We’re lucky that the good people at the Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department continue to do their job. They don’t get a whole lot of thanks, they don’t get a whole lot of awards and they don’t get the recognition that people in other public service jobs get regularly.
They provide us with two quality pools each year and more recreation space than we know what to do with year-round. They maintain a performance space at Convention Hall and they offer a whole lot of different programs – seriously, have you ever looked at the list of “programs” and “activities” on their website at www.sedaliaparks.com? Yoga, Zumba, volleyball, Princess and Superhero parties, even the traditional Easter Egg Hunt just to name a few. There is literally something for everyone, and they are always striving to offer something new for us to do.
And how do we thank them? We spray paint where it shouldn’t be sprayed, we smash open anything that can be smashed and we break into their concession stands to steal cash, candy and sports drinks. Imagine coming back and telling your shadowy criminal boss that you managed to secure the sugary snacks and the replenishing drinks – oh, and a few pennies.
It’s those darn vandals. Most of us probably conjure up images of male teenagers when we come across a word like that but let me remind you that people of all ages and genders are capable of doing extremely stupid things just for kicks and/or profit.
Let’s consider the word “vandals.” Yes, it is the name of the collective sports teams that represent the University of Idaho. But long before that they were just a group of East Germanic raiders that pillaged their way through Europe and North Africa. And they did such a good job of it that they appeared frequently in the historical texts of the time as people who had a reputation for plunder and destruction.
They pillaged Rome! They practically took over the Mediterranean Sea! But do you know what they didn’t do? They didn’t go down to the Vandal Park with their siege weapons and lay waste to the Vandal concession stand.
The point is this: those are our parks, man! I understand needing to cause a little ruckus now and again. I understand wanting to take out your anger on an unassuming bathroom wall. But you can channel those feelings elsewhere. Play a violent video game! Spray paint onto a canvas that you’ve purchased, or an old pizza box. You don’t need a canvas to create art, you just need something that you have the proper permission to paint on. Break into the concession stand of your mind and ransack your creativity in the search for the sports drink called art.
But if you’re absolutely married to the idea of destroying something in real life then you can probably find a job destroying things! We live in an age of empty buildings and given time, many empty buildings become dilapidated buildings, which eventually need to become piles of rubble. Go talk to your local handyman and tell him you’ll work cheap when there’s demolition to be done. Ask your neighbor if they’d like some help taking down that moldy, water-logged and half-collapsed shed in the backyard.
But whatever you do, stop messing with our parks! We’ve got to pay for that!
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.