You may have received an email from me regarding our registration for the indoor soccer league at the Tosh Collins Community Center this Thursday. This will be my 4th year running the league and 21st year as the referee. Previous to the past four years, the league was organized by a small group of parents. They all were very nice, well intentioned people.
Previous to me, the league was organized by current school board member Louis Petrucci. His league, for kids ages 6-9, had four teams. The reason for this was poor advertising combined with non-soccer people making questionable decisions. The only schools informed about the registrations were Notre Dame and St. Ambrose Academies. The athletic director at the Discovery School #67, who does a terrific job over there, wasn't informed of the sign ups and was treated rudely (not by Lou, but by one of his co-organizers).
Our current league has gotten so big, we had to break it up into 8/9 and a 6/7 yr old divisions. We also added a clinic for 4 and 5 yr olds a few years back. Last year, the 6/7 and 8/9 age groups had a combined 12 teams. This year, we expect between 14-16 teams.Unlike the previous organizers, we set up huge email lists and went to every public, private, and charter school in South Buffalo. I love the students and parents from Notre Dame and St. Ambrose, but felt the students at Trinity, school 27, school 72, Discovery, Southside, and South Buffalo Charter should have the same opportunity to play as well. And they showed up in huge numbers.
I got at least a half dozen emails this week from parents asking about their 10 year olds who have outgrown the league. Here's the history on that. About 15 years ago, I was going to run a boys and a girls' league for 10-12 year olds. However, I could not afford to spend another night running leagues unless I was working for the recreation department. The Councilmember at the time, who was politically opposed to me, recruited some parents with no soccer experience to run a league at the Southside Elementary School. Each year, the league had less and less players. They eventually made the decision to make it into a league for 10-14 year olds. They had 10 year old girls playing against 14 year old boys! That's what happens when you have non-soccer people running soccer leagues. Needless to say, this, combined with poor advertising, resulted in less players and the league eventually folded. It no longer exists.Lou Petrucci was one of the parents who ran this league in it's last season, as well. If you want to know when the registration is for your 10 year olds, I suggest you call him or the former Councilmember (who now makes $80,000 holding the Congressman's clipboard). You can also thank her for the "temporary" garbage tax she supported and voted for.
This Spring, Lou Petrucci is up for reelection. Although I'm a very reluctant candidate, I might have no choice but to oppose him. I'm starting to think that's the only way to get people's attention and get a seat at the table. It's either that or move to where the teaching/recreation jobs are. I feel there are at least a thousand people crazy enough to vote for me. Last election, Lou ran unopposed and won with 217 votes. 26 voters were so happy with his performance, they selected write-in candidates. Overall, the school board races in the city drew a dismal 4.19% of eligible voters. School Board races don't really cost tons of money. I'll just need help obtaining the necessary signatures and getting the vote out. Emails are free. If people are willing to put signs up at their houses, that would help out, too. The difference between Lou and I is very clear. One of us showed he cared about all the students in South Buffalo. The other was only there for a select few.
Lou Petrucci=4 teams
Myself=12 teams (and counting)
If you're interested in supporting my potential candidacy, please talk to me and let me know the issues that concern you. Thanks.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead