Sleep tight, Stadium; we miss you
Allegany Communications Sports
All these years later, particularly given where I’ve lived or occupied for most of my life, the summer and fall seasons have always been such an important part of the being of the neighborhood.
Living just two blocks from Greenway Avenue Stadium for much of my life, and being here when I wasn’t actually living here, I have grown accustomed to seeing a good bit of traffic, particularly during the fall and the spring when there are any number of events taking place at the stadium.
Cars line the streets along the intersection of Kent and Greenway and parking can be at a premium, particularly on Fridays and Saturdays.
You never know who you’ll see parking beside or in front of the house, or even at the end of the driveway, particularly on Homecoming. Or whenever Fort Hill plays a team from Ohio and the Wadsworth fans ask if they can tailgate in the back yard.
If they come back next year, it’s a date!
Even on Sunday mornings the neighborhood is humming, as religious services take place at two venues situated across the street from each other — worship at the church of CityReach Cumberland on Brookfield and, yes, on some Sundays, youth league and pee wee football at Stadium on the Green.
Basically, though, it’s any day of the week that gives the neighborhood a particular bounce to its step from July to December, as Greenway hosts high school football on Friday night, soccer all day Saturday and football again on early Saturday evening; not to mention football, soccer and band taking place pretty much every day and night.
It’s always best in the neighborhood when the bands are there and they reach you from two blocks, or so, away. And nothing is better when staff members stop what they’re doing each day to ask you how you’ve been.
Once the seasons begin and the teams are actually playing, there is noise and rustle each day and night; particularly later in the evenings when the stadium lights illuminate the neighborhood for blocks around. It’s comfortable and it is settling, because you are surrounded by life, whether anybody is stopping by your house to say hello, or not.
Now, though, it is December, and it seems lonely in comparison. And it’s pitch-dark because the lights are off, and it is bone-chilling cold.
It is the withdrawal of the seasons and, yes, I understand it is Christmas, but we’ll enjoy that soon enough once I hear Bruce Springsteen’s live version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” for the first time of the year.
I do follow the games, yet I go to very few of them anymore. Been to enough, though I can still taste the Stadium Pizza and the Mustard Dogs …
Still, the games and the practices are there most every day, and everybody is there to see them, to enjoy them, or not enjoy them; but they’re there, and everybody is together.
You feel that everywhere in the neighborhood and in the community, whether you are attending the games or not; and you most certainly feel it when all of the fans and all of their cars, and all of the buzz of activity, and the security of the lights, are gone for the winter.
Track season, though, is on the horizon (right?), so the cars will be back — hopefully, in greater numbers given the improvements that have been made to Greenway, and then there can be bigger and better track meets at the stadium and in the community. And then businesses in the community can prosper as they once did following championship track meets, because so many different people are out and they are here.
Then it will be summer again, as football and soccer practice will have started, and then there will be games and events at the stadium, and it won’t be so cold, dark or quiet in the neighborhood.
With two schools (at one time three schools and a hospital), a grand stadium and athletics fields in place, this neighborhood has always been made for activity.
The cycle is endless, and it is timeless. It’s the perfect neighborhood. There’s no better place to be.
Even when it’s cold.
Let’s count our blessings for our schools, of course, and let’s count our blessings for Greenway Avenue Stadium and for all that it means to every one of us in every one of our communities.
You truly do not realize how important it has been and will always remain until it’s the time of the year when it’s not being used.
Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT