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Soccer players, senior citizens face off

READ MORE: Soccer players, senior citizens face off
SOUTHPORT -- There was an unusual showdown today on a Brunswick County soccer field today. Facing off were young soccer players and senior citizens. It wasn't so much a battle as it was the place of a protest. The Smithfield Park near Southport is the site of a new senior center, but in order to build the senior center some of the soccer fields will be taken away which the players are not happy about. The kids and their parents protested as Congressman Mike McIntyre presented a $250,000 check to help build the new senior center. The center will take away three of the ten soccer fields there. Parents say those ten fields are already overcrowded with about 400 players. County commissioners say they will have temporary fields for players while the senior center is built and also try to get some money in next years budget to build additional soccer fields. Parent Kristi Leonard said, "While they talk about a plan for the youth, a plan doesn't equate to funds and until the funds are there nothing is going to happen for these kids." Brunswick County Commissioner May Moore said, "You just have to have some inconvenience sometimes to make progress." The new senior center will replace one in Southport which was built in the 1950s. Construction on the project is expected to begin this summer. The senior citizens say they have worked to get a new center for the area for years and some were not too happy to have the check presentation party crashed by the protestors.

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Not About Senior Center

This is NOT about the senior center vs the soccer players. It's about the poor planning of the County Commissioners. There is no reason that the soccer fields cannot be relocated before construction starts on the senior center. That is all we want the county to consider.

soccer

After reading the comments from people who were actually at the "protest" of the behavior of some of the kids, they deserve NO soccer fields and their parents need to teach their spoiled BRATS some manners and respect. Senior citizens have earned the right to have a NEW center, these kids think they are entitled to nice fields just because. The old center is older than most of these brats parents. Some old people have no family and would have nowhere to go to socialize and stay active.... Kids can socialize anywhere and kick a ball. Brats.

Respect

Das, What is the matter with you? What were you hoping to gain by calling children that you don't even know "brats". The childrens behavior was superior to your own, it seems they know the meaning of the word respect far better than you.

ok

According to another poster who said they were there: "1. Started playing soccer during Mike Mcintire's speech. 2. Kicked soccer ball into the side of the Meals on wheels truck during the speech. 3. Called an elderly person an old fart. 4. Left their protest signs strewn on the ground (soccer field) when they left. 5. Blew their horns and spun tires in parking lot when they left. 6. Then there was the soccer mom harassing an 80 year old couple while they ate." If that post is true and the kids that did they are brats. If you disagree then your idea of socially acceptable behavior is very skewed. Truth hurts. I know how to act in social situations, this on the other hand is a COMMENT board and i have no problem writing what I think.

RESPECT

Bravo Ms. Crawford! The youth of our community will learn nothing valuable from this experience if the example set by the adults is one of name calling! Grow up Das!

If the shoe fits...

If the shoe fits...

It seems as if the the

It seems as if the the complaints about the protesters have originated primarily from the seniors who were surprised that their project would be protested. In reality, the kids were primarily respectful and quiet; it was by no means a loud or angry protest. The seniors who have complained need to realize that the protest was not about their new senior center, it was about the poor planning and deceptive practices from our county administrators. Remember that this country was founded on the right of citizens to protest against unfair government practices. The seniors should know this better than anybody. I'm sure they are all members of AARP, one of the 'kings' of protest organization and political activism. The seniors of the Southport area deserve a new center, but no more and no less than the kids of the Southport area deserve soccer fields.

BRATS?

