For it's 1, 2, 3 strikes you're sued

I read with interest this story (behind the Oregonian paywall of pity) about a federal lawsuit filed on Friday against the Portland public school district by, of all people, the coach and some players from the Grant High School girls' softball team. The coach and the players are demanding that the school district live up to its promise to build them a new playing field adjacent to the school, as they did for boys' baseball. Failing to do so, the lawsuit says, is a violation of federal law, specifically Title IX ensuring gender equality in sports.

It all sounds reasonable, but I catch a slight odor of rat here.

I've written about this missing field before. The main blockade to building it at this point seems to be the neighbors, who don't want the late-night lights, the noise, and the hassles that the new field would bring. The school district is proposing to put a loud sound system in, and rent the field out to non-school events that could go as late as 10 p.m. on any given night.

This lawsuit conveniently adds new static to the situation, and may give the school district cover to build the intrusive facility it wants. 

Deborah Englestad, who has served as Grant’s softball coach for 35 years, and three students, Madyson Roach, 18, Olivia Dunn, 16, and Elisabeth Kollrack, 16, are the plaintiffs.

I wonder who's paying their lawyers, Sean Riddell and Christine Mascal. Yes, that Sean Riddell, whom one often finds repersenting the city's rogue police union. I doubt he's working for free.

The complaint in the case really bad-mouths the girls' existing field, at Wilshire Park, a mile up 33rd Avenue from Grant. It's a far cry from the Shangri-La that the boys cavort on, but it's hardly the hellhole that the lawsuit makes it out to be. There are worse places you could play ball.

If the school district would just back off on the rental issue and put a decibel limit on all of the sound systems, I'll bet the softball field could be built and this whole thing would blow over. But school bureaucrats are an arrogant bunch, and so here we are in court with a curious lawsuit. You wonder if the neighbors would be allowed to intervene, if they tried.

I'll bet the boys' baseball coach doesn't let the school district rent out the baseball field. Maybe the girls' softball field should get the same treatment under Title IX.


  1. Why in the world do girls play softball instead of baseball in the first place? Or, put another way, why do boys almost exclusively play baseball and girls softball? There's nothing wrong with softball, but having played both competitively, baseball is a much better game, in my experience. Even if some people might prefer softball to baseball, why is what you get to play based on sex? If I was held out of baseball because I was a girl, I'd raise hell.

    1. High School baseball is a far cry from tee ball or pee-wee’s or whatever it is called. I played Babe Ruth baseball as a 14 year old and was good but didn’t even try out for Grant. I would had never made the cut. The jump in skill level is huge. Not too many girls could cut it. And that is being generous.

  2. I hate to say it but they have a point. Wilshire is a third-rate field and really only good for practicing. Maybe they could put a field in elsewhere at Grant.......don’t they have a little league field there? I know they did some 40 years ago as our team played all of the local all-star teams and Hollywood Little League played in the bowl. But that was then.

    As big of a school as Grant is they should have first class fields for both the boys and the girls. Go Generals (class of 1981)!

  3. How many months out of the year would the field be used for H.S. softball?

    1. My softball team practices in the winter. I just joined a few weeks back so I haven’t got around to ask how they accomplish this. I am afraid to ask!


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