2004-05-07 / Sports

Patriots, Custodians Resolve Athletic Field Clash

Patriots, Custodians Resolve Athletic Field Clash

The Rockaway Urban Patriots were locked out of the athletic field at Beach Channel High School last Sunday when the school’s custodial engineer, Keith Vilar, ordered that the facilities be locked shut. The Patriots’ coach, Dan Kirk, had been contacted by the facilities office at Beach Channel on Friday and informed that his team would have to pay for security at the field when they used it.

The Patriots have a permit issued by the NYC Department of Education under the Take The Field Program. Coach Kirk met with school officials and attempted to secure the necessary security agents for his
scheduled home opener for Sunday but was informed that the processing time to obtain security was approximately 10 days. The security officials at the school told the coach just to take the field as usual as he wasn’t allowed enough time to meet the processing requirement. Upon relaying this information to the custodial engineer he was informed that the fields would be locked.

With a game already scheduled with an out of town team for this past Sunday, coach Kirk sought the help of City Councilman Joseph Addabbo who contacted the "ROC" (Region 5 Regional Operation Center) and made arrangements for security to put in place for the teams game. However, upon arrival on Sunday, the field was locked and the staffs at the school were put under strict instructions not to open the gates.

With nowhere to go, coach Kirk starting looking for a new place to play as the team from the Hudson Valley had already arrived. With the assistance of the staff at Gateway National Regional Area, Fort Tilden, arrangements were made to utilize the field normally played on by the Rockaway Rugby Team.

When Monday morning arrived, coach Kirk’s blood was still boiling and the phones began working calls were made to numerous school and City officials. A meeting was held with Vilar and when it almost appeared like it was going nowhere. Level heads came to be and realized that the Take The Field Program was permitted to use the fields without providing security. The fields were again opened and the community was again permitted to utilize what was rightfully theirs to begin with. Without the persistence of Councilman Addabbo and Luis Espinoza of the Take the Field Program, the Patriots would be without a field.

Calls placed to Beach Channel High School and the Department of Education for comment were not returned.

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