As a person who was present at the "protest" I feel the need to speak out regarding the image being portrayed of the youth who also attended. Unfortunately some of the comments cited are true. 2 soccer balls were kicked from the bleachers to the area behind the podium (approx. 15 feet behind it). What appeared to be the girls' varsity soccer team did form a circle (approx. 70+ feet behind the tent area) and began to run thru a drill-type activity where they passed the ball across the circle to a teammate. And yes, a ball was kicked from this circle to the meals-on-wheels bus which was located directly beside the tent. What has NOT been revealed is the fact that EACH of these disrespectful acts were either instigated by or actually carried-out by a female ADULT who I've been told is the girls' assistant coach. She conducted herself in a shameful manner and set a poor example for the youth. Hopefully they will see how the negative actions of one person can reflect negativity on a whole group and learn a valuable lesson from her mistakes. John Goelz (President of the Southport-Oak Island Youth Soccer Assoc.) thankfully intervened with this individual and the disrespectful actions seemed to come to a halt. The younger children in-attendance sat quietly in the bleachers and simply held their signs. They certainly do not deserve to be labeled "spoiled brats". Thank the Lord that the vast majority of senior citizens in our area enjoy being around children, unlike the many of those posting messages here! I will have to take my own advice and remember that a few bitter, grumpy old people do not reflect the opinions of everyone!

As a very-soon-to-be senior citizen

I find the idea that seniors deserve special consideration or respect to be both ludicrous and offensive. As one poster recognized, we are all going to be old one day soon. Accordingly, reaching senior citizen status is no great accomplishment. We deserve no more consideration or respect than should be shown to any human being. *************************************************** Now....on a lighter note.....has anyone considered compromise? SENIOR SOCCER! "Red card, Mrs. Leibowitz! We've told you before that tending goal with that walker gives you an unfair advantage." "I know you want to get started coach, but we can't start until the sixth ambulance gets here. You know the rules." "Ahhh.....no one played the Star Spangled Banner like Lawrence Welk. Ah vun anda two anda O-oh say can you see..." "Hey...do I wear the cup over or under the Depends?" I'll be in town all week folks. Please come back and remember to be good to your waiters....they need the tips for English lessons...

common

You need a vacation. On a lighter note.... you do deserve respect and special consideration. If we do not look out for your interests IE: a nice up to date center, who will? I am sure you are active (well, your fingers are) but not all older folks have the same luxuries as you. A lot of them are alone, poor and shut in. They need a place to interact and stay active mentally and physically. Most of them get their first PC experiences at senior centers and they get to do super-duper fun things like read your comments online. Laughter keeps you young, ya know?

Active? Madam, I am in my late fifties....

...and can still pass the same physical fitness test I was required to pass when I was twenty-one. I have a full-blown weight room and cardio gym in the house. ...and you thought I was just a brilliant mind? Anyway, my comment wasn't about the seniors vs soccer issue in Southport, per se. I don't care what happens in Southport, as I am not a Southport resident. It is their issue, not mine. Let them decide it. I only took exception to the notion expressed by at least two posters, that senior citizens somehow deserve greater respect than anyone else. If the senior center prevails, let it be because Southport NEEDS it more than they need those three soccer fields, not because the seniors somehow deserve it more than the kids. None of us "deserve" anything.

Common you're perfect I hope

Common you're perfect I hope when I grow old can be just like you :)

Are you kidding me??

I was at the protest and I was impressed with the kids behavior. It was truly a peaceful protest. I was very proud of them. Besides, if you plan a picnic on a soccer field, you shouldn't be suprised to see people playing soccer.

Age before beauty?

Dear Young People, Quit whining. Sincerely, Old People Treebeard I will rule all of Middle Earth...and the squirrels!!

old people need to get a

old people need to get a life and let the yougn people enjoy life.....

Young people need to learn

Young people need to learn to respect their elders...and I'm not just talking about the soccer vs old folks home. Look at the country now and the direction it is going. Look at the schools. Look in malls. Young people have no respect for anyone. If our country is in the direction it might be going with these young people being in control, I'll be happy that I won't have to be here to see it. And I'm not old, I'm only 30 and in possibly the best shape of my life.

It's all about votes.

This is all about pandering to St. James and these other retirement communities in the area. Although there are some civic clubs inside these communities, most of the transplants seem to want to be shut away from most of what goes on in our county, contributing very little time to youth related activities or any other cause for that matter. But they do vote and that is what turns the page. Really our county is made of two different kinds of political parties. The long-timers and the unaffected newcomers.

St. James is not the problem!

