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Want Comet soccer? Let’s talk next Wednesday at the College Grounds

Chris-Baldus-webI have this vision in my head. I’m sitting at a stand of the sort the Peanuts character Lucy sat at to deliver advice to Charlie Brown.

On the front of the stand, instead of Lucy’s “The doctor is IN” flip card, it says “Soccer is OUT.”

I mean for it to say “IN” but somehow the wind keeps flipping it around to “OUT.”

Keep in mind this is a daydream of sorts. It’s not supposed to necessarily make sense. It doesn’t matter that real wind could not untape the flip card, flip it around and retape it. The point is, if I was surrounded by people who were signing on to play or support soccer in Charles City — that’s what I’m doing at the stand — then they would block the wind that’s flipping my card.

OK, stay with me, I know I’m belaboring this vision thing, but it’s kind of key.

I’ve been beating a drum about adding boys and girls soccer teams to the Charles City School District’s sport lineups for a few years now, and then sat back and hoped for a champion to take up the cause and get it done.

I’ve heard from a few people who think it’s a good idea and are certain the money to start the programs could be raised. I’ve listened to parents at YMCA soccer Saturdays talk about how it’s unfortunate the schools don’t have teams, but that’s as far as that goes.

I’m not recognizing yet a groundswell that will be needed to get those teams.

Eventually, I pushed away from the keyboard and went to a School Board meeting and asked that the district consider adding teams or at least make agreements with other districts so our girls could play soccer in another school district, just like the boys can.

Although there hasn’t been any fanfare to speak of, our girls can now go to Mason City.

But the cause to have our own teams, to compete for our own regional and state titles continues to languish.

The idea of adding sports when the school district continues to struggle with declining enrollment seems unrealistic. I won’t disagree with people who might say the district doesn’t have money to spend on new teams.

For my part, I’ve wondered why school districts should be saddled with high school sports at all. I don’t have any problem with the idea that the sports leagues be operated separately from the school districts under the umbrella of statewide associations.

That’s a societal change I don’t expect to see in my lifetime, so I deal with the apparatus that we’ve got. Our teens need schools to field teams.

If we wait for the “right time,” for school finances or the “economy,” we won’t do anything. More young men and women will be able to — like I heard one say today — “I would definitely have played in high school if we had a team.”

So, I’ve let the visions run in my head of gathering the groundswell of players and families to convince the school district to add soccer, to raise the roughly $32,000 needed to get the programs started.

But then, I come back to that Lucy stand. People occasionally pass by shaking their heads at me. ‘How sad. He just doesn’t understand.”

Maybe there just isn’t the desire to have soccer programs in Charles City schools, but that’s not proven any better than we have an untapped well of soccer talent.

So, I think it’s time to ask soccer supporters and potential players whether they really want to make this happen or not.

I’m not going to put up a Lucy stand — that will probably jinx this entire thing.  Instead, consider this an invitation to all soccer players and their families, as well as people who want to support getting soccer programs started here, to meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the College Grounds at the fields nearest to the school buses and get this push started. I’ll hang around until at least 7 p.m. You can just come and go.

I’ll bring a soccer ball so if nobody comes, it will look like I’m just out to get some exercise and passers-by won’t need to pity me.

Contact Managing Editor Chris Baldus at

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