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On Sunday, Jan. 3, I took my children (boy 10, boy 5 and girl 4) up to the new ball fields at Silverado Middle School to practice baseball, as it’s really close to our house.

You see, our family loves sports (as we have no money to spend on going anywhere or really doing anything, as we are poor) and we spend one day a week practicing football, baseball or basketball as a family. We also spend a few more days going to practices through the city parks and rec department. We do this to get our three children out of the house while doing something good for them. (We spend every extra dollar we have on keeping our kids active in sports.)

What we found were beautiful new sports facilities, a new football field with artificial turf, a new track and four new baseball fields. This place is unbelievable. I can’t imagine the money spent on this place. We walked by the first field, which was totally locked up for nobody to use. We walked through the football field, where a large group of people were playing football (known as soccer to Americans). We continued our walk to the second and third field and found out they were also locked. As you can imagine, my kids were upset. As you see, we have already been run off every other field in Napa, with other footballers playing on every stretch of clean grass available — even if that stretch of grass is actually a baseball field.

You see, I’m not really mad at the football (soccer) players. I’m mad that our government spends a ton of money on things like these fields (I assume some private funds were used for these fields) and then no one can play on them. Well, not no one, just us. I’m mad that we have 20-plus basketball courts and not one has good concrete, rims or nets. Not to mention lower rims for younger kids. I’m mad that every schools’ fields are in very poor shape and overrun by football (soocer) players.

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I’m mad that this city’s children are left to play PlayStation, Xbox or the Wii, which all cost a lot more money than we have. I’m mad that I have to fight to be able to practice baseball (at the softball fields) with my children because even if we are already practicing, the football (soccer)  players come in and take over. I’m mad that if we go to the softball fields, football (soccer) players come in and pull on their new goals, which cost more than new basketball rims and nets, and take over. I’m mad that our children are always left behind as if they have no voice. I’m mad that I can’t provide a better life for my children. I’m mad that I don’t have enough gas money to be driving around Napa finding a field that we can use. I’m mad that I have to watch my children cry because we have to leave. When are my taxes going to count?

(Cockrell lives in Napa.)

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