As a resident of St. James AND one of the parents who brought their children to the "protest" yesterday, I feel the need to clarify a point made. The residents of St. James are very active in the community of Southport and Brunswick County. Many volunteer in the public schools as tutors, mentors, and in youth recreational activities. They volunteer at area hospitals, churches and skilled nursing facilities. The service clubs of St. James provide support (financial and otherwise) to MANY organizations throughout Southport and Brunswick County. Yes, they pay their taxes. Yes, they vote in elections. They should not be criticized for those acts. I sincerely doubt the events that have taken place leading to the construction of a senior citizen center on the site of the soccer fields are the result of the county commissioners "pandering" to the St. James residents. The residents I have the privilege of knowing would never support taking any organized programs from the area youth. At the heart of this problem is the fact that our elected, local officials are seemingly unable (unwilling) to develop a comprehensive plan to meet the needs of both populations involved. A plan for alternate soccer facilities to replace those being destroyed for the new center should have been developed months ago. The president of the soccer association should have been informed so the information could have been effectively communicated to the children/families involved. Instead, our county commissioners minimized the importance of organized youth activities by suggesting the baseball fields be converted into soccer fields. (Perhaps they'd prefer to see children in baseball uniforms protesting next time!) Have these individuals done any research on the correlation between crime rates and lack of organized/supervised programs for the youth of a community? Obviously they are capable of doing a better job. Hopefully they will get to work on a solution.

As a resident of St. James

As a resident of St. James AND one of the parents who brought their children to the "protest" yesterday, I feel the need to clarify a point made. The residents of St. James are very active in the community of Southport and Brunswick County. Many volunteer in the public schools as tutors, mentors, and in youth recreational activities. They volunteer at area hospitals, churches and skilled nursing facilities. The service clubs of St. James provide support (financial and otherwise) to MANY organizations throughout Southport and Brunswick County. Yes, they pay their taxes. Yes, they vote in elections. They should not be criticized for those acts. I sincerely doubt the events that have taken place leading to the construction of a senior citizen center on the site of the soccer fields are the result of the county commissioners "pandering" to the St. James residents. The residents I have the privilege of knowing would never support taking any organized programs from the area youth. At the heart of this problem is the fact that our elected, local officials are seemingly unable (unwilling) to develop a comprehensive plan to meet the needs of both populations involved. A plan for alternate soccer facilities to replace those being destroyed for the new center should have been developed months ago. The president of the soccer association should have been informed so the information could have been effectively communicated to the children/families involved. Instead, our county commissioners minimized the importance of organized youth activities by suggesting the baseball fields be converted into soccer fields. (Perhaps they'd prefer to see children in baseball uniforms protesting next time!) Have these individuals done any research on the correlation between crime rates and lack of organized/supervised programs for the youth of a community? Obviously they are capable of doing a better job. Hopefully they will get to work on a solution.

Yes, it's true that the

Yes, it's true that the current Southport Senior Center is an old building. It is not comforting to know that considering the county commissioners and county Parks Department attitude towards youth soccer the youth players of today may be enjoying the new senior center before the new soccer fields are built.

It's important to understand

It's important to understand that there is only one regulation field at Smithville Park. Nine of the fields are modified (smaller) for the younger age groups. The Ogden/Eaton Soccer Park in Wilmington has 17 fields: 3 regulation and 14 modified. The Ogden/Eaton soccer facility has more than twice the acreage of the Smithville Park soccer area. No one in the Southport soccer community objects to the construction of a new senior center. We object to being blindsided by the county with the loss of fields and no plan in place or money in the budget to replace them. Reverse the situation and consider this: The county goes to the senior center and says, "we need your building for a new day care center. You will lose the building in less than 90 days. Oh, and by the way, we have no plan or funding to give you a new one". If that were to happen I think there would be a lot of seniors carrying signs on Howe Street. Finally, those 'teenage girls' have played soccer together at Smithville Park for over 10 years. They have become quite good at the game and are a source of great pride in the local and regional soccer community. Several are being recruited by college coaches. They did what most parents hope their child will do: Stand up for something they believe in and take part in the political process.

Young families get out! The

Young families get out! The area is becoming a big nursing home! It's not the nice, grandparenty type older folks either!

Soccer fields

Why shouldn’t the soccer players and parents be upset. You can’t tell me that this is the soccer fields are the only land the county owns.

