Everyone got real up in arms over the video those Dropbox and Airbnb dudes who have since apologized squabbling with local kids over the rules governing the Mission Playground soccer field. As we first reported, Rec & Parks attributed the tension to the fact that the field had become more in-demand recently because of the addition of synthetic turf and lighting, and they added new reserved-play hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to accommodate some of this increased demand. As the Chron discusses at length today, we can blame the population boom and influx of new tech workers to some extent for the new demand for soccer fields, but you might also just have to blame the increased popularity of soccer among adults and the diverse population of soccer lovers in the city all trying to share a total of 22 full-size fields and seven half fields across town.
We also learn the backstory behind the original video, which was shot on August 18 by Mission native Dimitri Barton, who was home for the summer from college in New York. Barton had been observing the growing tensions over these reserved-hour nights at Mission Playground, and he and a group of other players "ranging from eighth-graders to students at Mission High and City College" decided to stage a protest, refuse to give up the field that particular night, and record the whole scuffle on video. He points out that the idea that Rec & Parks has that there are only 4 evening hours reserved each week for "adults" who can play 7 to 9 on Tuesdays and Thursdays still isn't fair for all the Latinos in the neighborhood who have day jobs, can also only play at night, and can't afford the permits.
Tomorrow morning, protesters organized by the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club are descending on City Hall to send a message to Rec & Parks that the pay-to-play, reserved-hour structure for adult soccer players is unjust given the economic inequalities in our city and the scarcity of soccer fields.
The Chron points out that there are dueling propositions on the ballot this November dealing with this very problem. Prop I would allow new lights and synthetic turf to be installed at the soccer fields at the western edge of Golden Gate Park, near the Beach Chalet and enemies of synthetic turf, and fun, have put Prop H on the ballot to prohibit these improvements, because that's how we do here in California. The addition of these field improvements would add some 10,000 hours of potential game play that would hopefully alleviate some of this soccer-playing congestion we're experiencing. But critics say real soccer players want real grass
Following tomorrow's 9 a.m. rally at City Hall there will be public comment given at the meeting of Rec & Parks starting at 10 a.m. Get out the popcorn.