action for the weekend.

The only reason we can think of is they’re protecting the fields. From what? They are cow paddocks anyway, and are every season by June, no matter what the conditions.

We don’t expect all surfaces to be like the Emirates, and we don’t care. Just. Let. Us. Play.

Our home ground is the antithesis of the Emirates. Apart from trophies won in the last six years being stored there (sorry, couldn’t help it) the surface is in total contrast to the billiard table of North London. Goat herders would dodge it.

But it’s all thanks to the council. They decided to cover two full size fields with top soil. In April.

April, when it starts to get really cold.

April, when grass stops growing.

An avoidable problem, which matters little when it’s dry but when the heavens open, it’s a nice little collection of water-filled potholes. Playable – for ducks.

Local associations are trying to do something about it.

Aside from improving relations with the local councils, the Manly Warringah Football Association in Sydney is hoping to install a synthetic pitch at a fair ol’ cost, but what other alternative is there?

“Hoping”, because the council would pay for it. Well actually, the people who live in the council would pay for it, a lot of whom play football, but that’s beside the point.

Of course, that pitch would be mainly for the local rep sides, which is fine. Especially the junior rep sides – they need constant training and regular games to improve.

As for the rest of us, just let the local associations, through the clubs, handle it. Each club should be the guardians of each pitch.

Us Saturday arvo amateur muppets and muppetetes just want a game. Same for our kids.

A mate of mine coaches his little bloke and friends on the Central Coast of NSW. It rained heavily one week, so it was off. Fair enough. Just out of habit, people called Noah took to building boats that week.

Then blazing sunshine followed for the next five days. But that weekend was also binned. Every single field was apparently unplayable. What a load of...

If the ground resembles a lake, game off. Anything better, get a few brooms out, sweep away and get into it, and break out the Napisan later.

Explaining it to a six-year-old actually sheds light on the matter.

“Why can’t we play?,” he says.

“Because it’s a bit muddy,” you try to explain.

“What’s wrong with getting muddy?,” he counters, to which there is no response, just distraction from you to get off the topic.

When the grass starts appearing again over summer, hopefully our local councils can grow a bit of common sense.

After all, there’s no problem in third-world countries with playing on dirt patches.

Only problem we have, is first world bureaucracy.