Yes, sad, but true

Sadly, we are having to face reality: that senior citizens are living longer, and that there are millions of them here, and everywhere in this country. Shortage of nurses, health care, housing, etc, for these elderly is something this country has to face. The breeding of the youth, is another matter. I know we need places for them to vent their youthful energies. I know we need better schools, better education, better fields, fields to play in and not be bothered by pedophiles. But, truth as it is, there are many elderly (YOUR GREAT GRANDPARENTS.... oh, youth that we fight for). Have respect for those that are waiting to see their ending days. For you, too, will soon be one of those elderly.

10 fields..c'mon folks

Lets try teaching todays kids a very important lesson...sharing! How does a town as small as Southport need 10 soccer fields? Lets be realistic folks, Ogden Park doesn't even have than many and it serves far more children than Southport does. Heres a novel idea, try staggering field use at different times so you don't have a thousand kids on the field at any given time. Lets not forget that seniors deserve use of community property JUST AS MUCH as the kids do. They don't deserve to be stuck with the left overs and the old worn-out stuff while the kids keep getting the newest and best of everything. Thats a big reason why todays kids are as spoiled as they are, they are brought up to believe they deserve to be handed everything at everyone elses expense. Lets teach these kids that making small sacrifices...and yes this is a very small sacrifice here people, can be rewarding when you see it goes to help others out. Lets not teach our kids that when something doesn't go their way, you have a hissy fit and start protesting it, all that does is reinforce the me-me-me attitude of todays youth.

It's important to understand

It's important to understand that 10 soccer fields does not mean they are all regulation size fields. There is only 1 full size field at Smithville Park, the other nine are modified fields for the younger age groups. The Ogden/Eaton soccer complex you refer to is lined for 17 fields: 3 regulation and 14 modified. The Ogden/Eaton complex also has twice as many acres as Smithville Park in Southport. No one in the Southport Soccer community objects to building a new senior center. It is needed. But we do object to being blindsided by the county with the loss of fields and no plan or funding in place to replace them. Kids are people, too, and THEY deserve THE USE OF COUNTY PROPERTY just as much as anybody else. Finally, regarding the protest...consider reversing the situation. The county goes to the senior center and says, "we need your building for a new day care center. You will lose your building in less than 90 days. And by the way, we have no plans or funding to give you another one." How long would it take for the seniors to be protesting on Howe Street?

Why take away soccer fields

Why take away soccer fields when there are several other useful places to build a center. I could understand your point if there were no other places to build this center, but there are...and several ones. Why take away a soccer field just to try and get money in next year's budget to build them back up. Sounds like a waste of money to me

Soccer fields

The Soccer community in Southport is not opposed to having a senior center built. What they are opposed to is having the center built without a plan or funding in place to replace the lost soccer fields. These fields have been the home of the local soccer league for the last 15 plus years. With over 400 youth players plus the high school varsity and junior varsity teams plus the adult soccer player the existing facilities are already overcrowded and teams struggle to find space to practice. There is an additional 18 acres of undeveloped land on the park property that the county owns. The county has said that they will develop that area to include soccer fields in the sometime in the future but makes no commitment and does not currently have any funding even if they did have a plan.

"You darn kids, Get Off My Lawn!"

I mean. . .everyone needs a place to gather, and it sounds like the Seniors just happened to be the ones who have the oldest stuff to replace. Since it took about 50 years to get a new senior center, these kids will get to use it too.

southprt soccer feilds

If the county is going to make provisins to replace the area where the kids play then fine.but as a parent of a child who has played on these feilds for the past ten years I find it hard to beleive that this will happen. In a community as small as southport there is not enough for the kids in our area to do to keep them out of trouble and give them a stuctured envoiroment in which to channel their energy. The people who benifit for this center think it is rude of the soccer community to protest them taking what little room we have. We think it is rude of the to take the place we have been for the past fifteen years without even asking our thought on the matter. and you wonder why the youth of today are over weight and stung out on drugs, it is because of the actions of a few that take away for one of the few good progams we have to keep out youth entertained.