You probably read Sedalia Democrat reporter Hope Lecchi’s recent story about the Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education deciding to open up the track at Tiger Stadium to the public.
Let’s get some things straight here: the Jennie Jaynes Activity Complex looks great. It will continue to be a boon for Smith-Cotton athletics and will be standing proudly long after we’re all dead. The good people on the board of Sedalia School District 200 perform an important community service for no pay and insufficient appreciation. And they should be applauded for making the correct decision to allow the public to use the track.
For just $5, interested individuals can purchase a swipe card that will grant them lifetime access to the track. I have no doubt they will sell some of those cards, because $5 is a pretty good price point when it comes to lifetime access to anything, but they might not see the level of public usage they might be expecting for one simple reason: there are kind of a lot of rules for using the track.
“Individuals are not permitted to be on the field or bleachers at the stadium at any time.”
That seems a little harsh. Sure, I understand not wanting people on the field – a whole season of sport is rough enough on any playing surface and we don’t need to add to the deterioration. However, I don’t see why they would need to protect the bleachers from the posteriors of the public. I can’t sit down before I walk to tie my shoes? I can’t sit down for a little while afterwards to rest? Are the alarms going to sound as soon as I set off the pressure plates on the bleachers?
So that leaves the question: exactly where can you be? Well, on the track. And you can use the bathrooms in the locker room. I guess a $5 lifetime card is a whole lot cheaper than buying something over and over again at your friendly neighborhood convenience store when they insist that the facilities are for paying customers exclusively. I think maybe some enterprising less fortunate individuals might get themselves a card so they can occasionally sneak into the locker room and use the showers.
“No food, gum, sunflower seeds, tobacco products, colored sports drinks or beverages other than water will be allowed.”
Modern humans are pretty reckless with their spent gum, especially in an open-air environment so that part makes sense, but it’s just about impossible to enforce unless you’re going to have a gum officer at the gate with a miniature flashlight.
No food? I can’t bring an energy bar or a nutritious piece of fruit? I can only eat food in the facility when there’s actually an event going on? I guess it’s necessary to prevent tragic banana peel accidents.
For a second I thought the next to last part meant that I could loophole in some clear or maybe even white sports drinks, but the last bit shut that door for good.
There are those with such low levels of natural energy that they need to constantly chug energy drinks just to complete a lap around the track and this rule will surely devastate them.
But ultimately I suppose the rules are there to preserve a great athletic complex for years to come, and I can’t fault them for wanting to be a little extra careful with the enviable new home of various Smith-Cotton athletics. Maybe if we treat it right for a few years they might relax some of these restrictions.
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.