Monday, March 21, 2011

So What is the Problem with Quincy Park, It looks Good to me?

Arlington Public School ran out of money when rebuilding Washington-Lee High School. Something had to be sacrificed. The answer:  no new girls’ softball field, which was supposed to be built adjacent to the new football stadium. That open space is now being used as the lacrosse practice field. 

And what’s become of the softball team? Well, they were told they must continue to share an old softball field behind the Central Library at Quincy Park.  And share they have - not only with adult and co-ed softball teams, but with vagrants who use the dugouts for shelter and electricity, drug users who frequent the port a john and leave used needles in the batting cage, dog walkers who often fail to pick up their pets’ excrement, and anyone who wishes to do anything on the field.  Concerns about security, emergency preparedness, and public health at a site remote from the high school?  Don’t worry about that.  It’s fine for the girls to cart their equipment from the W-L High School down Quincy Street, across busy Washington Boulevard, and to a distant field behind the Central Library. Out of sight, out of mind.

By far the worst high school softball field in Northern Virginia, the aging field at Quincy Park never was designed for youth softball, and it shows its years. Rusted-encased backstop. Rotting dugout boxes.  Rock-hard infield lacking any sort of drainage and built on years of backfill when the site was used as a dump. Rutted outfield that is a hazard to any athlete.  No press box or PA system or flagpole in center field for the National Anthem. Yet a “home” of sorts to W-L Girls Softball.

The girls have done their part.  In the last for two years, they raised nearly $10,000 to build new batting new cages. This spring they painted the rusted backstop.  They forego practices routinely to remove standing water and sweep mud from the infield after it rains.

OK, so what’s the problem? Well, a lot of it has to do with the fact that nobody “owns” softball at Quincy Park.  The County maintains the field but has invested little in its improvement and has little stake in supporting a high school softball program.

  The Schools want good relations with the County, don’t really seem engaged in issues associated with using a public park for high school sports, and show few signs they are interested  in improving the situation.   

So who suffers?  The W-L softball program.  The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness about this problem and to facilitate a dialogue on ways to improve the situation.  It’s truly a matter of equal treatment and fairness. If we can afford a new synthetic field and football stadium for the boys at W-L, why can’t we give girls’ softball a good home?    Yorktown has a beautiful, secure new baseball-softball complex at Greenbriar Park.  Wakefield will have a new complex in 2012. Bishop O'Connell, a private school, is asking Board approval for a “refreshment” to improve its field. Only Washington-Lee remains the forgotten high school when it come both to baseball and softball.   Let’s change that - no longer out of sight, out of mind.


  1. Forget about the field conditions, I live across the street from the Quincy Softball field and when there is game there foul balls fly over the fence crashing against cars and my condo complex. One day the garage door rose and a softball came hopping down the ramp narrowly missing my car. Last summer I saw some one's car window with a spider web of cracks caused by a softball. Can't someone put a net to block these balls? Someone is going to hurt someday!

  2. All the more reason to have built the planned softball field on school grounds. Is there still room to relocate it there?