Now that Prince William is married and has a receding hairline, the crush that I once had on him doesn’t seem quite so Mrs. Robinson-ish. I do however still love that he has become the patron of the fitness field. (how charming, right!)
Watching this video made me think about those fields in England as opposed to those here in the US. Outside of the very core of major cites, they are quite different. In the UK most fields are part of parks and well integrated and attractive public facilities that are used by lots of people. Here in the US we get some of that in places like NYC’s Central park or other large urban parks, but step into the suburbs or further into the rural landscape and they frequently become these things that are plopped down where ever their might be space. They are never given priority for walk-ability or easy access to those that would most use them. They are never pretty and these days they rarely have much more than a big flat field for field sports only. I am thinking of the fields that I grew up playing soccer on as a kid. It was called Banbury and it was former turf farm. At the time, and for more than 30 years now it remains a huge expanse of fields stacked on top of each other, not a tree in sight, and with a big muddy rutted out parking area. Oh, the sunburns I got. No one is there unless it is Saturday soccer morning and I think what a waste.
I wish that we could recognize the value of these community resources and make sure that they are built in places and in a way that is actually supportive to the community. It’s just too rare to have a fully utilized public park in this country. I’m not even sure how to change such a thing except for on a completely local grass roots level. What do you know? How could we, as a community, elevate the public park and encourage them to be better designed, better placed, better funded resources?