To the Editor:
I would like to take a moment to thank you for providing the forum in which we, as a community, have the opportunity to openly express ourselves when we truly believe that expression can make a difference.
In that regard, my primary purpose is to directly thank members of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, as well as all of the community members at large, for their support of and agreement to accept Phase One of the high school synthetic turf project. For those unaware, members of the M.V. Commission individually and personally pored through literally thousands of pages of evidence, data, facts, opinions, and considerably moving, persuasive letters, both in support of and against this project. Beyond the unfathomable amount of time required to thoroughly review this documentation, board and community members worked together through six public hearings, taking place over a 16-month period.
While this road may have been rocky along the way, I am proud to be a member of a community which has taken the time to appropriately review and strategize an action plan that will benefit all of its members, regardless of physical ability. The field project is not one that is just for the high school athletes or just a single team or program, or even a season. Our new field will be a massive asset to the entire Island community, across all sports, abilities, seasons, and uses.
This is also a major step in legitimizing our athletic programs by showing our students we care enough about them to provide them with a surface where they can safely train and compete. Finally, and most to the point of my first letter, the new surface will finally provide an ADA-compliant surface and viewing facilities that will allow anyone and everyone to be part of the action — or more specifically, to be included.
As the coach of our Unified Athletics program, it is my charge to promote community inclusion. That is the point of the program: to provide opportunity and promote inclusion. Members of the board and the MV Commission can walk tall in any town of our beautiful Island knowing they too have done their part to “level the playing field,” and have provided opportunity to countless athletes and families for many, many years to come.
Thank you for your time and consideration, thank you for voting yes to phase one, and thank you for doing the right thing.
Kent is the head coach of Unified Athletics at MVRHS. –Ed.